Monday, July 19, 2010

Big Oil Mouthpiece

Offshore drilling proponents, undeterred by the evidence that all of their previous claims about drilling safety were completely wrong, continue to push for deepwater drilling in the very region that is struggling to survive the current spill.

Joseph R. Mason, Louisiana State University Chair of Banking, and a highly respected puppet of the oil industry, has just put out a paper claiming that the temporary moratorium on deepwater drilling the Obama administration put in place last week will cost the United States $2.8 billion in economic activity.

While Mason works full time for LSU, the questionable report in question is funded by the American Energy Alliance, on of R?S? favorite polluter front groups. AEA President Thomas Pyle is a powerful lobbyist for Big Oil and a former staffer of Tom Delay. Pyle and AEA have invested in pro-drilling reports like this in the past, and have gotten the misinformation they paid for.

When looking at the bloated estimate of the cost of the moratorium, it is important to remember that Secretary Salazar did not put a temporary moratorium in place as a jobs stimulus plan. He did so because it was his responsibility to only allow drilling if it can be demonstrated to meet minimum safety and environmental standards. If rig owners cannot demonstrate that they can drill without endangering their workers and causing greater damage to the Gulf ecosystem, then they simply should not be allowed to drill.

Mason conveniently ignores worker safety and the environment, or "externalities," when coming up with his sum. Mason's argument is that $2 billion in economic activity is enough to justify an industry's practices. So what if they nearly destroyed the Gulf through negligence, greed, and incompetence? That was, like, one time! (FYI it was one BIG time and a bunch of smaller spills). I suppose Joseph Mason would be just as eager to advocate for drug trafficking because it provides high paying jobs.

Big Oil will likely be using their front groups like AEA to tout this paper in the next couple of weeks as they continue to try to deflect attention and fail to take real responsibility for what they have done.

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