In the first 90 days of the George W. Bush administration, Richard the Dick Cheney held a series of secret meetings on the subject of energy policy. Famously (or should I say infamously), the Dick refused to list those who were present and what was discussed, but its well-known that the meetings included more than 100 oil industry officials who drafted a wish list of demands. In all likelihood, those meetings led to almost every single negative event over the past 10 years.
Think I exaggerate? Consider this:
Over that 10 years, our nation has suffered through skyrocketing gas and oil prices. We have engaged in two wars, which interestingly enough have involved two nations considered critical to the oil industry. (Its well-known that Iraq has large oil deposits, and Afghanistan is necessary for the construction of a pipeline to get oil from the Balkans to world markets.) We have seen pressure from the Bush administration to drill for oil in the Atlantic National Wildlife Refuge. We have seen a Republican-led campaign to expand off-shore drilling. And we have seen the oil giant, Halliburton, awarded enormous no-bid government contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq by its former CEO, Richard the Dick Cheney. (Of course, its only coincidence that Halliburton paid the Dick $34 million after he was elected Vice-President.)
Theres another troubling legacy of the Dicks meetings.
An internal investigation of the Minerals Management Service in 2008 described a “culture of substance abuse and promiscuity” by workers at the agency which regulates the oil industry. The investigation by Inspector General Earl E. Devaney found a culture of ethical failure at the MMS royalty collection office in Denver. The report pointed to parties for MMS personnel and energy company representatives. Indeed, the report stated that MMS personnel and oil companies were literally in bed with one another. In addition to the sex, the Inspector General also reported that MMS employees accepted drugs, illegal contracts and gifts, such as ski trips and golf outings from oil representatives.
Even more troubling, the Inspector General reported that the Bush/Cheney gang at MMS showed no remorse when confronted with the accusations. And though they were disciplined, most of those people are still employed by MMS as regulators of energy.
It doesnt take much imagination to see that the current oil gusher and environmental disaster in the Gulf is the direct result of Bush/Cheney policies and appointees. Indeed, just this week, a whistleblower came forward with information detailing a pattern of negligence and falsified tests by BP and other oil giants along with lax oversight by government regulators.
So what are the solutions to this mess? (Of course, there is no solution to the ecological disaster taking place in the Gulf. It will be decades, if not centuries, for the environment to recover.) BP, Halliburton and Transocean should be held accountable for the environmental and economic disaster taking place in the Gulf. Congressional Republicans should immediately release their holds on dozens of Obama appointees. Congress should subpeona Cheney to testify under oath about his energy meetings.
Most important, we all should push our representatives to vote for non-carbon renewable energy.