Another Energy Crisis????

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Common Dreams

Another Energy Crisis????

The global energy cartel is imperiling the world's environment and economic stability in a greedy grab for profits that is empowered by a heavy investment of campaign contributions and corporate connections with media conglomerates. The energy cartel understands the world's dependency on their energy commodities such as fossil fuel, natural gas and nuclear. One of their top executives, Dick Cheney, is now Vice-President and the "Czar" for the energy policy of the United States. The evil empire of energy has used OPEC since its inception as a convenient shill to reduce the "supply" and drum-up the "price" of oil to create an "energy crisis" and an excuse to charge exorbitant prices for their products.

In the 1970s I worked with a coalition of consumer groups that brought public awareness to the "energy crisis" rip-off by challenging rate hike requests and nuclear plant construction permits before the South Carolina Public Service Commission that regulates the electrical utilities in our state. The excuse for raising the price of electricity was the cost of fossil fuel, natural gas, and nuclear energy and was all blamed on the short "supply" and high "price" of "foreign oil" set by a bunch of Arabs and Africans in turbans and togas who "ruled" the OPEC nations. Remember OPEC causing the gasoline shortage? When President Jimmy Carter called for energy conservation and funding research for harnessing renewable energy sources such as wind, water and the sun, the powerful energy cartel helped him become a one-term President.

Maybe that's why the Democratic political leadership hasn't challenged Cheney's proposal to develop new domestic sources of oil, gas and coal and build new coal-fired and nuclear generating plants. Cheney dismissed conservation as "1970s era thinking" that could not get us out of what he called an "energy crisis". Cheney favors a government backed push to drill for oil and gas, including the protected areas of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Cheney expounds a "supply" oriented energy philosophy he learned at the Halliburton Corporation, the largest energy services corporation in the world, where he was the CEO for 5 years and holder of 45 million dollars of stock before he became George W. Bush's Vice-Presidential running mate. During Cheney's tenure, Halliburton received federal contracts and taxpayer insured loans totaling $3.8 billion.

In 1998 Halliburton paid $8.1 billion for drilling and oil industry equipment supplier, Dresser Industries. Halliburton also owns Landmark Graphics Corp., suppliers of production information services and systems that help energy companies find, produce and manage oil and gas reservoirs and NUMAR Corp. that furnishes nuclear magnetic imaging to measure oil drilling. The most notorious Halliburton subsidiary is Kellogg, Brown and Root that builds offshore oil rigs, drills wells, and builds nuclear reactors while employing more than 20,000 people in more than 100 countries, including the OPEC nations. Brown and Root has been in the heavy construction business for more than 65 years and was a big U.S. military contractor in Vietnam and Kosovo with strong world-wide connections to CIA activities.

As Bush's Presidential campaign set fund-raising records with hefty contributions from the energy business, OPEC began to raise the price of oil and, by the middle of 2000, energy prices began to affect business costs and the stock market. As the stock market nose-dived, energy companies' profits soared in the first quarter of 2001, with Exxon Mobil's profits up 44% from a year ago, enabling them to become the world's top revenue producer at $52.28 billion; Chevron's profits were up 57% for the first quarter; and Duke Energy's stock was up 12% in 2001 after rising 70% in value in 2000, partly from selling high priced electricity to "rolling blackout" stricken California. From my experience in opposing Duke's rate hike requests in South Carolina 25 years ago, I can vouch for their ability to make big bucks from energy.

By pulling out of the Kyoto global warming agreement to limit carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming and increasingly volatile weather conditions and by pushing for domestic oil and gas drilling, the Bush-Cheney Administration have prioritized energy profits over the global environment. Energy's media connections make it difficult for the public to get an unbiased picture of the "energy crisis". General Electric Corp. owns NBC, CNBC and MSNBC and GE Nuclear Energy, who design nuclear reactors and already own and operate 91 reactors world-wide. Conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch owns Fox; the nuclear intensive Westinghouse Corp., until recently, owned CBS. Such media influence and the fat "energy crisis" profits the energy companies can invest in campaign contributions make it even difficult for politicians to oppose the Administration's energy cartel juggernaut.

Tom Turnipseed

Tom Turnipseed

Tom Turnipseed is an attorney, writer and peace activist in Columbia, SC. His blog is http://tomandjudyonablog.blogspot.com/

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