As we hear the bankrupt ideas of Republicans for "solving" our energy mess, it's not surprising that they really don't have a leg to stand on. They've made it part of their religion that thou shalt not do anything serious about energy except continue to provide subsidies to oil giants and demand that they be able to drill anywhere they want.
Of course, this policy is a failure and utterly irresponsible on it's face as in it's devotion to big oil, it pretends there's nothing else we can do but suck every last drop of oil out of the ground in a desperate race to the point where there is no more.
But I guess by then they'll be dead and will have enjoyed their massive profits, so who cares, right?
When you hear the Republicans clammoring to be allowed to drill for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge or ANWR, consider these indisputable facts from the government's own non-partisan Congressional Research Service and the Department of Energy.
They've issued reports that are based on reality, reality that applies the same to both right and left, Dem and Republican. What used to be known as facts before the right nearly made them extinct:
- Under even best-case scenarios, it would take 10 years to start production and the average net drop in price would be about 86 cents per barrel — 0.6 percent.
- The government's most optimistic estimate is that peak ANWR production would be less than 1 percent of total world oil output — about 750,000 barrels per day in a country that consumes 19 million barrels per day.
In fact, the government admits that foreign-oil dependence would decrease only slightly, between the years 2022 and 2026, and would then return to pre-ANWR levels.
- Republican oil junkies argue that drilling would produce a "supply effect" on gasoline prices. In that Economics 101 formulation, as oil supply increases, gasoline prices will drop.
But the government debunks that myth, too, because "OPEC and other producers may cut output to offset the supply effect." In other words, OPEC won't sit still as we force price reductions — they'll match our production increases with production decreases to keep supply steady and prices high.
Under best case scenarios experts say that opening ANWR to drilling would bring down gas prices by a few cents a gallon, if that.
- You'll hear them say that we "know" there's vast amounts of oil under those pristine arctic expanses. Not according to people who know the score. The government admits that "there is much uncertainty" about ANWR and "little direct knowledge" about the location of oil, how easily it can be recovered, the size of the fields and the quality of oil in them. What we "know" is little more than a guess, based upon some hypothetical, exploratory models.
But as we've sadly learned, Republicans don't need no stinking facts and a "guess" qualifies quite nicely as a sound basis for developing national policy. That's because as usual, it's a sham arguement designed to obliterate the truth so that a small group can make enormous profits.
It's their standard operating proceedure; piss on your leg and tell you it's raining.
- They also say that tearing up the tundra, building miles of roads and pipes, etc. won't harm the environment at all. They'll use "limited footprint" technology and everything will be rosy.
But the government admits limited-footprint technology probably won't work and "full development of the 1002 area" would require infrastructure throughout the area.
And the government openly acknowledges the threat to what it calls "the most biologically productive part of the Arctic Refuge for wildlife," "the center of wildlife activity," and the only federal land that "protects, in an undisturbed condition, a complete spectrum of the arctic ecosystem in North America."
In other words, drilling in ANWR is being sold as a short term fix, promising miraculous relief from high gas prices and dependence on foreign oil.
In reality, it's nothing more than oil corporations and their bought and paid for flacks in the Republican party seeing a chance to decieve and stampede the public into letting them exploit ANWR for massive profits.
It's too bad Republicans can't make their arguments honestly and let the public decide. But when your positions invariably come down to representing narrow corporate interests over the public good, it makes it tough.
They know that if they were honest, the public would never go for it, so what we get is an endless stream of B.S. as they pee on our leg and say, "Aren't you glad it's raining! You lucky Duck!"
Just remember these facts next time you hear a Republican trying to sell you a bill of goods about ANWR.
Now McCain has reversed himself in yet another flip-flop (they're so many they're hard to keep track of) and is now proposing that our entire continental shelf be given over to oil corporations for drilling. (and yes, he opposed this less than a year ago.)
Again, experts say that it would be 10 years before we'd see any oil from this measure.
Not only that, but the government has already leased literally MILLIONS of acres of federal land to oil giants which they could exploit at any time. The fact is that they have sat on these leases because it serves to keep prices high and profits at record levels.
Exon-Mobil just posted an all time high profit. But not just that, it's the largest amount of profit posted by a company in the history of the world, which is kind of saying something.
And you know what they'd do if we gave them access to our coastlines? Yep. They'd sit on those leases as well until such time that it would provide them maximum profits. That's what they do. They're not in it for their health.
But the idea that these giant corporations, already fat as ticks with unheard of billions in profits, would run right in there and start pumping oil willy-nilly and that as a result we'd be less dependent on foreign oil, or even more far-fetched, that the price of gas would go down, is dead wrong.
Don't buy it.