The oil and gas industry has sunk their political talons so deeply into the compliant right-wing flesh of the House of Representatives that voting against oil and gas interests or even bothering to read the latest industry-written legislation past the title is no longer an option. The only obligation of your elected Republican representative and/or DINO is to contact their industry lobbyist for voting instructions.
As most regular visitors know, I reside in Upstate South Carolina, an area so devoid of practical critical thinking that when a resident begins to read a well-researched book or visits an objective Website or two, a giant siren goes off as a warning to others not to emulate these brain-jarring missteps.
South Carolinians leave all decisions that could profoundly impact them, their children and generations anon and beyond to their elected Tea Party representatives. My 4th District Representative is Trey Gowdy. He’s a right-winger as are all members of the South Carolina delegation with the exception of Representative Jim Clyburn, the single congressional Democrat. The remaining members vote the same way, virtually every time. They are owned by Corporate special interests. They never vote against their Corporate Captains; NEVER! The impact on the constituents means nothing.
All Gowdy and company have to do come the next election is trash gays, wave a few firearms in the air, thoughtlessly babble distortions about Obamacare, give thanks to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior and, of course, insure the voter that blacks will continue to be defined by hoodies. There is one black South Carolina senator, Tim Scott. He’s loony (anti welfare, food stamps, minority rights and Obama) and votes with the white establishment extremists.
Here’s an example of pro oil and gas-industry votes that are reliably locked in every time thanks to the right. Thank Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior that there exists an upper chamber to head off most of this legislation. That’s why GOTV (get out the vote) is huge for the Democrats. Most of the Republican votes are putrid capitulations to industry demands. I’ve started with a few votes from 2012 up to the present time. In every vote, the South Carolina Republican Delegation pressed either the red “No” button or the green “Aye” button depending on how the industry lobbyist tells them to vote. So let’s see how the oil and gas industry makes out in the Republican-dominated House.
The industry was off to a good start back in February of 2012 when they purchased through political contributions a multiple of bills that were designed to add billions to the bottom line. How about HR 3408 that would nearly triple offshore oil and gas production by 2027. Utilizing existing permits would accomplish pretty much the same thing. Then there’s another of the relentless attempts to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, scratch open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling (the ‘R’s have tried to rip this section of ANWR apart a dozen times in the last three decades or so) and start extracting oil shale deposits on federal land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The senate, otherwise known as the brain rehab center, will undoubtedly kill this junk pile so the president doesn’t have to bother vetoing it.
An HR 3408 amendment would require that output from XL pipeline be sold in the U.S. The repubs pounded that one into submission knowing full domestic sales are but a small part of the sales strategy. This McClatchy Website tells the story.
The Democrats countered plans for drilling off the California coast with an amendment that would forbid such an action. Predictably, Republicans didn’t like the idea and voted the amendment down as they did another house minority party amendment to 3408 requiring worst-case projections of economic damages as part of oil and gas lease permits.
Here’s a bill from June of last year that still turns my stomach for its unabashed corporate pandering. HR 4480 calls for more expansion of oil and gas drilling offshore and on federally owned land in the West. The bill also shelves new environmental regulation of refineries and gives energy production priority over other uses of public lands and get this; it would change the legal rationale of the Clean Air Act by requiring air-pollution rules to be justified mostly by their ECONOMIC impact rather than by benefits to public health. Let kids die while billionaires make more billions. This is no longer my America. Its essence of the Golden Rule and caring all but blotted out by a truly strange philosophy of worshipping the money Gods and not giving a damn about the poor and different against the backdrop of religion.
A Democratic motion attempted to force BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell to relinquish their billions in subsidies before being granted new leases. Of course the right-wingers defeated the motion.
But there’s more that came down around May 24th of this year. Newly seated Mark Sanford joined his posse in passing a bill again approving the Keystone Pipeline. The Democrats called a right-wing bluff in offering a motion (HR 3) banning the export of crude oil or petroleum products that U.S. companies would receive through the pipeline. The overwhelming Republican-driven defeat of the motion certainly gives lie to the GOP myth that Keystone is an all-American enterprise. Another attempt by Democrats to force an amendment to a 2011 IRS ruling that exempts Keystone from paying into an Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (surprisingly, other oil companies do pay into the fund) was roundly defeated by the majority.
A few months later, another set of oil and gas favors were featured in HR 1613. For openers 1613 allowed U.S. oil companies an exemption from the 2010 Dodd-Frank transparency requirement that companies publicly disclose how much they pay the U.S. government or foreign governments for rights to extract oil, gas and minerals. Releasing such figures would give other bidders an unfair advantage cried the Republicans. That could easily be remedied by not releasing the information until the deal was completed. Methinks the main concern is that the oil giant’s payouts are not as expensive as people might think, giving pause to the substantial subsidies we hand multi-billion dollar energy companies listed earlier.
There was also a motion to mandate that companies that cause oil spills pay the entirety of the cleanup costs. Defeated, of course. South Carolina Republican Representative, Jeff Duncan said the motion was the latest attempt by Democrats to cater to special interests instead of the “needs of the American people.”
That there is a percentage of the “American people” that buy that kind of mindless BS has gotten us to where we are today.
A house and senate Republican majority and a Republican president guarantees that all of these despicable initiatives prevail.