Jerry Waters, Contributor
If you say, “Drill, baby drill” around a Republican, it appears to have the same effect as an illegal, highly addictive aphrodisiac that’s almost as potent as, “I dig coal”. Conservatives were elated when Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords and downright giddy as his administration took a wrecking ball to environmental regulations that were designed to keep us safe.
Although the world has made monumental strides in developing and producing a multitude of clean energy sources, the Republicans insist on prolonging their dirty affair with oil and fossil fuels for as long as possible. No matter how many pipelines burst an d pollute drinking water or supertankers spill millions of gallons of toxins into the sea, they truly believe that oil and coal are the fuels of our future.
Recently, the Trump administration announced that it intended to open most US coastal waterways for expansive oil drilling, except for Florida. The new policy doesn’t care if the drilling takes place near endangered species or fragile ecosystems. Yet, it seems that drilling off Florida’s coast could be a bigly distraction to Trump’s weekly, tax-payer funded golf game, so that was quickly nixed. Other states are applying for the same exemption as Florida, but it depends on whether they are red or blue and how much they are willing to kiss Trump’s ass.
The big question, though, is do we need more off-shore drilling?
The short answer is “No.”
Right now, US oil production is at an all-time high while demand has remained fairly steady. Prices are low. Also, the Trump administration let the oil-spill clean-up tax expire and have no plans for renewing it, which is a huge financial boon to oil companies as supply exceeds demand. Fracking has turned out to be cheap and profitable. Under Trump, they can now get away with polluting, creating flammable tap-water, and causing earthquakes to their heart’s content.
It’s 15 to 20 times cheaper for US oil companies to drill or frack on land than it is to for them to do off-shore drilling. Even with the stunningly stupid roll-back of drilling safety regulations, there’s not a good business case for increased off-shore drilling. They just want to have that option for the day that they are in direct competition with clean, renewable energy. They want to get every dime possible out of the fossil fuel infrastructure they’ve spent decades creating before it becomes wholly obsolete. Who cares if a few people or some fish die in the process? It’s all about the money, baby.
“Drill, baby, drill” is the ancillary to Trump’s Golden Rule- “Whoever has the gold, makes the rules.” It’s why he put his nefarious minion, Zinke, in charge of the Interior Department. Zinke has flip-flopped on most major environmental issues, but he’s clearly a Trumper today. He has lifted bans on trophy hunting imports, rescinded the ban on bullets that cause lead contamination, and reduced national monuments.
In the spirit of Roy Moore, Zinke rode a horse to his swearing-in. Even better, when he’s not chartering private jets at tax-payer expense, he demands that The Flag of The Secretary of the Interior be flown after a small ceremony whenever he is in the building. I promise, I’m not making this stuff up!
Zinke is hell-bent on destroying our public lands and water-ways to ensure that big business can exploit them any way they see fit. Besides, now that he’s raised the price of admission to most parks, you can’t afford to go there anyway.
His love of the “Drill, baby, drill” mantra isn’t necessarily practical, but it’s brazenly political. Zinke wants big business to know that he’s got their back and that he’s not going to let something like a protected or endangered species get in the way of making a few bucks. I mean, fuck the Greater Sage-Grouse, really!
So,with all of Trump’s focus on eliminating safety regulations, and pesky Greater Sage-Grouses, for Big Oil, what could possibly go wrong?
I’m sure Zinke has the stable, genius answer and will point us to that over-used scripture that he has marked with a Post-It in his Bible about “Man having dominion over the earth” while he’s loading his gun to kill some big game animal to decapitate and put on his office wall.
By the way, that Flag of The Secretary of the Interior better be flying when he comes back to the office with his new trophy, or there’s going to be some serious Hell to pay!