As gasoline prices skyrocket at pumps across the country, the wholly owned subsidiary of Big Oil -- otherwise known as the Bush-Cheney administration -- is using typical fear tactics in trying to persuade Congress to pass the stalled energy bill.
Big Oil and Bush-Cheney claim that high energy prices are a result of Congress failing to open up the pristine Alaska National Wildlife Reserve to oil drilling and gutting important Environmental Protection Agency regulations on gasoline and other fuel production. These typical Big Oil talking points avoid the actual reasons for our current energy crisis.
Bush and Cheney have failed to address what is key to the future of America's wealth and prosperity: sustainable and alternative forms of energy. If Cheney were ever to disclose the secret proceedings of his Energy Task Force, we would find that the administration's current energy policy -- of creating more dependency on the world's rapidly depleting supply of hydrocarbon fossil fuels, producing more gas-guzzling SUVs, refining dirtier and more particulate-laden fuels and allowing Big Oil to gouge cash-strapped middle-class and poor Americans -- was written by Texas oilmen who would make J.R. Ewing look like a choir boy.
These same oil gangsters blame California's past energy woes on the failure to pass the energy bill and the state's strict environmental protections. Never mind the fact that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission investigated Texas-based Enron and El Paso Electric Co. for scheming to inflate electricity rates during California's power crisis.
Ousted Democratic Gov. Gray Davis knew about the conspiracy and told anyone who would listen. Meanwhile, GOP Arnold Schwarzenegger was secretly meeting with Enron's Ken Lay at a Beverly Hills hotel.
The fix was in. Schwarzenegger ousted Davis in a well-financed recall campaign. Now Big Oil and its Republican allies are blaming California's sensible environmental standards for America's high gas prices. Now Big Oil has the same kind of friend in the state capitol in Sacramento as it has in the White House and on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Alternative energy programs are merely a footnote in the so-called comprehensive energy bill. Big Oil has no interest in creating competition. Like alcoholics on a wild drinking binge, Big Oil executives crave more oil, whether in Alaskan wildlife refuges, the steppes of central Asia or in the oceans off western Africa.
Thirst for oil
Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman found the environmental policies of Bush and Cheney to be so outrageous that she abruptly resigned as EPA administrator last year. She was joined by her deputy and a number of EPA regulatory officials.
Apparently, Bush's ''compassionate conservatism'' does not include the ''conservation'' principles that were championed by past Republican presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon.
To secure more oil reserves, Bush and Cheney are deploying U.S. military forces and private military contractors around the world to guarantee that their unquenchable thirst for oil remains sated.
The deputy commander of the U.S. European Command, Gen. Charles Wald, recently told a meeting at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington that one of his top military priorities was to ``protect hydrocarbon pipelines to the Mediterranean Sea and natural-gas pipelines across Turkey.''
In the oil-rich Caucasus, protecting the interests of Big Oil has blended in well with the Pentagon's prosecution of the so-called global war on terrorism. Big Oil's ''comprehensive'' energy bill is a ruse. Giving the oil-oholics more to drink solves nothing.
Copyright 2004 Knight Ridder