Oil, that is … Texas tea

By Tyler Vincent

You wanted a Republican president with an environmental policy? You got it.

And as a bonus, this Republican president will give you an ambitious environmental policy, something no other policy has been before. For this policy will not save any fine Northwestern timber. It will not make a “solution” in an area where the problem cannot be identified (i.e. the “spotted owl”) and no sport utility vehicles will be harmed.

Instead, we will be drilling.

Yes, Uncle Sam is headed north with oil rigs and pipes in hand to Alaska’s Arctic Wildlife Refuge to bring mass quantities of oil. LOTS of oil. According to a March 25 Associated Press article, 16 million more barrels than the neighboring reserves in Pruedhoe Bay.

Now the suburban soccer moms of America can whisk junior away to practice in their 12-mile-per gallon gas guzzlers, which will never touch an off-road surface, and not wonder where the next $30-dollar-plus fill-up will come from.

Dubya chalked up his environmental policy under the “we need to clean up our air.” On everything else he was & like everything else in his campaign & completely vague. You didn’t really expect anything less from an ex-oilman, did you?

Of course not, because in Republican terms, the concept of “environment” is something to overcome, rather than something to be preserved. This concept expands to all realms of the GOP. Environmental Protection Agency head Christie Todd Whitman, considered a liberal in some Republican circles, is on the bandwagon.

She believes that the oil in “them there hills” has enough to supplement the annual shipment from Kuwait for up to 30 years, according to the AP article.

So why are we headed north?

Well, Dubya’s people cite a number of reasons. The first being the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, who, according Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, “decided to put their interests first,” by cutting off the supply of oil to keep gas prices high.

Now consider the middle man in this case: the oil companies.

Granted, we are all adults, and we know some of our idealism must give way to the fact that this is a business and in turn, that business must make money.

But with the billions of dollars the oil company brings in every year, shouldn’t we consider what they could be doing before laying this at OPEC’s feet? Couldn’t they tighten their belts a little instead of tapping a wildlife refuge for a precious natural resource?

They could, but they won’t. Dubya could tell them to and say that we will not plunder the wildlife so you can keep your bottom line up. But he won’t. Obscene money is the name of the game. It’s supply and demand & the American way.

There are problems in the concept of supply and demand, and no breed of consumer better illustrates this than the U.S. consumer. The connotations of our actions regarding the environment have not left public debate, although they are less sensational. The call is the same as it was 10 years ago at the height of the environmental movement. The ozone is a problem. Recycle. Conserve.

Yet here is the American consumer, shaking his or her head at the ever-increasing pessimistic news about the state of the environment before departing, along with millions of others, to purchase the new poster object for American’s flipping the bird at Mother Earth & the SUV.

And since Americans like these cars, and other non-environmentally friendly machines, the businesses will keep making them.

The second reason Abraham cites is the California Power Outages.

This is a stretch of logic to say the least. But stretches of logic are the calling card of the Bush administration. Consider the fact that this is the same administration who actively is campaigning for a monumental tax cut when the evidence clearly shows the economy is in no shape to take such a hit.

The premise is nonsense.

California only relies on oil for 2 to 3 percent of its power supply. OPEC and the oil problems therein have no more to do with the rolling blackouts than it had to do with the recent string of school shootings. It’s just rhetoric.

Not that it’s necessary. The House is full of Republicans willing to take the plunge in the north country, and with the Democrats powerless to stop the agenda in both the House and the Senate, any bill that comes up will be passed.

So let the drilling begin.

The drillers, their corporate bosses and the Bush administration should remember to make sure all the wildlife is cleared out, make sure the well is drained completely to maximize profit and whistle while they work.