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Wednesday, 15 November 2006 00:00

Bush continues to “Dance with the one that brung ‘ya”

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“Dance with the one that brung ‘ya” is an old Texas mantra, and Texas oilman George W. Bush has filled the Beltway with dancing partners over the last six years.

The Texas two-step continues.

 

Bush recently tagged past ExxonMobile head Lee Raymond, who chairs the National Petroleum Council (NPC), to oversee the Global Oil and Gas Study. The study is designed to provide the administration with recommendations regarding the direction of the country’s long-term energy policy. The Department of Energy maintains that the study would assess the potential contribution of conservation, efficiency, alternative energy and technological advances to determine the potential impact of alternative energies that are plentiful, affordable, reliable and transportable.

However, according to an October 2005 letter from DOE secretary Samuel Bodman to Raymond, the scope of the project appears much narrower — basically, how can we keep and/or increase fossil fuel production for the next 20 or 30 years?

In the letter, Bodman asks the NPC to address “key questions.”

“What does the future hold for global oil and natural gas supply?

“Can incremental oil and natural gas supply increases be brought on-line, on time, and at a reasonable price to meet future demand without jeopardizing economic growth?

“What oil and gas supply strategies and/or demand side strategies does the Council recommend the U.S. pursue to ensure greater economic stability and prosperity?”

If the Bush Administration was sincerely interested in a global study concerning all the implications and consequences — economic, environmental and geopolitical — of fossil fuel production and consumption, perhaps a less biased, more diverse body of investigators could be given the baton. Some environmental organizations have suggested the National Academy of Sciences.

However, if the administration is looking for a chair and an organization that eschews the effects of fossil fuels on global warming and deems alternative energy as not cost effective and is in lock step with Cheney’s Energy Task Force on issues like drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, they’ve got a winner.

According to environmental organizations protesting Raymond’s appointment, Exxon spent more than $19 million under his leadership to fund groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute to try to discredit the science regarding global warming. Exxon has contributed more than $1.6 million to CEI since 1998. CEI counsel Sam Kazman noted that what attracted Exxon to the organization was CEI’s position on global warming — which is that the dangers of global warming are akin to an alien invasion.

Raymond was quoted in a June 2005 Wall Street Journal piece as stating, “It’s yet to be shown how much of this [global warming] is really related to the activities of man.”

Exxon, under Raymond, has continually denounced alternative energy as “uneconomical,” and while some energy companies have backed away from drilling in ANWR, Exxon has stayed the course.

Exxon has donated more than $180 million to political candidates since 1989 with more than 86 percent of it going to Republicans.

ExxonMobile contributed more than $1 million to Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign and spent more than $7.56 million lobbying in 2004.

Rosin up the bow, boys.

(Don Hendershot can e reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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