Only a person who has been comatose over the past couple of decades is unaware that there are no lengths too far for Republicans to go to provide profits for the oil industry at the expense of the American people; both economically and health-wise. It is just what they exist to do and they are at it again. Republicans are wont to claim that America’s energy independence is their primary concern to prevent providing the Middle East with oil profits from American consumers, but they are a day away from making America much less energy independent and the oil industry billions more in profits.
As is their typical practice, Republicans are inserting a “rider” in the omnibus spending bill that eliminates the ban on American oil exports that was developed specifically to protect American consumers financially and strengthen America’s energy independence; it was also a means of protecting the environment. Republicans could hardly pass up an opportunity to provide the oil industry with an additional $22 billion annually in pure profits, increase fuel prices for American consumers quite substantially, increase carbon emission damage to the climate, and make America more dependent on Middle East oil; likely controlled by ISIS.
It is not unique for Republicans to insert several riders in spending bills that specifically cut environmental protections and attacks on the EPA, or to insert them in a last-minute attempt to keep government operating. Of course adding riders in lieu of legislation that would never pass, or survive a Presidential veto is nothing new any more than Republicans providing the oil industry with profits at the expense of the population or the environment is not new; it is why the Koch brothers bought control of Congress.
Obviously Americans do not want to pay more for oil and gas, but when given the choice between protecting Americans or the oil industry, Republicans will always choose their funding machine. Like the nasty Canadian corporation’s KeystoneXL pipeline, giving the Kochs, et al, extra profits and free rein to sell off American oil on the foreign market serves no benefit for the nation, its people, or the environment. In fact, environmentalists and consumer advocates oppose lifting the domestic oil export ban because it definitely increases fossil fuel extraction and global warming, and raises the price of oil and gas for American consumers; a double assault on Americans that Republicans must be ecstatic over.
A federal policy representative for the Sierra Club said the lifting the ban “will certainly lead to more drilling,” and the American Petroleum Institute is giddy to report that it means an additional half-a-million barrels of oil daily will be extracted (mostly fracked) and sent overseas; leaving Americans with less gas and oil and higher fuel prices to provide big oil and the Kochs with outrageous profits and an additional chance to brag about assaulting on the climate.
The Sierra Club’s Radha Adhar took the time to say the obvious, but few Americans will listen. Adhar said,
“Big Oil is going to get $22 billion in profits annually because of this. Twenty-two billion. It’s absolutely crazy. These people are destroying our democracy — they are behind every environmental attack we have to defend against, and the idea of giving them more power is untenable, especially when it comes at the expense of consumers and the environment.”
Within 5 years that $22 billion annually will grow to $170 billion annually with nary a red cent going to America or the people. It is the Republican way of saying sod the environment and President Obama’s efforts to combat climate change because the Kochs and big oil need billions more in profits annually while American consumers take a hit on their energy costs, their environment and their health.
A report published by the Center for American Progress notes that repealing the ban for the Kochs and big oil means an additional 515 metric tons of carbon emissions beginning in 2016. That is approximately equivalent to putting 108 million more passenger cars on the road or putting an additional 135 coal-fired power plants online next year and continuing every year thereafter. To make matters that much worse for Americans’ health and lack of potable water, the increased extraction will be primarily from toxic and earthquake producing hydraulic fracturing (fracking). The proven dangers of fracking will be accompanied by an increase in rupture-prone pipelines and dangerous oil trains that are already responsible for epic environmental damage and hazards to Americans’ health; something Republicans believe is well worth the cost according to their highest regard for increasing profits for their masters the Kochs and big oil.
As usual, while Republicans’ only regard is oil industry profits, 80 percent of Americans oppose exporting domestic oil for economic and national security reasons. First, they know it means America will become more dependent on the always unstable Middle East for its oil and gas, and second, they are smart enough to know that exporting domestic oil and reducing the supply will automatically increase consumer prices at home. Still, the public be damned according to Republicans serving their special interest masters in the oil industry.
It is worth noting, too, that not all of the oil industry will profit from lifting the ban on shipping out American oil. The nation’s oil and gas refiners oppose the Republican plan because they will take a monumental economic hit because the “crude oil will not be refined in America;” but the Kochs and big oil need more billions so domestic refineries and American workers be damned. Like the economic costs, health concerns, and environment damage from exporting America’s oil, sacrificing domestic refinery jobs to overseas is just the price American businesses and labor force has to pay to increase profits for the Kochs’ oil industry cabal.
That oil cabal has been instrumental in paying various Koch and conservative belief tanks to pressure Congress and deny any environmental impacts from increased drilling and fracking. They even lie, like they did in pushing the Keystone XL pipeline, that shipping oil to foreign nations will be a major economic benefit for the American consumer.
A Brookings Institute report authored by an oil industry employee said that “In terms of environmental impacts, Congress is aware that oil producers in the United States have a long history and extensive experience complying with U.S. environmental requirements,” and that there is no such thing as climate impact from pouring an additional half-a-million metric tons of carbon pollutants into the atmosphere and water.
The oil industry (Brookings Institute) report also claimed that “If Congress truly wants to address climate change, then it should adopt appropriate climate policies that address emissions;” seriously, they really wrote that. They could never say it in public because they could hardly conceal their wild laughter at the idea of their Republicans addressing climate change.
According to a report released yesterday by the Public Accountability Initiative (PAI), besides the Koch brothers, the major funders behind the export ban repeal are ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Shell; what the PAI report said was “a multifaceted effort by the oil industry lobbying groups” demanding Republicans’ blessing and authority to send American oil overseas and increase the nation’s dependence on Middle East oil.
Like everything Republicans have done over the past few decades, giving the oil industry free rein to export American oil out of country to increase Middle East oil imports into the country has no benefit to the nation, the people, and certainly not the environment. And, Republicans are again imposing economic, health, and environmental damage, not including national security threats, on the American people just so the already highly-profitable oil industry can earn billions more annually to add to their billions in subsidies while paying next to nothing in taxes. As horrid as all that is, the travesty is that Republicans will continue garnering electoral support from their base while imposing a world of damage on the American people, including their incredibly ignorant base.