Oil and gas companies have long been huge donors to political campaigns. Since 1990, 81% of the money donated by oil and gas companies to politicians and parties has gone to Republicans. In the 2016 election cycle alone, oil and gas industries contributed almost $100 million, with 88% of that going directly to Republicans. Lobbying totals spent by these companies are astounding. Just in 2017 (a non election year) oil and gas giants have spent nearly $125 million.
Why would these companies unload such massive amounts of their funds into investing in politics? Are they in such big financial trouble that they desperately need rescuing via government intervention? Are we really in that desperate of a situation?
Oil executives (and Republican politicians) paint a dire picture of the current state of affairs in U.S. energy markets:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2017
But the reality is much different. Actual facts don’t back up the narrative of an oil and gas industry in need of being unleashed. Take for example U.S. oil production:
As you can see, domestic oil production began to soar between 2011 and 2015, long before Trump was in office to strip environmental regulations. Speaking about the current oil and gas market as under fire and worthy of sacrificing the environment to save is disingenuous. It’s clear then that attempts to reduce regulations in an effort to increase oil production is not worth the environmental cost (that the energy industry has long tried to suppress).
New Jersey Foils Trump Drilling Plans
The State of New Jersey is standing up for the environment and directly challenging Trump’s fixation on “unleashing” dangerous drilling rigs on its coast. The Democratic governor of New Jersey signed a landmark bill today:
‘The bipartisan bill that Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Friday prohibits drilling in the three miles of ocean water along the state’s coastline.’
But New Jersey law makers didn’t stop there. They threw a huge roadblock in front of oil companies looking to drill in the federally-controlled waters further off their coast:
‘The state cannot ban drilling in federal waters, but the law also prohibits the state from issuing any permits and approvals to allow any facility or infrastructure related to drilling to be built in New Jersey — including pipelines and docks.’
In his official statement, Gov. Murphy was very clear:
‘We simply cannot allow the danger of drilling off our coast. The societal, economic and environmental costs would be detrimental to the overall quality of life for our residents.’
These wells are potential environmental disasters. Look at what would have happened if the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill had affected New Jersey instead of the Gulf Coast:
8 years ago today the #DeepwaterDisaster killed 11 workers and spilled 210 million gallons of crude oil, marring beaches and fisheries across the Gulf. Now Trump wants more dangerous drilling from coast to coast. New Jersey's coastal economy is too important to risk. pic.twitter.com/yLQxAO5qcQ
— CAP Action (@CAPAction) April 20, 2018
Increased drilling also means increased reliance on energy sources that are unquestionably warming our planet at great cost to the environment. New Jersey stands to loose three feet of elevation to rising seas by the end of the century.
Featured image: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty