I wanted to open today’s post discussing oil prices, the approval of the Keystone, Jr. pipeline and the Republican attacks on Obama, blaming him for rising oil prices.
The president does not control oil prices. Oil prices are determined by oil speculators on Wall Street, oil reserves (which help to manipulate prices) and the World Texas Intermediate (WTI).
I attended school in Oklahoma last year and worked for the Oklahoman. Oklahoma is a beautiful state with friendly people (unless you’re tailgating next to them at football games…), but a place with a lot of political ties to big oil and money, essentially putting money over the well-being of its people.
Now don’t take me wrong, I absolutely love Oklahoma. I quickly grew attached to the state after visiting the OKC Bombing memorial and attending the Oklahoma City Thunder games. I love the simple life that most people live and the relaxing atmosphere of the outdoor environment. I respect the drive, the entrepreneurial spirit and hardworking nature most people possess. Oklahoma has great food, the best beer I’ve ever tasted and a surprisingly diverse music and art scene.
But I’m also the state’s biggest critic because I believe the overemphasis on oil, money and business over the welfare of the people and the environment will ruin the things that make the state a great place to live.
While the state remains statistically ranked in the bottom in areas concerning overall health, the incarceration of women, education, affluence, and obesity, the state is ranked high in economic independence and energy reserves/exports. Oklahoma is a natural gas and crude oil haven.
Here are some quick stats when it comes to Oklahoma’s energy:
- 3rd-largest producer of natural gas, 5th-largest producer of crude oil, 2nd-greatest number of active drilling rigs
- 94% of its energy usage is from non-renewable energy (2009).
- It’s energy costs are the 8th lowest in the country
- 8 1/2% of the nation’s natural gas supply is in Oklahoma
- Devon Energy Corporation, Chesapeake Energy, Sandridge Energy Corporation are the largest private oil-based companies in the nation
- All of the state’s Fortune 500 companies are energy related
Similarly, Cushing, Oklahoma holds 5 to 10% of the US’ crude oil reserves. It has been a fairly accurate gauge of the WTI on oil. Lehman Brothers came out with a study in 2007, noting that it was no longer an accurate gauge because of a refinery shutdown. They also claimed that the oil reserves depressed oil prices, but this of course should be understood with caution because Lehman Brothers is now defunct due to utterly abysmal, financial incompetence.
I love Oklahoma, but damn. This oil stranglehold is getting ridiculous. It limits competition and increases the barrier to entry for alternative energy that is more environmentally friendly. I mean look at the Devon Tower that will own the skyline. It’s like a huge, erect penis that overlooks the city with its undeniable dominance.
Keystone, Jr. Pipeline
Despite the election rhetoric we’ve heard, NYTimes columnist Thomas Friedman explains how the US is the closer to energy independence its been in 20 years, Republicans continue to push forward in blaming Obama for rising oil prices.
Even though Congress continues to solely focus on this project (and vastly overstate the amount of jobs this would create) and the Obama administration have agreed to the building of the US portion of the project, the unsupported attacks from the right continue. Congress and big oil are so far gone that even Republican candidates like Newt Gingrich are running on the ludicrous idea that if elected, Gingrich will lower the price of has to $2.50.
But here’s where the proponents of the pipeline really lack sense: This pipeline would connect to the Texas oil refineries which export oil overseas. So in the end, the oil is not even guaranteed to be of much use to American consumers.
Is there really any doubt that the Keystone XL pipeline (which is expected to be finished by 2015) would benefit anyone other than oil crusaders?
I talk about Oklahoma because this is a key piece to the Keystone XL pipeline. Don’t think for a second that Oklahoma politicians aren’t pushing hard for this to be built as soon as possible. Their concerns have nothing to do with energy independence for American consumers. It’s solely about money and political dominance.
Oklahoma and Texas have been hot beds for US oil extraction for years, but it hasn’t led to lower gas prices. I don’t see how building the pipeline would make the situation any different.
From the Land Run of 1889 to the War in Iraq and the Deep Horizon oil spill, oil has been an unnecessary evil in America. This is not to say that we shouldn’t have oil companies at all, but the extent of their reach and influence on politics and the environment is incomparable.
This grip that oil exerts over our politics puts people’s private property (this is why House Republicans are fighting against the Supreme Court’s 2005 ruling on eminent domain), the environment, alternative energy companies and our sovereignty at risk.
And people still claim Obama and his administration are a communist coup?