Don't Blame the Environmentalists for High Oil Costs

Elizabeth MacDonald
OK, let's see, scientists say there are big oil reserves off the Gulf Coast, as well as off the coasts of California and in Alaska.

So why is it that there aren't more refineries there to pump out more oil? Is it because pesky Martin Sheen is strapping himself to a refinery gate?

No, it's because the oil companies are disgusting slobs. Almost 14,000 oil spills occur each year, and guess who often pays the tab? Taxpayers, as state and federal officials have to pitch in to clean up. Even the U.S. Coast Guard has to parachute in to help (which pulls them away from protecting U.S. borders from terrorist attacks).

Even industry cronies over at the Environmental Protection Agency can't avoid fining oil companies. BP, one of the companies that wants to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve, was fined $22 million in civil and criminal penalties for illegally dumping hazardous waste in Alaska in 1999. It also spilled 400,000 gallons of oil in 1990 off Huntington Beach, the second largest spill in California history.

And don't forget that Exxon spent $2.2 billion to clean up after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound in Alaska. The area has never been the same.

So don't blame high-energy costs on environmentalists. Blame the oil slobs. Blame the crooked Middle East oil gangsters who pull oil out of the ground at a cheap, say, $2 a barrel, only to gouge the world at $50+ a barrel.

Blame the insanely rich despots over at the Central Bank of Oil, Saudi Arabia, who finger wag us to increase our refining capacity while they pocket tons of money that they could spend instead on upgrading their creaky refineries (while Islamofascists there blame the U.S. for all their problems as their people live in squalor).

Oh and let's see, there's now a new energy bill that, despite its rich subsidies to the energy industry, actually increases America's reliance on foreign oil, with no effect on high prices.

Some of that money may end up going toward alternative fuels, which one can only hope will work so the world can get off of its dependence on the hornet's nest that is the Middle East, a dependence that only enhances the region's self-importance. But, once again, a lot of effort and taxpayer money may be wasted here finding usable alternative fuels, with little to show for it. Kind of like how we created Tang by inventing the space program.

This weekend our Business Block has much more on high oil and gas prices. Tune in Saturday 10am — noon ET.

Elizabeth MacDonald is a senior editor at "Forbes" magazine and a regular panelist on "Forbes on FOX."