Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Madam Foxx Is Short-Sighted

NC-5 Congresswoman Virginia Foxx wants to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil-drilling. She talks lusciously about “10 billion barrels” of oil under one of the last pristine wildernesses on the face of the globe ... without also mentioning that the U.S. Geological Service says the oil in ANWR would supply less than a year of our current consumption.

Never you mind, says Madam Foxx, because that ANWR oil would miraculously solve two current problems, the high cost of gasoline and the high cost of food. Why? Because so much corn is being diverted to make ethanol, and with ANWR oil, corn production could be returned to the food chain ... thus lowering the price of snacks, and with the increased domestic oil, gasoline prices would also surely plunge. Thus speaketh the Foxx.

What a tool of Big Oil the congresswoman is! (Democracy Now of the High Country has more chapter & verse on that.) Foxx’s amazing ability to see multiple salvations in a proposed new oil patch causes us to recall that she could also detect no steroid usage by Roger Clemens just from gazing on some blown-up photos of him.

Instead of turning American ingenuity to the task of making us oil-free, or at least less oil-dependent, Foxx’s solution is to make us MORE dependent, and destructively so. I understand that just 60 miles west of ANWR is Prudhoe Bay, a great environmental lesson in what oil production has done to another part of the Arctic Wilderness. Prudhoe Bay is now a humongous oil complex, 1,000 square miles of sprawling industrial hyper-activity containing 1,500 miles of roads and pipelines, 1,400 producing wells, three jetports, mountains of sewage sludge, scrap metal, garbage, and more than 60 contaminated waste sites containing acids, lead, pesticides, solvents, and diesel fuel.

Foxx ignores Prudhoe Bay. She wants her constituents to believe that exploiting the oil in ANWR will mean little more than a fingernail scratch on the earth. And anyway, western North Carolinians, it’s not in your backyard! Who cares about a few million birds, or polar bears, grizzlies, Arctic wolves, caribou and the mammoth-like survivor of the last Ice Age known as the shaggy musk ox? Who the fudge cares? Not Madam Foxx and not those of her constituents with equally poor sight for the future.

ANWR has become such an object of lust not because of the great amount of oil there but because of the precedent it would set. Privatizing of public lands for the benefit of mega-corps is the real goal here, and Madam Foxx ain’t been nothing but an enthusiastic cheerleader for privatization, turning over public assets to corporate bidders. Clear-cutting “The Globe” below Blowing Rock is just one more example of her willingness to turn everything precious into somebody’s momentary profit.

Opening up ANWR is not the half of it. Foxx also talks lasciviously about the oil in “deep sea waters” off our coasts. Some of our national parks contain pockets of natural gas and precious minerals. There’s all that timber in our national forests. Let’s take it all, folks! And surely the price of toilet paper will plummet.

It’s frankly embarrassing that our representative in Congress offers no leadership that isn’t retrograde and heavily tetched with greed. It’s appalling that instead of trying to help us get to a position of less dependence on oil she is willing to sacrifice very fragile public lands valued for their wildness and make us MORE dependent on oil in the process. She would evidently burn the house down to bake a potato.

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