And now the call is for us to think that exporting U.S. crude oil is in our best interests. Right. As one who survived the oil embargo and gas shortages of the 1970s, I find the rhetoric absurd, and familiar. The long lines at gas stations then were used to argue for “energy independence,” a mantra used by almost every politician in almost every campaign since, and thus Arctic drilling and the Alaska pipeline came to be, as well as the ban on exporting crude. Now, mission accomplished? Evidently, the economics have suddenly transformed and the extraction of a U.S. natural resource to fuel our economic competitors is in our best interests. Independence?
In the 1980s, we saw a similar movement and rhetoric to export whole logs to Asian markets that was at first restricted “to keep jobs in America” in the milling and wood products industries. My, how we forget.
Shall we discuss coal? Liquid natural gas? The jobs that these economies create in the U.S. are in the cleanup industry: dealing with oil spills, clear-cuts and deserted mine residues. Now if we could just offshore these ill effects, we might have something. Or perhaps we could just offshore Congress?