Is This A Satanic Bill From Republicans In Congress?
Christian literalists warn to be on the lookout for anything that incorporates the number 666, because “666 is the number, or name, of the wild beast with seven heads and ten horns that comes out of the sea.” You may be thinking, “What beast with seven heads and ten horns that comes out of the sea? I’ve been to the sea many times and never seen such a thing.”
Could it be that you’re just not thinking big enough, not looking at things in the right way?
Just think about it: What’s really beastly that comes out of the sea? Crude oil is pumped out of the sea, and kills ocean life when it’s spilled, as it was in massive amounts in 2010 in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that lasted for over 7 weeks.
It just so happens that, right now, in the U.S. House of Representatives, there is a piece of legislation with the number H.R. 666. The bill, introduced by Congressman Joe Barton of Texas, would bring to an end the current partial ban on exports of fossil fuels.
Is it really just a coincidence that this bill has the number 666? Well… yes. I can’t keep up this tone of the breathless End Times conspiracy theorist. Yes, it’s just a coincidence, because there is no Beast, and 666 is just a number. There’s nothing at all satanic about Joe Barton’s legislation…
… but it is truly awful legislation, in a completely secular, non-mystical kind of way.
Representative Joe Barton’s legislation would end the partial ban on the exports of fossil fuels that is currently in place. The ban was put into place because of phony oil industry propaganda that encouraged fear of “dependence on foreign oil” in order to gain support for the elimination of environmental and safety regulations on offshore oil drilling. Only if we would “Drill Baby Drill” everywhere possible, the oil industry said, could we lower gasoline prices. The thing was, at the very same time that Big Oil claimed that there wasn’t enough oil being produced domestically for Americans, oil companies were shipping massive amounts of American oil overseas.
Now, Joe Barton and his oil company allies want to take America back to this bait-and-switch routine. They’re saying that oil drilling companies just aren’t motivated enough to drill for oil any more, because the export ban means that they can only sell their petroleum products to Americans – and why would anyone want to do that, right? So, they reason, if the partial export ban is dismantled, oil drilling companies will want to drill for oil again (presumably they’re now just sitting around and knitting sweaters), and gasoline prices will fall because of a new glut in petroleum on the global market.
Is this scenario plausible?
A recent study by the National Economic Research Associates concluded that gasoline prices in the US “could decline by $0.09 per gallon in 2015 if the ban is lifted entirely,” but then again, gasoline prices might not decline at all. Other studies find that the potential theoretical benefit reduced gasoline prices might be as low as between one and two cents per gallon – if it materializes at all.
These are not the kinds of savings that are going to provide any significant economic benefit to American family. On the optimistic side, if gasoline prices are reduced by 9 pennies per gallon, an American would have to burn through 11,111 gallons to save just one thousand dollars. On the lower end of the estimate, 1.5 pennies saved per gallon, an American would have to burn through 66,666 gallons to save one thousand dollars. (Oh, look. There’s that number 666 again. Have at it, conspiracy theorists.)
One gallon is equivalent to .13368 cubic feet. So, 66,666 gallons equals 8911.9 cubic feet. That means that every American household would have to burn enough gasoline to completely fill a single story house measuring 20 feet by 50 feet, plus a little bit more.
Of course, even this massive burnoff of gasoline would only provide a guaranteed economic benefit if we really knew for sure that eliminating the partial export ban on fossil fuels would really reduce gasoline prices at all. The studies that Big Oil cites to justify the elimination of the export ban all acknowledge that there might be no reduction in gasoline prices at all. Theoretically, gasoline prices could increase after a lifting of the export ban.
So, according to the scenario of the National Economic Research Associates, we would have to pump a huge amount of carbon dioxide into the air, along with other pollutants, year after year, in order to see just a small economic benefit for American drivers. The NERA estimates that lifting the partial export ban on fossil fuels would result in an additional 1.5 million barrels every day being pumped out of the ground. That means 1.5 million more barrels of oil being burned every day, accelerating global warming when we’re supposed to be trying to slow it down.
The National Economic Research Associates didn’t factor the economic impact of climate change into their study. Research by Frank Ackerman And Elizabeth A. Stanton of Tufts University predicts an annual national damage by effects of climate change of 1.4 percent of US GDP in ten years from now, if carbon emissions such as those created by burning fossil fuels are not reduced. That’s an economic drain of more than 235 billion dollars every year.
One group in the U.S. economy would surely benefit from lifting the partial export ban on fossil fuels, however: The fossil fuels industry.
It just so happens that the fossil fuels industry is the biggest financial contributor to Joe Barton’s political career, followed by the electrical power industry, which is dependent upon fossil fuels as well. This connection may not be diabolical, but it is certainly no coincidence.