Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bad Gas

I wish I could say that I'd boycott Exxon, ChevronTexaco and the like, but there isn't anywhere to buy gas these days that isn't associated with the major oil companies who are currently destroying the Amazon.

ChevronTexaco has thousands of miles of pipeline running through the Amazon yet the supposed maintainance and inspections hardly happen. They have run-off areas that end up sitting around, as you can see in the first picture. From the caption attached to said picture, this pool of crude has been sitting for years without a second glance.

Many children are born with physical and/or mental disabilties, both men and women are being diagnosed with cancer at what would be alarming rates here in the U.S. (think Pacific Bell). They shouldn't bathe or wash their clothes in the rivers, but don't have a choice because it's their only source of water.

The residents of the various towns say ChevronTexaco has a health clinic so they would be able to see doctors, but ultimately the company doesn't want to admit (openly) they are doing anything wrong so dismiss all of these abnormalities as the fault of heredity, malnutrition, etc.

Thankfully, the indigenous peoples (various Amazonian tribes) realized the contamination and lack of responsibility was a crime and filed suit against Texaco, Inc. in 2003.

It's not surprising that Texaco, Inc. would have a different take of this problem, claiming they've spent lots of money - over $25billion - inside Ecuador between 1972 and 1993 that perhaps the locals should remember that before they start complaining. (Which, if you read their story, they acknowledge it took 9 years for the group to even get themselves a legal hearing. Gee, I wonder where that $25billion went, eh?)

I stopped reading when I got to the heading, "Colonizing the Amazon Basin" on the 3rd page. Gloriously clean pictures and happy employees can be found before that; a direct contradiction to what I've seen and not just by the Amazon Watch website.

Amnesty International has been in on the fight for years now, concerned for the indigenous people's who called the Amazon home long before oil companies figured out there was money to be made there.

As can be expected, the legal proceedings have been tied up in the courts and thus far nothing has been resolved. Not even close.

This kind of thing only succeeds in pissing me off more because, as Thomas Friedman said in his NYT's op-ed piece last week while Krugman was on vacation,

Living green is not for sissies. Sticking with oil, and basically saying that a country that can double the speed of microchips every 18 months is somehow incapable of innovating its way to energy independence - that is for sissies, defeatists and people whoare ready to see American values eroded at home and abroad.

I've blogged about our ability to come up with alternative fuels before. I've also noted that hybrid cars are quickly becoming the hot item. It's what I will be investing in when it's my turn to finally purchase a brand new car.

Friedman then goes on to claim that the biggest problem plaguing American values is Petrolism.

Petrolism is my term for the corrupting, antidemocratic governing practices - in oil states fromRussia to Nigeria and Iran - that result from a long run of$60-a-barrel oil. Petrolism is the politics of using oil income to buyoff one's citizens with subsidies and government jobs, using oil andgas exports to intimidate or buy off one's enemies, and using oilprofits to build up one's internal security forces and army to keeponeself ensconced in power, without any transparency or checks andbalances.
It's true. Instead of getting the U.S. off our dependency on oil, which would be a smart move for more than one reason, our administration lobby's to drill in ANWR or off the Virginia coast, which experts have admitted would only provide us with enough oil to begin replacing some of our imports after 10 years. For crips sake, I've got Virginia Biodiesel less than an hour away from my house so getting off oil is entirely plausible and reachable.

Friedman then goes on to say that we Americans suffer from "energy gluttony." I love that phrase, mostly because gluttony is one of those 7 deadly sins fundamentalists are always talking about.

Because we love our oil, we help support such communist countries as led by Castro. Remember how Katrina and Rite wiped out our oil refineries in the Gulf, thus creating an increase in gas prices? Not to mention the fact how opposed to communist regime's we're supposed to be.

I will step off my soap box now and go back to trying to find a oil company that I can truly stand behind and believe in. I know, I know, that's wishful thinking and it might take me a few years or 10.