Oiling up for the Long Game

Frustrated by the lack of subservience by many states, the oil administration is attempting to roll back our Constitutional rights on a number of fronts to advance their “American Energy Dominance” agenda. It has become abundantly clear that quite a few of the land-locked states, and none of the coastal states are interested in the version of American Energy Dominance preferred by the Administration, and thus they are resisting. 

For those of us exasperated by the paralyzed partisan politics in these times, the bi-partisan concordance on states’ opposition to the petro-agenda is refreshing! But this embarrassing evidence of representative democracy has the Administration flummoxed; so by way of various policy shenanigans and “Executive Orders,” they are attempting to whittle away one of the Conservative banner issues, “States Rights.”

In a maneuver most notable to our remit; in mid-March we were given notice that the Administration wanted to “streamline” the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) – an act that has worked successfully since 1972 to “preserve, protect, develop, and where possible, to restore or enhance the resources of the nation’s coastal zone.” The act reconciles federal policies on marine resources under federal jurisdiction with the State’s marine and coastal priorities, requiring the federal government to comply with the state’s coastal management plans – ostensibly to reduce conflicts between the state and national governments.

We submitted our comments and critique of the “Advance Notice of Proposed Ruling” on the CZMA last week. But the Coastal Zone is not the only burr under the Administration’s saddle. It seems that the public is finally sitting up and smelling the coffee (or maybe the methane) and is not interested in pipelines and oil trains running willy-nilly across and through their states – or the prospect of all of the climate disasters that a hydrocarbon future will bring. So states (and their citizens) are blocking these proposals left and right.

Not to be deterred by environmental concerns and uppity activists, the President is signing Presidential Orders to supersede court orders,  greasing the wheels of pipeline and oil train development. In some oil-sympathetic states, Police (on state payrolls) are being hired to deal with these “self-interested terrorists.”

Please don’t get me wrong; I have no objection to my country leading the world in energy development. It’s the “where we’re leading it” part that has me troubled.

When China is assuming leadership in sustainable energy, manufacturing most of the solar panels and wind turbines in the world, and high-speed rail is Western Europe’s answer to freeway and airport clutter, the idea that the US might “lead” in automobile ownership and petrochemical production deeply disappoints.

And while the public is finally starting to understand that the oilmen are not our best friends, the squeeze-play is happening as the global petro-market is shrinking. This is making the oilmen restive; they have been working this petro-dominance angle for 40 years – investing billions of dollars; cornering local, state, and now the federal government, placing their key lobbyists at the head of agencies entrusted to be their regulators, and directing an entire political party – Senators and Representatives alike, to do their bidding. And while at present many of the Executive Orders are stumbling in court, the industry has way too much invested in their strategy to have it blown away by a little national election.

Please stay alert, get involved, and keep your eyes on the horizon. We’ll get through this.

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1 comment for “Oiling up for the Long Game

  1. Rishi Schweig
    May 3, 2019 at 2:53 am

    Love the concept of “lack of subservience.”

    You give meaning to my existence.

    It’s a pity that methane has no fragrance. Let’s work on this

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