Thursday, August 28, 2008

Big Oil Exploits High Oil Prices

'Big Oil' has already despoiled millions of acres of pristine American wilderness. It's not enough to satisfy their rapacious greed and its not enough to satisfy the American consumer who demands the right to drive absurd environmentally unfriendly vehicles like SUVs on the cheap. Everything was fine as long as the gravy train seemed endless. Everyone wants to have it both ways. Certainly --big oil would not have gotten big or bigger without a seemingly endless supply of hypocrisy. The supply of oil, by contrast, is finite.
Did you know that oil companies are already sitting on 68 million acres of leases that they aren't even drilling? Which kind of makes you wonder: Why are Big Oil and its allies suddenly desperate to get their hands on the last few places that are still protected -- our natural treasures, wildlife refuges, and pristine coastlines? They wouldn't use the concerns caused by high gas prices as an excuse to grab it ALL, would they?

--Greg Haegele, Director of Conservation, Sierra Club
Big oil is eager to exploit the situation. When consumers are 'squeezed' by high prices at the pump, dumping the SUV has not been enough. Big oil --citing high prices from which they benefited --pushes a new PR offensive with an internet campaign the Sierra Club says are outright lies.
In April and May, House and Senate committees called industry executives on the carpet for hearings, and earlier this month Congress took another run at imposing a windfall profits tax on the five major US oil companies, which together made a record $36 billion in the first quarter of 2008.

But the windfall profits bill—which also included measures to rescind some $17 billion in industry tax breaks—died a swift death in the Senate, garnering 51 votes, but not enough to overcome a filibuster. (The president also vowed to veto it.) And the hearings themselves amounted to little more than political theater, allowing members of Congress to talk tough on behalf of their suffering constituents without demanding anything that would make the lineup of oil execs—from Exxon, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Shell—break a sweat.

--Mother Jones, America, Over Big Oil's Barrel
Big Oil wants to drill in wilderness areas and additional areas offshore and will try to buy a Presidential candidate if that it what it takes.
Oil and gas industry executives and employees donated $1.1 million to McCain last month -- three-quarters of which came after his June 16 speech calling for an end to the ban -- compared with $116,000 in March, $283,000 in April and $208,000 in May.

McCain said the policy reversal came as a response to rising voter anger over soaring energy prices. At the time, about three-quarters of voters responding to a Washington Post-ABC News poll said prices at the pump were causing them financial hardship, the highest in surveys this decade.

Opening vast stretches of the country's coastline to oil exploration would help America eliminate its dependence on foreign oil, McCain said.

"We have untapped oil reserves of at least 21 billion barrels in the United States. But a broad federal moratorium stands in the way of energy exploration and production," he said. "It is time for the federal government to lift these restrictions."

McCain delivered the speech before heading to Texas for a series of fundraisers with energy industry executives, and the day after the speech he raised $1.3 million at a private luncheon and reception at the San Antonio Country Club, according to local news<>

"The timing was significant," said David Donnelly, the national campaigns director of the Public Campaign Action Fund, a nonpartisan campaign finance reform group that conducted the analysis of McCain's oil industry contributions. "This is a case study of how a candidate can change a policy position in the interest of raising money."

Washington Post
Americans are squeezed at the pump. Jobs are scarce, if at all, and often miles from home. Millions of Americans, through no fault of their own, have no choice but to commute long distances to jobs and, given the GOP economy, think themselves lucky to have one. At the same time, they are squeezed by high prices at the pump. Big Oil can be counted on to find an opportunity in a crisis, a silver lining that will only make them richer at your expense and that of the environment. It's not only the US that is targeted by the robber barons of big oil.
LONDON, Aug 14 (Reuters) - A race to grab land in developing countries and exploit food supply fears and payments to conserve forests could spark conflicts in areas of land disputes, development and civil rights groups say.

Investors say higher land valuations are just what's needed to settle claims which may have festered since colonial days.

But much marginal and forested land is common property, which in the past has given poor local communities little benefit from logging, mining and oil concessions.

"No-man's land and hinterland is suddenly valuable," said Andy White, coordinator for the Washington-based Rights and Resources Initiative, a development NGO.

"Communities had been told the land was theirs. Now it's contested," he said, explaining that a community in Liberia had told him that in one week they had separate visits from a mining company, a logging company and a biofuel company. "They were told by the government -- 'go out and prospect'."

--Reuters, "Green" land grab could sow seeds of new conflict
Big Oil's long-term drilling agenda is a Faustian bargain. There is only one environment. Riches today and to hell with the morrow is a fool's bargain. Big oil wants you to make it! Fact is --more drilling will neither lower the price you pay at the pump nor will it make the US energy independent. Like a druggie, this is just another short term 'fix' and only the world's richest oil companies will get even richer. Funny how it always seems to work out that way. One day, the US consumer will 'get it'!

In the meantime, The Nation, in an open letter to Barack Obama, has published some of the key points that must be addressed if the nation is ever to recover.
Here are key positions you have embraced that we believe are essential to sustaining this movement:
  • § Withdrawal from Iraq on a fixed timetable.
  • § A response to the current economic crisis that reduces the gap between the rich and the rest of us through a more progressive financial and welfare system; public investment to create jobs and repair the country's collapsing infrastructure; fair trade policies; restoration of the freedom to organize unions; and meaningful government enforcement of labor laws and regulation of industry.
  • § Universal healthcare.
  • § An environmental policy that transforms the economy by shifting billions of dollars from the consumption of fossil fuels to alternative energy sources, creating millions of green jobs.
  • § An end to the regime of torture, abuse of civil liberties and unchecked executive power that has flourished in the Bush era.
  • § A commitment to the rights of women, including the right to choose abortion and improved access to abortion and reproductive health services.
  • § A commitment to improving conditions in urban communities and ending racial inequality, including disparities in education through reform of the No Child Left Behind Act and other measures.
  • § An immigration system that treats humanely those attempting to enter the country and provides a path to citizenship for those already here.
  • § Reform of the drug laws that incarcerate hundreds of thousands who need help, not jail.
  • § Reform of the political process that reduces the influence of money and corporate lobbyists and amplifies the voices of ordinary people.

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