Offshore Drilling: All Trick, No Treat

This Halloween the oil industry is enjoying all the treats while we endure their tricks.

Fueled by sky-high oil prices over the summer, Exxon Mobil broke its own eye-popping records by raking in nearly $15 billion in profits.   Third quarter earnings for the oil giant rose 58% over the same period last year.  Other oil companies also enjoyed their biggest profits ever due to the rise in gas prices.

Despite its goodies, Big Oil still craves more sweet crude.  And the industry sees America's pristine shores as one big candy store.

As if this weren't scary enough, industry's favorite hobgoblin himself -- Newt Gingrich -- is coming to town today to promote his new book: Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less.  

At a book forum sponsored by the right-wing "think" tank American Enterprise Institute here in D.C., Newt will shill for Shell...and Exxon...and Chevron...and BP...etc.  This is how AEI is billing his pitch:

"Gingrich warns that the pinch at the pump felt by Americans today is not temporary but rather indicative of another looming crisis, which affects not only the price of gas, but the price of food, our economy, and our national security. He thus proposes to tap the talents of the country's scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs; to require Congress to unlock our oil reserves; and to remove all the disincentives and impediments to American energy independence created by unnecessary government regulation."


Despite the recent dip in gas prices, it's only a matter of time before they go up again -- oil, after all, is a finite resource that is rapidly running out.  No amount of new offshore drilling is going to satisfy the world's growing demand for the fossil fuel.  Moreover, it's a needless risk -- to our environment and coastal economies -- at a time when there are better solutions to provide efficient, clean energy for America.

Although few are falling for Big Oil's big lie that more drilling will reduce gas prices any time soon -- and everyone seems to agree that the U.S. needs to break its addiction to oil -- many people unfortunately still see drilling as a stop-gap measure while we transition the country to a clean, renewable energy future.  

But the fact is that quitting oil is possible and it is possible now.  More drilling will only prolong our addiction, because the longer we wait the harder and more expensive it will be to make the changes that are necessary.

Indeed, opening protected offshore areas to drilling would only make things worse.  It offers risk without any real rewards.  Offshore rigs have a history of oil spills; and if we let the big oil companies drill in new areas they can sell it to the highest bidder, anywhere in the world.  We don't need to risk permanent damage to our beaches so the oil companies can make even more profit selling oil to China and India.  This just prolongs our dependence on oil and will not lower gas prices. 

Instead of trying to drill our way out of this problem, we need to act now to become less dependent on oil.  We can move away from dependence on oil by making renewables and energy efficiency a reality now.  The longer we wait the harder and more expensive it will be to make the changes that are necessary. 

We need to improve energy efficiency as well as invest in renewable energy and new energy technology.  We need more choices for energy efficient cars, and ways to make our houses and offices more energy efficient.  Where it will work, we need more choices for ways to get around, like buses and trains.  We need to build our communities so people have more transportation choices.  

Can we do this?  Yes, we can! 

Americans are resourceful, innovative people, and we can do it together.  Let's start today with energy policies that work for our families and communities. 

So, this Halloween, ignore the scary tricks from Big Oil and its political chronies, and focus on the treats that are in store for all of us as we move America beyond oil.