By Jon Christian Ryter
May 24, 2005
The sky is falling. Fossil fuel emissions cause global warming. Worse yet, there is no Santa Claus. And, worst of all isn't the myth about Santa Claus or the Easter bunny. Worse are ecoalarmist Congressmen and Senators who actually believe that the sky is falling, and that the greenhouse gases that are behind global warming may also be the primary catalyst in precipitating a new ice age. Why are they worse? Because they have the power to create "corrective" legislation that will ultimately be harmful to the people and to the economy of the United States.
Like most things Congress does, the cure is always worse than the disease. The myth was used over the last decade to manipulate the price of oil by forcing the closure of over 3/4th of the nation's oil refineries over the past two decades as the demand for more gasoline increased nationwide. During the Bush-41 and Clinton years, most of the refineries owned by the nation's second and third tier oil companies were forced by costly EPA regulations to cease operations. Further compounding the supply and demand dilemma is a myriad of environmentalist State laws that mandate octane and emissions standards different than other States; or, that the gasoline sold some States must contain a certain percentage of ethanol. Or that it must contain a greater or lower amount of some type of oxygenate to raise the octane or lower the pollution. Based on the reality of supply and demand, tight supply mandates higher prices even if there is ample crude oil available for refining—which there is at the present time, even with the growing demand for oil from the emerging economies. The crude oil storage tanks at every refinery in the United States are full.
The Standard Oil alliance of oil moguls knows a couple of things about oil that you should know. First, oil is a non-replenishable commodity. When its gone, its gone. Second, because of the efforts of the emerging New World Order to develop the impoverished countries with our jobs in order to create tomorrow's consumer, demand for oil for commercial and consumer use in the third world is skyrocketing far beyond the ability of the existing oil industry to produce and refine it. The only alternative is to find other forms of fuel—and modes of transportation that burn something other than fossil fuels in something other than a traditional internal combustion engine.
Currently, hydrogen fuel cell engines are being developed by DaimlerChrysler AG in Stuttgart-Mohringen, Germany; Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Michigan; General Motors in Detroit, Michigan; Honda Motor Company Ltd in Tokyo, Japan; PSA Peugeot Citroen in Paris, France; Renault-Nissan Alliance, Paris/Tokyo; and Toyota Motor Corporation in Toyota City, Japan. Hydrogen, a highly flammable element, is also the most abundant chemical element in the universe. Hydrogen will ultimately propel all standard modes of ground transportation cars, trucks, taxis, buses and even trains. However, the technology has not advanced sufficiently to "mass produce" hydrogen cars on an assembly line. Nor are there enough hydrogen filling stations in the United States to accommodate any demand. Hydrogen is primarily used in fleet vehicles simply because the fleet vehicles have a "home base" since you can't drive down to the corner for a fill-up.
Refueling is the single biggest drawback to the transition from fossil fuel to vehicles powered by ethanol, biodiesel, or hydrogen. To date, there are only 300 biofuel stations in the United States. The biofuels industries (biofuel [grain] and biodiesel [oil seeds and animal fat]) grew out of economic and environmental fear. In 1999 the biodiesel industry sold 500 thousand gallons of soy-derived fuel. Last year it sold 30 million gallons.
When Congress mandated the removal of lead from gasoline in 1979, it required the oil industry to reformulate gasoline by oxygenating it. The precise oxygenation devise was left to the industry. In the mid-1970s Shell Oil and Atlantic Richfield [ARCO] experimentied with an oxygenate to increase the octane of gasoline and to help it burn hotter with less exhaust. The oxygenate chosen by ARCO was methyl tertiary butyl ether [MTBE]. Shell Oil and Exxon discovered in 1985 that MTBE greatly reduced air pollution.
When the EPA adopted the regulations of the Clean Air Act of 1990, MTBE became the yardstick the government used to determine compliance with the RFG program. The decision was based on the likelihood that MTBE would be the most widely used oxygenate in the world. Congress mandated that gasoline contain at least 2.7% oxygen by weight. When Congress ordered the EPA to write the regulations that would deliver the greatest reduction in volatility and toxic air emissions under Clean Air Act standards (42 USC ? 7545[k]), the legislative record makes it clear that Congress intended gasoline refiners to use MTBE to comply with the RFG program.
As Congress began to debate a provision in the 2005 energy bill that would grant the oil industry immunity from MTBE lawsuits, 62 cities filed actions against 47 oil companies that included every American gasoline brand. The new class action lawsuit, filed by Barton & Budd of Dallas, Texas, alleges that the oil industry knew or should have known that [a] MTBE was a carcinogenic and [b] that methyl tertiary butyl ether was escaping into the atmosphere and seeping through gasoline storage tanks into the soil and ultimately, into our drinking water, and that the oil industry did little or nothing to stop the practice.
Senate Democrats vigorously opposed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 for two reasons. First, the trial lawyers were opposed to it. Baron & Budd and the 14 other toxic tort law firms involved in the MTBE litigation are convinced they will share a hundred billion dollar windfall when Standard Oil and the Seven Sisters are forced to settle to avoid trial. Second, the environmentalists on the House and Senate Energy Committees who are opposed to drilling in ANWR are also opposed to sending an energy bill containing anything but alternative energy solutions to the president for his signature. Finally, the anti-big business liberals want the oil industry exposed to liability even though Congress specifically mandated that an oxygenate be added to gasoline in whatever levels were necessary to reduce air pollution. In the least, it makes Congress culpable. At best, it makes them responsible.
Republicans countered that since the oil industry was required by law to use the additive MTBE, it is only fair that the industry be held immune from lawsuits seeking recovery for damages. For that reason, the proposed Energy Policy Act of 2005 contained a provision that made the federal government liable for cleanups (with a fund provided by the oil companies). Since consumers cannot sue the federal government, the Energy Policy Act would potentially cost the trial lawyers hundreds of billions of dollars in fees.
The Democrats conceded that even though the oil industry was required to add oxygenates to gasoline, the Clean Air Act of 1990 only required that gasoline contain 2.7% oxygen by weight. However, to achieve 2.7% oxygen, gasoline producers had to add MTBE in concentrations of 15% by volume. Thus every liter of gasoline actually contained 150mL MTBE (EPA, 1998). The Democrats argue that since the law only required 2.7% and the industry used 15%, they should be liable, and that the Democrats were prepared to filibuster any energy bill that offers immunity from lawsuits for the oil industry.
The argument of the toxic tort law firms is that because MTBE is a carcinogenic, thousands if not millions of people risk getting kidney cancer from exposure to MTBE through groundwater wells and perhaps even though municipal water systems; and that the oil industry should be forced to establish an escrow account containing trillions of dollars to cover this calamity when it surfaces 20 to 50 years from now.
While former California Gov. Gray Davis banned MTBE in gasoline sold in the State in 1998 because the State legislature ruled that it was a carcinogenic, the DHHS and the CDC insist it is not. There is no evidence that MTBE causes cancer in humans even though rats breathing high levels of MTBE for long periods may contract kidney cancer. Another study with mice found that breathing high levels of MTBE for long periods may cause liver cancer. Of course, a myriad of studies have shown that just about anything in large enough doses will have adverse affects on someone or something, rather a lab rat, a guinea pig or a person. However, no federal agency has ever classified MTBE is a carcinogenic in people.
The MTBE toxic tort lawyers found no trouble linking the rat test to humans and made a fantastic but illusionary leap to tie the rat research to their clients. Cancer is the magic word that word automatically quadruples the size of any compensatory judgment and multiplies tenfold to a hundredfold the value of any punitive damages awarded by a jury. When the plaintiff of such an action is the richest interlocking corporation in the world it is only logical to believe that the judgment awarded to the defendants of such a lawsuit would total not millions or billions, but trillions of dollars. The law firm that successfully prosecuted such a lawsuit would earn fees in the hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars.
While the oil industry was required to by law to add an oxygenate to gasoline, its clear to anyone who knows how lobbyists work inside the DC beltway, and how much power Standard Oil and the banks it controls has in Congress. Not much happens in Washington, DC that Standard Oil or the Rockefeller Foundation doesn't want to happen. The MTBE provision was inserted in the Clean Air Act of 1990 because the Seven Sisters wanted it there. Should the oil industry be immune from liability for the cleanup of MTBE? No. Should the oil industry be immune from lawsuits for claims by anyone who injured by MTBE? No. Should any part of the cost of the cleanup be assessed to the taxpayers of the United States? No.
Clearly, just as David Rockefeller was convinced in 1962 that the world would be so overpopulated by 2000 that half the people would be starving to death and the other half would be killing each other for whatever food was left, he was equally persuaded that fossil fuels were responsible for the greenhouse gases that people of the ecoalarmist ilk believed was converting the world into a large atrium where, over the next decade or two, ground temperatures will melt the polar caps and cause the sea level portions of all the nations of the Earth to flood, killing millions, destroying food sources and ultimately triggering a new ice age. Yes, the sky is falling. The oil giants, who control the wealth of the world, can afford the cleanup and should pay for it. They caused it because they promulgated the global warming myth that brought about the MTBE mandate.
Republicans in particular House Majority Leader Tom DeLay [R-TX] and
W.J. Billy Tauzin [R-LA], Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce
Committee and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist [R-TN] and Senate Energy
and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici [R-NM] need to
jerk the MTBE immunity clause out of the energy bill and stop playing
politics with the finances of the American people. We need ANWR opened
for drilling. And, not only do we need a fuel source for the 21st century
other than Muslim-owned or Seven Sisters-controlled petroleum, we need
an alternate fuel that the major oil companies are banned, by law, from
owning or controlling. Then, who knows twenty years from now Post, General
Mills and Kellogg's could be the new fuel barons and the "tiger" in
your tank just might be Tony.
© 2005 Jon C. Ryter - All Rights Reserved
Order Jon Ryter's book "Whatever Happened to America?"
Jon Christian Ryter is the pseudonym of a former newspaper reporter with the Parkersburg, WV Sentinel. He authored a syndicated newspaper column, Answers From The Bible, from the mid-1970s until 1985. Answers From The Bible was read weekly in many suburban markets in the United States.
Today, Jon is an advertising executive with the Washington Times. His website, www.jonchristianryter.com has helped him establish a network of mid-to senior-level Washington insiders who now provide him with a steady stream of material for use both in his books and in the investigative reports that are found on his website.
...David Rockefeller was convinced in 1962 that the world would be so overpopulated by 2000 that half the people would be starving to death and the other half would be killing each other for whatever food was left...