We are finally beginning to see a little national news coverage, but cities like Charlotte, Atlanta, Greenville, Birmingham– and all spaces in between– are eyebrow-deep in a two-week-old gas shortage that doesn’t seem to have an end, even though our elected officials continue to tell us gas is on the way.
Thursday, I drove an hour to find a gas station that had gasoline. I don’t mean I drove around in circles all over town, I mean I chose a highway and drove down that highway, passing numerous stations what were completely out of gasoline, for an hour until I found one station– way out in the country– that had gas. You know what else they had? Lines. Really long lines.
At the same time, Congress lifts a 26-year-old off-shore drilling ban, even though energy experts report it will take 10 years to even begin drilling, another 10-15 years to extract oil… oh, and that they’re working with 30-year-old studies.
Randa Fahmy Hudome, a lobbyist for Libia who is married to a McCain advisor and who just so happens to be an energy expert who served as associate deputy secretary of energy in the current Bush White House, said these very things in an interview with MSNBC Sunday. She thinks there is an argument to be made for the psychological affect the ban-lift will have.
Meaning: maybe the oil companies will feel so much better about the future of drilling, and sustaining their trillion dollar profits (no kidding), that they’ll drop prices. Right.
Why aren’t we focusing on alternative fuel? Congress knows lifting the off-shore drilling ban is bogus– oil companies already have access to plenty of places in America where they are free to drill as much as they please, yet they aren’t; they don’t have the refining capacity, so says Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) in a recent interview on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.
Rep. Slaughter: “The biggest issue here that has gotten almost no currency at all is that every president since Bush 41 has extended the moratorium on offshore drilling except his son this year, George W., lifted it this summer, as you know, which means it expires on the 30th of September. And at that point, anybody can drill anywhere they want to, offshore for three miles. We are not going to – obviously can’t renew that moratorium. And so maybe we can next year.
“But right now, we want to make sure that there will be no drilling unless a state opts in. The state has to say by legislation that it will do it and it has to be 50 to 100 miles offshore. Now, let me tell you, I’m a crowd of one that believes this. I understand that. But I don’t believe anybody wants to drill anywhere. I can tell you that throughout this entire debate, I never heard from an oil company saying, “For heaven’s sake, let us drill.” I don’t think they’re going to do it.
“They claim they have no bits, they have no drills and we know we’re at refining capacity. I would bet you anything – if my husband would let me, I’d bet my house and lot that there will be no drilling. Even T. Boone Pickens says this is the silliest idea there was. And British Petroleum – God bless them – has been saying for over a year now that this is not the way to go.”
So, why the big deal about offshore drilling? Why is Congress lifting the ban? Votes. It’s all about politics, of course. The folks in Washington heard the “drill, baby, drill” mantra and took it to heart, or, well, took it to mean that if they didn’t vote for offshore drilling their voter base might chant something else, like “Vote for the other candidate!”
Meanwhile, gas lines are longer than ever here in Charlotte– assuming you can find a station with gas and the national media is largely ignoring the problem. But, we can drill offshore now. I wonder how long the lines will be in 25 years?