Continued focus on fossil fuels detrimental - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Continued focus on fossil fuels detrimental

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Posted: Saturday, October 18, 2008 7:06 pm | Updated: 9:03 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Like a huckster of patent medicine in 19th-century America, John McCain is trying to convince us that drilling, drilling and more drilling is the instant remedy for the pain Americans feel approaching a gas pump these days.

Unlocking energy reserves can ensure our prosperity

Pass the Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, give me a swig of the Kickapoo Blood, Liver and Stomach Renovator; and let me take a deep breath of Dr. Merritt's Scientific Ozone Inhaler.

Better yet, how about a large dose of 21st-century reality? Lifting the ban on drilling in wildlife reserves and on offshore continental shelf zones is merely a placebo - it will do nothing to wean America from its dangerous addiction to fossil fuels.

Even if drilling began tomorrow, it would take seven years for this new oil to reach a market that is not governed by oil produced from pristine lands and oceans, but by world market prices set in New York, London, Dubai, Riyadh, Moscow, Caracas and, of course, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna.

As far as using revenues from oil drilling in currently restricted areas for tax relief for all Americans - as some Republicans suggest - the only tax relief currently offered by Congress is $4 billion in annual tax breaks for the oil and gas companies already awash in obscene profits pilfered from America's hard-pressed working people.

In truth, the only people who will benefit from lifting the 27-year ban on offshore drilling and opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve in Alaska will be the fatted calves of the oil and natural gas industries.

The GOP and some Democrats who have swallowed the offshore drilling propaganda like to talk about offshore carbon fuels being "American." There is nothing "American" about exploiters from BP or Royal Dutch Shell - multinational companies based in Britain and the Netherlands.

And when Exxon Mobil finds that Japan and China are offering more for oil from America's wildlife refuges and continental shelf, you can bet that oil will never flow through American gas pumps.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration, a federal government agency, has concluded that even if oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge began tomorrow, a steady flow of oil would not reach service stations until 2025.

Moreover, permitting offshore drilling on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico would have no appreciable effect on domestic oil production until 2030. By that time, climate scientists warn, the world should have long ceased relying on fossil fuels or risk irreversible damage to our planet's environment.

The answer is not more oil and gas drilling to satisfy the addiction of Big Oil, but a national commitment to shift to hybrid vehicles and non-fossil fuel energy sources like solar, wind and biofuels.

David Obey, D-Wis., the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, was correct in June when he said in support of the current drilling ban: "We are kidding ourselves if we think we can drill our way out of these problems."

It is not merely the risk of oil spills that threaten the environment, but the massive amount of drilling fluids and metals such as mercury that are commonly discharged into oceans and bays by oil rigs. These contaminants have been blamed for reduced populations of fish and marine mammals.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan's slogan for drug addicts was "Just say 'no' to drugs." The same holds true for oil addicts, "Just say 'no' to more drilling."

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Wayne Madsen is a contributing writer to the progressive Online Journal (www.onlinejournal.com).

Like a huckster of patent medicine in 19th-century America, John McCain is trying to convince us that drilling, drilling and more drilling is the instant remedy for the pain Americans feel approaching a gas pump these days.

Pass the Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, give me a swig of the Kickapoo Blood, Liver and Stomach Renovator; and let me take a deep breath of Dr. Merritt's Scientific Ozone Inhaler.

Better yet, how about a large dose of 21st-century reality? Lifting the ban on drilling in wildlife reserves and on offshore continental shelf zones is merely a placebo - it will do nothing to wean America from its dangerous addiction to fossil fuels.

Even if drilling began tomorrow, it would take seven years for this new oil to reach a market that is not governed by oil produced from pristine lands and oceans, but by world market prices set in New York, London, Dubai, Riyadh, Moscow, Caracas and, of course, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna.

As far as using revenues from oil drilling in currently restricted areas for tax relief for all Americans - as some Republicans suggest - the only tax relief currently offered by Congress is $4 billion in annual tax breaks for the oil and gas companies already awash in obscene profits pilfered from America's hard-pressed working people.

In truth, the only people who will benefit from lifting the 27-year ban on offshore drilling and opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve in Alaska will be the fatted calves of the oil and natural gas industries.

The GOP and some Democrats who have swallowed the offshore drilling propaganda like to talk about offshore carbon fuels being "American." There is nothing "American" about exploiters from BP or Royal Dutch Shell - multinational companies based in Britain and the Netherlands.

And when Exxon Mobil finds that Japan and China are offering more for oil from America's wildlife refuges and continental shelf, you can bet that oil will never flow through American gas pumps.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration, a federal government agency, has concluded that even if oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge began tomorrow, a steady flow of oil would not reach service stations until 2025.

Moreover, permitting offshore drilling on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico would have no appreciable effect on domestic oil production until 2030. By that time, climate scientists warn, the world should have long ceased relying on fossil fuels or risk irreversible damage to our planet's environment.

The answer is not more oil and gas drilling to satisfy the addiction of Big Oil, but a national commitment to shift to hybrid vehicles and non-fossil fuel energy sources like solar, wind and bio-fuels.

David Obey, D-Wis., the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, was correct in June when he said in support of the current drilling ban, "We are kidding ourselves if we think we can drill our way out of these problems."

It is not merely the risk of oil spills that threaten the environment, but the massive amount of drilling fluids and metals such as mercury that are commonly discharged into oceans and bays by oil rigs. These contaminants have been blamed for reduced populations of fish and marine mammals.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan's slogan for drug addicts was "Just say 'no' to drugs." The same holds true for oil addicts, "Just say 'no' to more drilling."

Wayne Madsen is a contributing writer to the progressive Online Journal (www.onlinejournal.com).

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