Common Dreams - February 27, 2022
Putin’s tanks had barely crossed the border into Ukraine before the American Petroleum Institute (API) was out on Twitter attempting to exploit the crisis. Without even a word of solidarity for the people of Ukraine, API launched into a set of four demands for the White House, all of which would benefit the industry while providing no help to Europe or Ukraine.
We saw API and their allies in the GOP use the same playbook during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, when they issued a long list of demands for the Trump administration, who was all too happy to turn the pandemic relief package into a multi-billion dollar handout to Big Oil.
This time, we can’t let them get away with it. That starts with loudly and publicly debunking their arguments, and then pivoting to our own, real solutions to the energy issues surrounding the conflict and the ongoing climate emergency.
First, API called on the White House to release permits for more drilling on federal lands. This is absurd. Nearly 13 million acres of public lands are already leased for oil and gas development and the industry has stockpiled thousands of unused leases they bought at rock bottom prices. The reason the industry wants more land isn’t to rush oil and gas to Ukraine, but so they can claim more reserves and inflate their perceived value. It’s a land grab pure and simple.
Second, since polluting on land isn’t enough when you can also pollute on water, API called on the White House to issue a new five-year offshore leasing plan. The Biden administration already made the mistake of holding the largest offshore lease sale in U.S. history, but a judge threw it out because it lacked any meaningful climate analysis. Either way, it’s never enough for Big Oil: they want a guarantee that they’ll keep being able to expand in the Gulf of Mexico and beyond. How a five-year plan could possibly have any relevance to an immediate conflict is a mystery, but of course that isn’t really the point.
Third, API demanded that the administration accelerate energy infrastructure permitting. This, of course, is the industry’s answer to everything: when in doubt, build more pipelines. The energy infrastructure API is talking about isn’t the solar panels and wind turbines that could help free us from our dependence on fossil fuels, but the pipelines, refineries, and export facilities that will only deepen our addiction. API likes to pretend that more infrastructure will allow the U.S. to somehow flood the global market with enough oil and gas that Putin won’t sell any of his, but that’s not how markets work. As long as the world is still reliant on fossil fuels, money will be flowing into the Putin regime. ...
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