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The Bi-Partisan Politics of Oil

Shortly after John Kerry sewed up the delegates needed to seize the Democratic nomination for president, he huddled for two hours with James Hoffa, Jr., the boss of the Teamsters union. The topic was oil. The Teamsters wanted more of it at cheaper prices. They had suspicions about Kerry. After all, the senator had already won the backing of the Sierra Club, who touted him as the most environmentally enlightened member of the US Senate.

Hoffa emerged from the meeting sporting a shark-like grin. Hoffa and the Teamsters have long pushed for opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling and for the construction of a natural gas pipeline to cut across some of the wildest land in North America from the tundra of Alaska to Chicago. “Kerry says, look, I am against drilling in ANWR, but I am going to put that pipeline in, and we're going to drill like never before”, Hoffa reported. "They are going to drill all over, according to him. And he says, we're going to be drilling all over the United States”. Kerry didn’t stop to comment. He slipped out the door and into a waiting SUV.

Oil’s Republicans

The Bush administration has been aptly pegged as a petroarchy. It isn’t so much under the sway of Big Oil as it is infested top to bottom with oil operatives, starting with the president and vice president. Eight cabinet members and the National Security Advisor came directly from executive jobs in the oil industry, as did 32 other Bush-appointed officials in the Office of Management and Budget, Pentagon, State Department, and the departments of Energy, Agriculture and, most crucially in terms of opening up what remains of the American wilderness to the drillers, Interior.

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For the complete story, see the original article on the CounterPunch website.

Editorial Notes: "Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature. This essay is excerpted from Dime's Worth of Difference: Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils, which he coedited with Alexander Cockburn." -BA

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