Big Oil has written their energy bill. If the Democrats in Congress rubber stamp this the way the Republican always did, I am going to be furious.
After a year of unprecedented spending on federal lobbying to shape public opinion and the policy debate on climate legislation, on December 3 the oil industry released its own version of a federal energy bill entitled the "Creating Renewed Economic Activity through Energy Jobs Act of 2010."
Industry's CREATE Jobs Act bears little resemblance to the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act of 2010 introduced by Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer. The Kerry-Boxer bill was supposed to transition America from our fossil fuel dependency to a clean green energy future.
Not surprisingly, the industry's bill dispenses with the key word "clean" -- as in clean energy jobs -- in its title and then proceeds to require expedited oil drilling, well, everywhere -- in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain, throughout Alaskan waters including the Arctic Ocean and fish-rich Bristol Bay, and on the Florida Gulf Coast and Panhandle. This would be accomplished by rescinding, waiving, or limiting federal laws, state authority, and people's ability to protect these areas, while expediting judicial review of federal leasing and permitting decisions.
My guess is that, after spending $80 million on public relations and lobbying last year, the American Petroleum Institute felt Americans were ready to believe their industry scribes. Too bad they didn't just name it the "No Future Act of 2010." That might have tipped off the more gullible Americans as to exactly where this bill would take us.
The level of certainty that the oil industry demands creates a huge level of uncertainty for the rest of us. Action that leads to increased oil use means dangerous inaction to reduce carbon emissions and minimize impending chaos from climate destabilization. Secure oil jobs mean insecurity and hardship for billions of people and a totally different planet -- if one believes the thousands of climate scientists who are not bought off by the oil or coal industry.
Environmentally responsible oil development is magical thinking. It doesn't exist, never has, and never will. Why? Because it's not just about oil development. It's about the whole equation -- responsible oil use from cradle to cradle -- which means counting the full costs of our oil dependency with regard to human health, communities, the environment, and the planet. And when this is honestly assessed, it boils down to things like the sky-rocketing rates of asthma associated with breathing ultrafine oil particles from burning fossil fuels in vehicles and power plants. Legacies of contaminated beaches and compromised ecosystems from failed oil spill cleanups like the Exxon Valdez. Ocean acidification and an entire planet heading for ecological catastrophe, which really can't be a good thing for any of us despite the oil industry's spin about the benefits of new shipping routes across the ice-free Arctic and the creation of new jobs (for them).
The No Future Act should be dead on arrival. There is no balance to decisions made by tallying up the benefits without tallying up the risks. In the debate over our energy future, it really is a no-brainer. Just ask youth leaders like Brower Youth Award winner Alec Loorz who, like all kids, will be stuck paying long-term consequences for the short-term gain of more oil jobs. We can't make buffer zones big enough to protect the climate -- and it's doubtful we can make them big enough to protect our precious coastlines either, given Australia's rig blowout debacle in the Timor Sea or our own experience with Hurricane Katrina's destruction of oil rigs and pipelines.
The oil industry is a dying industry. If America clings to it, we will go down as well... [emphasis added]
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There are three reasons why this bill must be totally discarded and not allowed to influence our nations energy policy in any way, shape or form. First, it’s only economic effect is to enrich the oil companies at the expense of citizens, by allowing Big Oil to externalize costs. In simple terms, that means they get all the profits while we pay for cleaning up the mess.
Second, no matter how much we drill, we cannot produce enough oil to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, purchased mostly from the companies, who are funding the terrorist criminals we are already fighting. As we use our military to protect our oil supply, we further inflame the hatred against our nation in that region. This weakens our national security.
Third, and most important, the more resources Big Oil gets, the less will be available for green energy, upon which the future of both our economy and our planet depend.