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ANWR and Snake Oil
April 13, 2002
By Radfringe

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 possible shortfall.

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 turn slowly?)

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 cold.

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 sniffle.

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 common cold.

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 Oil Habit.

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 same.

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 fuel efficiency.

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 engines.

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

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