They’ve Never Liked the Oil Industry

The incoming administration’s cancellation of the Keystone pipeline and its ideas on rolling back leasing on federal land signals its desire to act on climate change. But its assault on the oil industry is nothing new. In a letter to its shareholders dated 19 November 1970, Vulcan’s President, H.G. Warrington, noted the following:

Incomplete platform, Gulf of Mexico, November 1966

You have no doubt seen in the press reports of so-called ecological disasters happening in the Gulf of Mexico involving the oil industry. These occurrences in the past year have all but brought offshore construction to a standstill, and correspondingly our sales to these customers. The impact on sales and profits is substantial. There is however a bright spot in the overall picture. On December 15, 1970, in New Orleans, Louisiana, there will be the first wildcat offshore lease sale since June, 1968. It is hoped that this sale will signal the resumption of full scale operations in the Gulf of Mexico, and be a tangible stimulus to our business.

This is long before the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was identified as a problem. (The problem is not in identification, it’s in the ineffectual solutions that are proposed.) It is because fossil fuels have been the fuels for the engine of bourgeois prosperity, and that has been distasteful for many in this country, both during our last national nervous breakdown and this one as well.

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