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Monday, March 13, 2006

Oily history

Alexander Cockburn explains the history of how the oil on government lands has been practically given to the big oil companies since the 1970's. He also mentions why you should think at least twice before donating to some of those "environmental" groups:
By the mid-90s the oil industry no longer had any effective foes arguing for public control. Senators like Abourezk and Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio had gone. The public interest groups were successfully unplugged during Clinton time and the credibility of proposals for public control of the nation's energy resources undermined by years of neo-liberal derision coming from groups like the NRDC (National Resources Defense Council) and the Environmental Defense Fund which saw higher prices as the key to conservation, and which thus helped launch Enron on the world.

(NRDC went to bat for Enron during its takeover of Oregon's Portland General Electric in the mid to late 90s. NRDC's Ralph Cavanagh testified to Oregon's Public Utilities Commission, saying he was in favor of the Enron take-over, that he had worked with Enron for ten years and trusted the company. Cavanagh also went to bat for Enron in California. His testimony was decisive in undercutting the protests against Enron by local citizen groups. For its part, EDF was the first major environmental group to endorse "market approaches" and deregulation.)