Congress is expected to begin voting within days on offshore oil drilling, and it looks as if the existing federal moratorium is destined for the scrap heap. (And if John McCain and Sarah Palin have their way, it won’t be long before the ban protecting Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (pictured below) also gets the ax.)
Anybody with access to the Internet should know by now that lifting the offshore drilling ban will have virtually no impact on gas prices in the U.S. But, obviously, it brings oil companies one step closer to even more astronomical profits. Just one step closer because the companies will still need permission from individual states to drill, but that’s not likely to be much of a hurdle. Polls show widespread support for drilling – even in Florida, where Governor Charlie Crist has welcomed the idea with enthusiasm. So much for the beaches, the wildlife, the tourist industry and all the rest of that liberal, tree-hugger stuff. You heard the voice of the people at the Republican National Convention – “Drill! Drill! Drill!”
The Republican vice presidential nominee, who happens to be governor of Alaska, is among the most enthusiastic drilll-drill-drill advocates. And her state has most of America’s oil-rich areas – onshore and offshore. “If you look around, the lower 48 (states) are pretty drilled up,” said Larry Cooke, a supervisory geologist in Alaska for the federal Minerals Management Service. “If you’re looking for big things, Alaska is about the only place left.”
Meanwhile, as I write this, Hurricane Ike heads toward the Texas coast, gathering power as it goes. To Republicans, who apparently believe strongly in Divine Intervention, this could be a signal from the Almighty. But I hope not. The effects of a massive strike by Ike could leave the Gulf Coast oil industry – and the environment – in ruins, and that would do nobody any good. My prayer is, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
But why? Why don’t they know what they do? How is it possible for dumb-looking politicians like Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, George Bush and John McCain to brainwash an entire nation? Why can’t Americans see that the only interests that will benefit from offshore oil drilling are the oil companies and the other companies that provide them with materials and services? Isn’t it obvious?
The oil industry has been pressing lawmakers recently for more access to offshore oil. The National Ocean Industries Assn., which represents 300 companies engaged in offshore oil and gas drilling, spent $200,000 lobbying Congress in the first quarter, according to a disclosure form filed in the House. The group’s members include Halliburton, and you will remember how that sleazy outfit has made billions from the Iraq War through such simple devices as no-bid contracts for itself and its many subsidiaries.
Could Halliburton’s ties with Dick Cheney (who has become a multimillionaire during his term as vice president) have anything to do with its incredible influence on the Bush administration and the McCain-Rove crowd? What secret power does Cheney’s Halliburton gang possess?
If oil interests did not have such a stranglehold on Congress, the nation’s leaders might be looking at ways to reduce the 7 billion barrels a year that Americans consume. One way that just jumps out at you is the use of compressed natural gas (photo at right). From what I can find out, this looks like a plausible stop-gap measure while other, greener energy resources are developed. Of course, that would mean changes in the country’s service-station industry. But it doesn’t look that complicated, and America has enough natural gas to supply its needs far into the future. It would be cheaper for motorists in the long run, and it would be a lot better for the environment. But who still cares about that – except, possibly, Al Gore? The only thing that seems to matter to Bush/McCain and their buddies is Big Oil’s profits, and I guess you can make more money from oil than from natural gas.