Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Singled Out

WASHINGTON (AP) — Big Oil is once again being called on the carpet. Senior executives of the five largest U.S. oil companies were to appear before a congressional committee Tuesday where they were likely to find frustrated lawmakers in no mood for small talk.

This article was filed an hour ago.
First off, I love tenses. Here, the future is not certain. "Were to appear." Because it will have happened (or not) by the time this article is read by most, but hasn't yet, and can't be counted on. My children were to have gotten up. My class was to have been taught. It's a little dizzying, too, isn't it. The sun was to have arisen... And refreshing -- the polar bears were to become extinct... It lends the option of reading in the present tense what didn't happen... also the reality that whatever we think could be wrong.

Anyway --

The oil companies are being called in to defend their government subsidies.

"The lawmakers were scheduled to hear from top executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Shell Oil Co., BP America Inc., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips, which together earned about $123 billion last year because of soaring oil and gasoline prices.

Markey, chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said he wants to know why, with such profits, the oil industry is steadfastly fighting to keep $18 billion in tax breaks, stretched over 10 years."

Industry leaders say the tax breaks are needed to continue exploration and development. Also, of course, it is said implied that the price of gas will skyrocket if the breaks are lifted...

I always believed that -- that gas prices stayed low because of subsidies. But what if that's not true -- what if gas prices in this country are low because that's the nature of supply and demand -- we have a really big country, and people have to cover a lot of distances -- if the price of gas were a lot higher maybe there would have been a push for public transportation years ago. Just as the technology for the 100 mpg car exists -- and the electric car...

Maybe it's not the pocket change billions the oil companies are fighting for, but keeping the money out of the research of alternative fuels...

It's all speculation. I'm feeling speculative today.

In the article, Bush says that oil companies shouldn't be singled out.
Bush says he'll veto the bill whatever the outcome.

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