and Snake Oil
April 13, 2002
Saddam Hussein, of Iraq, announced his intentions of mounting
an oil embargo against the United States. Media reports have
stated that the amount of oil Saddam would withhold from the
market place would not make much of an impact. Our own domestic
resources and foreign sources are adequate to make-up any
Within a few days of Saddam’s announcement the Bush Administration
and Republicans went into action to once again push for drilling
in the ANWR. It only took the Bush Administration 7 days to
rewrite a 12-year study to “prove” there would be no detrimental
impact from ANWR drilling. (And who says the wheels of government
During the first few months of 2001, the Bush Administration
trotted out the Tax Cut Plan. According to the spin, the tax
cut plan would “jump start” the economy, create “new jobs”,
help people pay for their energy needs, and cure the common
Despite the Snake-oil salesman pitch, and the enthusiasm
with which the tax cut was announced, the tax cut did none
of this. It did drain the surplus, it did send us into deficit
spending, it didn’t create jobs, it didn’t pay for energy
needs and it didn’t cure the common cold – not even the occasional
One year later, we are being entertained with the new Snake-Oil
show: ANWR drilling. It will boost the economy, create new
jobs, make more fuel available, and probably will cure the
Any oil found in ANWR will take 5-7 years, maybe longer,
before it becomes available to the consumer. There are NO
guarantees that any oil found in ANWR will go to the American
markets – most likely it will be exported to Japan where the
Oil Companies can charge more.
Our dependency on foreign oil sources is self-evident. However,
the problem is deeper than that. It’s not just foreign oil
dependency – it is oil dependency period.
We know that ANWR drilling WILL impact the environment. We
know that continued use of fossil fuels does and will damage
the environment. We know this – and yet we continue with our
We can take the 5-7 years that it will take ANWR oil to get
to market – and put that time to better use.
Conservation is not a “moral obligation” – it’s a
necessity. Global Warming is not a “tree-hugger” myth
– it’s a reality.
Limiting our focus just on “foreign oil” is doing a disservice
to ourselves, our children and our future. Be it foreign oil
or domestic oil – the environmental damage and cost is the
We need a national goal of creating a source of energy that
is clean and renewable. We need to break the Oil Habit. The
technology is there, we can do this. So what is stopping us?
Just look to the right side of the aisle and at the White
House. Cheney assembled a group of energy company executives
and told them to write an energy policy. They did and Bush
just rubber-stamped their notes and called it good.
During the oil embargo and gas lines of the Carter administration,
Japanese and other Asian auto makers saw a market. That market
was to produce automobiles with higher fuel efficiency. Americans
bought these cars. The American Auto Industry fell on hard
times until it dawned on them to also produce cars with higher
Higher gas prices, war and the threat of embargoes have reopened
that fuel-efficient auto market once again. Several Asian
auto makers have started exporting hybrid cars to the USA.
They are having trouble keeping up with the demand. Yet, American
auto makers are scoffing at the idea. Hybrids? Pshaw!
Americans want gas-guzzling SUV’s, big hogs, more powerful
American Auto makers will be in deep trouble over the next
few years if they do not roll-out their own version of the
hybrid. Do I see an auto industry bailout at the taxpayer’s
expense in the future? You bet I do.
The snake-oil caravan is rolling into town, shouting promises
of a quick fix, more jobs, and cures for the common cold.
P.T. Barnum was right – there is one born every minute.
The author publishes a website at http://radicalfringe.freeservers.com.