Realitology

“The Study of Reality”

Warning! This Blog Contains Social Commentary, Brilliant Observations, Dry Wit, and Rampant Sarcasm. Use At Your Own Risk.

 

Drilling In ANWR Still Doesn’t Make Any Freaking Sense
Comments(0)

More scare tactics from the anti-facts/reality/science wing of the conservative movement.

A while back I received an email with the subject line of "Lies Vs. Truth". It was one of those chain emails that right-wing type folks so often seem to send around. (I assume it’s the same demographic who "learns" about politics by talk-radio, because I never receive any left-slanted chain emails.)

The gist of the email was that all of our oil problems would be solved and that prices would go down by a huge amount if only we’d drill in ANWR. It showed pictures of the tundra, which it labeled a "wasteland" and insinuated that since it wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t valuable to anyone so we might as well drill and what’s the big deal. It also showed a herd of caribou within a couple miles of a drilling facility and a polar bear standing atop the oil pipeline. The inherent message was "see the animals are fine, what’s the problem."

It was your typical diatribe about how "the liberals" are ruining the world, blaming Al Gore for high gas prices, and other emotional rather than fact-based "reasoning". Your typical Rush Limbaugh type of hype—long on hot air, short on facts.

I deleted that email as I usually do with this sort of crap, but something gnawed at me for a couple of days. I couldn’t bare the thought of someone’s opinion actually being swayed but that load of rubbish. I couldn’t bare the thought of more uninformed idiots making political and environmental choices based on this load of hogwash.

Not that I though it would do much good, but I replied with the following email….

 ——————————————————

Sorry I just couldn’t let this load of half-truths and innuendo go by without, as Paul Harvey used to say, "The rest of the story."

 I don’t care to get into a big argument about anything but I can’t bear the thought of people making actual political decisions based on scare tactics from a hyped-up email.

Lies vs. Truth? Hmmmm. I don’t see any facts in that email, just name calling and fear-mongering.

So lets look at some actual facts…

But first, why does this type of crap always have to demonize people and reduce them to a label like "the democrats", "liberals", "greens", etc? There are people with views different than your own obviously. Labeling them and reducing them to a stereotype instead of a real human being makes them easier to hate. That’s the whole reason for it. Anyone who’s intellectually honest knows that regardless of the political/social/economical/ leanings there’s plenty of BS, slant, and lies to go around. To act as if "your side" has all the answers, is perfect, never lies, and has a lock on virtue is completely dishonest and is a disservice to democracy.

We all personally deal with people one on one who think differently than we do and we generally treat them with courtesy and respect. I don’t think most of us walk around all day yelling at people and calling them names do we? Why then do people do it emails? I guess it’s impersonal and if they’re just "a [insert your hated stereotype here]" then they’re not really a human being and so are OK to insult? Maybe I just look at people differently than some folks do…

But since the email demonized the "liberals" and "greens" I’ll assume that it was written from a "conservative" and "republican" point of view and respond accordingly.

Why is ANWR such a political football anyway? The amount of oil there is very small. According to the US Department of Energy, United States Energy Information Administration:

"Additional oil production resulting from the opening of ANWR would be only a small portion of total world oil production, and would likely be offset in part by somewhat lower production outside the United States. The opening of ANWR is projected to have its largest oil price reduction impacts as follows: a reduction in low-sulfur, light crude oil prices of $0.41 per barrel (2006 dollars) in 2026 for the low oil resource case, $0.75 per barrel in 2025 for the mean oil resource case, and $1.44 per barrel in 2027 for the high oil resource case, relative to the reference case."

Wow! Drilling in ANWR would have the huge impact of reducing oil prices by 41 cents a barrel…in 2026! It would take at least 10-15 years to even get the oil fields set up so in only 18 short years from now we could be looking at a savings of 41 cents a barrel! Wow, that awesome. I’m sure that would translate to maybe 1 cent reduction in gas prices.

But again, any oil produced in anwr is at least 10-15 years away anyway. It does nothing to change gas prices today and in 18-20 years from now it’s still only a tiny, tiny, change at all. In other words it’s not worth it financially.

And look, what we’re really seeing here are the last gasp efforts of junkies. Think of a heroin addict. They do more and more desperate things to get their fix. They rob their neighbors, they let their kids go hungry, they prostitute themselves. It’s the same thing now with oil. US oil production peaked in the late 60s to early 70s. World oil production has peaked within the last few years as well. There’s less oil and more people who want it so the price goes up.

Seems to me that republicans/conservatives are always talking about the virtues of the free market, free from the restraints of rules and laws. Well here it is–the free market in action. How do you like it? Was it all that you hoped it would be?

And speaking of the free market, the email mentioned gas taxes and said that Al Gore and the democrats wanted to raise gas prices. Just so you know, the main reason our roads and infrastructure is falling apart is that fuel taxes do not even come close to paying for the costs of building and maintaining roads (which they’re supposed to do). So by the logic of getting rid of government meddling and distorting the markets, fuel taxes would probably need to be raised by 4 or 5 times higher so that they would actually cover it. As much as high gas prices suck, you’ve got to pay for the roads and the fuel taxes are supposed to pay for that. Use the roads more, wear them out more, pay more to fix them. That’s the way it’s supposed to be but fuel taxes have been kept artificially low because of weak political stomachs. The true costs are hidden and that’s not free market.

The point is we’re behaving like desperate junkies. Sure you can keep doing more and more desperate things to get your fix but sooner or later you’ve either got to pull the needle out of your arm or you’re going to die. This all could have been avoided but certain factions and political parties have consistently voted against energy efficiency and alternative forms of energy [read conservatives/republicans]. So US, you’ve got exactly what you voted for. Stop complaining. Or do something about it. Kick the habit!

So then the email went on to show photos of what it termed a "barren wasteland". We don’t even know if those are actual photos of the land in question. Regardless, just because you may not think that it looks "pretty" does not mean it’s a "barren wasteland". I’m sure the animals and plants that live there don’t consider it so. Not to mention the people who have depended on that sort of land to live and hunt for the last 10,000-15,000 years.

Aren’t conservatives always going on about "property rights" and "takings"? Well there are 50 indigenous groups of people who are opposed to drilling in anwr because of the havoc that it would wreak on their lives. So how do you square that? Is it ok for a government "taking" just so some corporation can profit? Yes, believe it or not there are still some people up there who try to live a traditional life which depends on the health of the caribou, the fish, and the land for them to survive. Or would you rather just say screw the land and animals and have the people go on welfare?

The email goes on to act as if they want just this tiny little part of the land, so what’s the big deal right?

OK here’s where they’re already drilling in Alaska

  

Here’s where they’re already allowed to drill on the north slope.
See that tiny piece of land at the top right? That anwr where they want to expand oil drilling.

The point is that drilling is already allowed on 95% of the north slope! All we’re talking about is allowing a mere 5% to go unmolested. Can’t it be OK to just leave a tiny bit alone? Can’t we leave just a bit of land that we don’t rape and pillage? Or is our only value corporate profits? Isn’t there more to life than that? Seems like there are a few choice bible verses that say so. Something about "the love of money…"

Then the email shows caribou and a bear near the oil rigs. So what? Where the hell else are they going to go? That’s where they live. But you can bet that having all of that industrialization is certainly not doing them any good.

Here’s a nice animal photo for you. It’s our national symbol of freedom and liberty being scrubbed of oil from the Exxon Valdez disaster.

 

 

Whoops, here’s a couple of critters that didn’t make it.

 

 Thousands of animals died immediately; the best estimates include 250,000 to as many as 500,000 seabirds, at least 1,000 sea otters, approximately 12 river otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, and 22 orcas, as well as the destruction of billions of salmon and herring eggs.

 Whoops!

 So let’s not forget the ole Exxon Valdez disaster. It’s 20 years later and the area is not even close to recovering.

 Here’s some current data from a USA today article:

According to a study out Feb. 15 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey and Alaskan agencies found that oil levels in the sands around the sound are much the same as they were when tests were done five years ago. The study says oil has seeped down 4 to 10 inches.

Seventeen years ago, scientists predicted that the oil would be long gone by now. "We expected the natural decay rate was 25% a year. But very little of the oil actually disappeared," says Jeffrey Short, a NOAA research chemist. "What’s left is going to be there a long time."

Instead, the researchers estimate, the oil is "weathering" away at a rate of 3% to 4% a year. "It will be readily detectable for decades," Short says.

The herring fisheries collapsed. Salmon have not recovered. So 34,000 fisherman and others have lost their livelihood because of the Valdez disaster. 34,000! So what are they supposed to do? Just screw them too and let them go on welfare?

Yeah, yeah, it could never happen again. Easy for you to say when you don’t live up there and depend on it for your life isn’t it? What’s the risk to you? Out of site out of mind right? If you don’t know them personally then they don’t matter. As long as you get what you want then screw everybody else. That’s the attitude I guess. Never mind that it doesn’t make economic sense. It make good political grist for the mill.

But seriously, passing around those stupid political hack-job emails does no one any good. All it does is stir up resentment and hatred. Don’t base your political or other decisions on crap you read in an email and don’t just forward them along like a robot. Read the facts, inform yourself, separate the fact from the hype, and then make your own decision.

That’s democracy in action regardless of if you’re a liberal or a conservative. That’s what we need–people thinking for themselves based on facts, not emotions and fear.

 —————————————————

The guy who sent me the email was pissed that I responded. I guess he doesn’t like facts that don’t fit into his political leanings. He had no rebuttal of the facts, how could he. Facts are facts. His only response was that he guesses if it would take 10 years to get oil out of ANWR that we should have started drilling 10 years ago. I guess he’s not bothered by the fact that the oil in ANWR might lower gas prices less than a penny a gallon and would screw up one of the last remaining un-raped pieces of land. Wow. Talk about selfish. He’s a good right-wing christian though so I’m sure jesus would agree that harming many for the tiny benefit of a few is ok. I think that’s in the good book somewhere. "Fuck them that may be harmed by thine actions if thou shall save a few shekels."

Most of the people who responded (there were many cc’d on the original email) thanked me for telling the other side of the story. One was an oil man who had worked up on the north slope. He said I was right on and that he agreed that we shouldn’t drill there even though drilling in anwr would bring him more money. One conservative-type said that I had raised some good points "from the liberal perspective". Again, I don’t know how facts can be liberal or conservative, but some folks feel the need to see the world with an "us against them" mentality. Sad. That’s most of the problem right there.

I don’t know if it did any good but I feel better. Hopefully at least a few people dropped their dogma and looked at the facts. I ain’t countin’ on it though…

 

 

Comment on this post below


You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


« HOPE


Stay afraid. It's for your own good.
Signed,
Your Government





No, not that kind of out!
Go ahead. Click it. You know you want to!