Victory lap

The Department of the Interior’s much ballyhooed decision about whether or not to let Shell Oil try drilling (again) in the Arctic is expected any day now. That decision wasn’t supposed to be made until after the final comment period ended, which was this past Monday. And yet, Shell knew, nearly a month ago, that it was a safe bet to start moving it’s drilling rig towards the Chukchi Sea all the way from the Philippines. And these guys weren’t just going on a hunch. Moving the Polar Pioneer takes Herculean effort and expense as it has to be perched atop an even heavier vessel (the Blue Marlin).

Here is an article about it in Fuel Fix:

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You have to give Greenpeace credit for both knowing how the game is played and still playing along with this charade. While their little boat was trailing the monstrously large Blue Marlin, Greenpeace’s corporate office was busy putting together a lengthy document arguing that such drilling shouldn’t be permitted in the first place. Funny how the right wing media always accuses environmentalists of being angry all the time. Who can blame us?

This industry not only has the “inside track” on what happens in our government, but they own the road that the track is situated on. They a) do not play by the rules, b) yet they expect environmentalists and concerned citizens to abide by the same rules they ignore or else they’ll be sued into the next epoch, c) even if they lose a few every now and then, it doesn’t matter in the least because they’ve already gone around the backside of the whole thing and made out like bandits anyway. 

What lessons should be learned from the “wash-rinse-repeat” victory march perfected by the fossil fuel industry? As I’ve written in the past:

  1. This is not a “polite” battle. This is a life or death WAR;

  2. Until environmentalists and decent people alike begin adopting and using the fossil fuel “playbook,” which was borrowed from the tobacco industry, we are going to keep losing. Which means that increasingly aggressive, dangerous and harmful extractive activities will proceed, virtually unchecked, until these huge corporations decide for themselves that they’re done, and its time to move to the next (harmful) endeavor. Instead of merely reacting, we need to be proactive. As one of my favorite strategists wrote, “To know your enemy, you must become your enemy,” (Sun Tzu);

  3. Precious time (literally decades) have been squandered and lost by policymakers and the fossil fuel companies who KNEW we had a major climate problem looming ahead, and yet, did nothing. Not only was nothing done at a time when gradual, painless changes could have been made, but emissions since then have SOARED, with Big Gas & Oil imbedding themselves accordingly in academia, the media and governments around the world. Also during this period, many Big Green movements tried cooperating with the fossil fuel industry, thinking that change could be achieved by working within that broken system. This “strategy” failed miserably, and in some mind-blowing cases, environmental groups actually started drilling for oil themselves! The lesson in point #3 is that no one should believe for one second that the fossil fuel industry will “go down” quietly and peacefully. It is a vicious, illicit corporate culture hell bent on profit seeking at all costs. If you think differently, just look up Niger Delta and Shell Oil. People are being murdered for oil conglomerates as I write this. And read, “This Changes Everything, ” by Naomi Klein for a deeper perspective.

  4. Environmentalists need to stop thanking and congratulating and pandering to any politician, Barack Obama included, who sporadically makes the right decision on some environmental decision or another. I probably got 10 emails from environmental movements after Obama vetoed Keystone XL, asking me to thank him. NO WAY. First of all, it was a no brainer from the start, secondly, it was dragged out for over 6 years, with ridiculous amounts of time and money WASTED while thousands of miles of equally bad pipeline were laid throughout the country. Third, it wasn’t enough. Not even close to “enough,” and to accept such paltry crumbs is demeaning, ineffective and weak. As William James said, “Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.”

  5. We expect so very little from our elected officials. Why?