Democratic Underground

Gas Pains
August 30, 2001
by Kurt Kurowski

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During last year's presidential campaign, Vice-President Al Gore told us that Bush was "of, by and for Big Oil." Given the evidence, it appears Mr. Gore had tapped into a rich vein of truth. No wonder the Bush campaign spent so much time, energy and cash in its attempt to paint Mr. Gore as a liar.

We now have the oil-rigged Bush administration continuing its attempts to bolster a backward energy policy even as it stifles progress by decrying conservation and cutting funds for alternative energy technology. We have oil millionaire Vice-President Dick Cheney, as of this writing, continuing his attempts to stonewall on releasing information about secret meetings regarding energy policy at the White House.

We have endured a number of scattershot events that have been used to convince us of an energy crisis that never materialized, but that created a crisis of credibility for Bush. Every excuse for high prices given by Bush-Cheney and the press members that support them has been proven unfounded with every rapid price-drop.

We were told high prices were due to low refining capacity, shortages, environmental regulations, numerous broken pipelines, and the difficulty in switching between different formulas, but let's face it, prices have plunged thrice and we had no new refineries, no new domestic drilling had occurred, and we had no "gas lines" at stations

Environmental regulations still consistently added only 10 to 25 cents per gallon, there was a dearth of newspaper stories on all these broken pipelines that we are nevertheless told are safe, and if the industry is so inept it cannot coordinate different fuels, perhaps local governments should relieve them of the burden by taking over the process.

Now the Bush Administration may have a fool-proof reason for prices that are once again climbing, as OPEC raised the price per barrel about two weeks ago.

I should amend that by saying almost foolproof.

During the 2000 campaign Mr. Bush, at the first round of gas price hikes, told us that if he were (then) President Clinton he would get on the phone with OPEC and talk those prices down. So I urge citizens concerned about rising prices to contact the White House and request Mr. Bush do just that.

Or was his statement just another in a consistently growing list of broken campaign promises?