There was a post on CBSnews.com about “big oil” asking the government for help against climate change. I immediately thought that this was a good intentioned, but rather sensational headline to pull in readers. Surely the hubris of the oil empire couldn’t be this blatant. Evidently, Texas has proposed a plan to build a levee and concrete “spine” which will act as a barrier during extreme storms and rising waters.
This proposal aims to protect the southern border of Texas near Louisiana.
This specific area, in an unbelievably random coincidence, happens to produce 30% of the nation’s oil. Also, because irony is dead:
“Texas is seeking at least $12 billion for the full coastal spine, with nearly all of it coming from public funds. Last month, the government fast-tracked an initial $3.9 billion for three separate, smaller storm barrier projects that would specifically protect oil facilities.”
And a further bludgeoning of the dead horse of irony:
“Normally outspoken critics of federal spending, Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz both backed using taxpayer funds to fortify the oil facilities’ protections and the Texas coast. Cruz called it “a tremendous step forward.”
It is important to provide a counter-point here, lest I be accused of being a rabid, frothy mouthed environmentalist. Energy security is important for a lot of what keeps the country going. A substantial shock to our oil production may lead to a 1970’s scenario of oil shortages and a minor recession. I am not an oil supply expert however, I am simply giving a charitable argument as to why protecting oil production could be so important.
If we take this as a given, fine, protecting our energy infrastructure is an important goal for the US government. That is completely beside the point of why I, and clearly CBSNews call this out as the height of hubris. Oil has been a significant contributor to climate change, and now the oil companies themselves would like the public to pay for their consequences.
GOP representatives like Cruz and Cornyn do not believe climate change to be a threat. Cruz has been quoted saying ” The data are mixed” on climate change. If true, one wonders why now Texas is asking for protection against rising waters and severe storms. Why is this a worsening problem now, rather than 100 years ago, or 100 years from now? The hypocrisy is that climate change is causing incipient catastrophe and Cruz can absolutely not admit it while on the other hand approving spending to guard against it. That’s crazy right?
The final point I want to make is this. The money requested is public funds. Rather than the first priority being, you know, the public, meaning people’s homes and communities, the first project to get fast tracked was the oil facilities. If anything, these oil companies should be taking money from their own profits, contributing to the guard infrastructure, and making the people that live there a priority. They did contribute to this mess did they not? Instead, we have a scenario on the other extreme, another classic case of US corporations privatizing profits and socializing losses. This time, those losses stand to be potentially much more serious than a bad quarter of income.
Information about the post’s featured image, Following The Leaders can be found here.