Drilling

Letter | It’s the environmentalists that spout off-shore drilling propaganda

June 1, 2014 

Re: May 16 letter from Terry Munson, "Don't be misled by pro-drilling propaganda"

Pro-drilling propaganda? What, if not enviro-alarmist, disaster propaganda was the entire point of Mr. Munson's screed?

Let's address the most excessive propaganda points Munson makes.

"Billions in corporate profits:" Of course the profits are in billions, oil companies deal in commodities and distribute billions of gallons of products each year to satisfy market demand. However, the average profit margin for Exxon, for example, is just 8.26 percent, which equals about 8 cents per gallon. Apple, for contrast, earns a margin of about 24 percent.

But for the real gouge on a gallon of gas, government taxes, at a breathtaking national average of 50 cents a gallon, make corporate profits look penny ante. Additionally, our government collects royalties on every barrel of oil pumped on federal land -- $86 million a day at present. So government itself has much more to gain from drilling offshore than any oil company.

"A moderate to large oil spill will make houses 'unmarketable:'" Possibly, but you at least would still have a place to live until the market recovered — which it would. On the other hand, a Hurricane Hugo-sized storm directly impacting the South Carolina coast would do far more damage than just making your house unmarketable — in all likelihood you wouldn't have a house to market, period.

Just which type of disaster is more likely is pure conjecture, but considering both puts some perspective on which would be the most catastrophic.

"Only oil companies would realize significant revenues:" Just a glance at the government take from current oil revenues above puts the lie to this statement. The organization with the most revenue to gain from offshore drilling is non other than the Federal government — with states a close second.

"No amount of oil produced off the SC coast will cut our energy costs:" If Mr. Munson is able to repeal the economic Law of Scarcity this could become reality. Unfortunately, however, whenever the supply of any commodity substantially increases it always results in reduced market prices — unless government(s) intervenes to manipulate supply and production. Barring any such intervention increased oil production will always result in a lower market price, assuming all other economic factors remain the same.

"Offshore drilling guarantees no jobs for SC workers:." Of course not. There are no guarantees in life except for death and taxes. But in North Dakota, now experiencing a boom in oil production from new recovery technology, the unemployment rate is just 2.6 percent.

Whether the same thing would happen in South Carolina is conjecture, but just the North Dakota example suggests real (not phantom) employment growth opportunities from offshore drilling.

"Job losses, business devaluations and bad publicity:" Pure speculation of the type decried by Munson when issued by those favoring offshore drilling. Predicting exact numbers and zero valuations is pure pie-in-the-sky projection, as is the writer's basic premise — that there will be a catastrophic oil spill if offshore drilling for oil is ever permitted.

Yes, we all should be contacting our elected representatives — to demand that exploration for oil off our coast begin just a quickly as possible. Without new sources of domestic energy, tourism, as we know it will become just a quaint anachronism. And that's not propaganda.

The writer lives in Conway.

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