Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Frantic Conclusion of An Administration of Greed

Senator Ken Salazar injects some wisdom into the debate over energy policy with this editorial, and he reveals a simple grain of truth--the Bush Administration isn't interested in sound energy policy. It's only interested in making sure it can hand out freebies before they are driven from office in shame. This is the last gasp of a administration of greed and incompetence, trying to give their friends a few of the crumbs still left on the table.

According to Senator Salazar, the lure of quick profits from oil shale deposits has been with us for decades:

Bush and his fellow oil shale boosters claim that if only Western communities would stand aside, energy companies could begin extracting more than 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil from domestic shale deposits. If only the federal government immediately offered even more public lands for development, the technology to extract oil from rock would suddenly ripen, oil supplies would rise and gas prices would fall.

If only.

Since the 19th century, we in the West have been trying to extract oil from the vast oil shale riches that lie under our feet. It is no easy task, and past efforts have failed miserably. Commercial oil shale development would require not only immense financial investments but also an undetermined quantity of (scarce) water from the Colorado River basin and the construction of several multibillion-dollar power plants.

Sometimes it seems that we are getting close to overcoming these barriers. But each time we near a boom, we bust. The last bust, the infamous "Black Sunday" of 1982, left Western communities holding the bill long after the speculators, Beltway boosters and energy companies had taken off.

Sound familiar? The defense establishment has been paid off with a profitable war. Enron and MCI Worldcom got theirs and left everyone holding the bill. The environmental laws have been gutted to let the polluters have a free pass. The mortage industry got their handout and we're seeing that bailout happen before our eyes. Halliburton isn't through getting your money. The developers are getting theirs in New Orleans in the form of football condos for Alabama football boosters. The oil companies are going to get their offshore drilling rights, come hell or high water. The treasury is busted wide open and the vault is long empty. The rich have their tax cuts. The cronies are already out of the administration and raking in the dollars at whatever wingnut welfare job they could get before the dam bursts and releases tens of thousands of ideologically driven Bushies back into the real world. Who's left to get theirs? Fat young Republicans who haven't quite gotten out of college yet must be salivating at the ridiculous notion of a McCain Presidency--if they don't get in on all of this handout action soon, they're going to actually have to find jobs, and no one is prepared for that outcome.

Be prepared for the sickening final spectacle of the last Republican being dragged out of the building feet first, engorged and bloated, screaming for the last handout as the grease runs from his chin and the money falls out of his pockets.


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