272. DRILL OR DIE
Much of the original push for peak oil awareness came from environmentalists and people concerned with sustainability -- Richard Heinberg being the classic example. These green activists see peak oil as the long-awaited corrective event which will destroy industrial civilization, and bring humans back into a state of harmony with nature.
To make this argument work, they have tirelessly argued for three key premises:
1) We desperately need oil, and without it we will die.
2) Alternatives can't fill the gap.
3) Immediate government action is necessary because the market is incapable of coping with peak oil.
This was a huge strategic blunder, as we will soon see in Phase II of peak oil. Heinberg and his fellow travelers have inadvertently created a Frankenstein's monster, and now it is going to turn on them. The status quo will now co-opt the three peak oil premises, and use them to destroy everything environmentalists have fought for over the last 35 years.
An early manifestation of this process is the new right wing website Drill or Die. The site has a slick design, but is pretty amateurish as a piece of propaganda. It has lots of flaws: turgid writing, blatant pro-Israel bias, frothing hatred of environmentalists and muslims, and transparent pandering about the "poor". But the approach is clever, and we can expect the right wing and big business to repackage this message in a more palatable form and sell it to the public.
Here's the message in a nutshell: If we're all going to die without oil, then the only rational response is drill or die. We have to immediately drill ANWR and the OCS (Outer Continental Shelf), and gut every environmental regulation standing in the way of Exxon. We must do this because -- as the peak oilers have informed us over and over again -- oil isn't optional, and without it we're going to die. The only other possibility would be to conserve and switch to alternatives, but yet again, the peak oilers have done Exxon's dirty work, and conveniently assembled books full of arguments demonstrating why alternatives can't substitute for oil. In fact, the whole middle section of the Drill or Die Manifesto was cribbed from The Party's Over. Solar? Won't work. Windmills? Snort. Biomass? Ha! Conservation? Pfft. Nope, none of those options will scale, so the only answer is oil and gas. Ergo we must Drill or Die. To top it all off, the Drill or Die reactionaries steal another idea from the peak oiler play book. The market won't be able to respond in time, and we need to do something NOW! So the President must declare a state of emergency, and wage war on the environmentalists who are standing in the way of our access to oil.
What you end up with is a plan like the Hirsch Report on steroids. Here's the summary from the Drill or Die Manifesto:
The President shall declare a state of emergency, and decree by Executive Order the following "mitigation" program:
1. Permit the lease of land and sea areas to U.S. entities, on a bidding basis. Said leases are to be awarded within four months of this declaration to U.S. oil and gas companies for the extraction of oil and/or gas at ANWAR and in other areas under U.S. jurisdiction.So, there you go peak oil greenies. You wanted the government to do something, and they're going to do something alright. The status quo is going to hijack all your talking points, and twist them around to justify the biggest corporate pork project in the history of mankind. Exxon and Halliburton will send you a "Thank You" note.
2. Launch a project to bring the oil and gas from the leased areas to U.S. consumers in the shortest time, and build facilities to process and distribute their derivatives to U.S. consumers. It is now too late to keep the cost of oil and gas from causing extra hardships to our people, but we can reverse this trend within 18 months from the date of this declaration.
3. Announce a project to add at least 20 more refineries to those we now posses to produce gasoline, as well as diesel fuel, and fuel and products for other applications. Within 30 days of this declaration, create a committee to select sites where the refineries will be located with the least inconvenience to our citizens. Selection of these sites shall be finished within 3-months of the date of this declaration, and work to start construction of the new refineries shall begin within three weeks thereafter. That work shall be carried out by private companies willing to fund and own these facilities, with a U.S. government guarantee that they will not be closed due to pressure by the greens, and if a later administration cancels this authorization, the U.S. government shall reimburse the private companies for all their costs of these facilities. If no private companies are willing to perform such construction, start construction of the refineries by the U.S. government, for ownership and operation by the U.S. government. Such work shall not be sabotaged by greens, or by any person or entity they may employ to enforce their will. We are now at war and, as in World War II, must not obstruct the construction of vital national facilities.
4. Announce a project to build at least 500 extra nuclear power plants of the newest, safest design, to add to the 103 we already have in operation. Assure the owners of these plants that they will not be shut down due to pressure by the greens, and if a later administration revokes this promise, provide the owners of these plants with a U.S. government guarantee to reimburse them all their costs for these facilities. Under these conditions, induce U.S. companies to start construction of 20 new nuclear power plants within 6 months of this declaration and, at least, 80 additional plants each year thereafter, until all 500 extra nuclear plants are under construction or are already under operation.
5. Announce a project to reopen or construct facilities to recycle residues from nuclear power plants under the same conditions and with the same U.S. government guarantees as provided for nuclear power plants described in paragraph 4 above. Work to start this project is to begin within 6 months of this declaration, and shall be finished within 3 years thereafter.
6. Close our borders to persons who try to enter the U.S. by illegal means. Most of them are seeking work in the U.S., but some may well be terrorists who plan to do us grievous harm. Treat all persons who try to enter the U.S. illegally, or who may already be here by illegal means, as law-breakers and, if suspected to be terrorists, prosecute them to the full extent of the law as ununiformed enemy guerillas.
7. Work with states to create democratically elected committees in U.S. cities and counties to expose and counter the abuse of power by sham environmentalists and government officials who help them. Members of these committees are to take legal steps to prevent such abuses, and hold those who inflict them financially and/or criminally responsible to their victims. (Source: Drill or Die Manifesto, P. 68-69)
-- by JD