Energy Pimps

posted by / Blogs, Editorial / April 30, 2010


By Matt Walker

“The U.S. Department of the Interior protects America’s natural resources and heritage, honors our cultures and tribal communities, and supplies the energy to power our future.”

That’s how the DOI describes itself. But I’ve got a better description: energy pimps. At least for its Mineral Management Service. After all, how else can you describe an organization that actively aims to exploit a fresh piece of coastal ass even as its wore-out, beat up Louisiana hooker is bleeding oil to the tune of 200,000 gallons per day? And when I say exploit. I mean exploit.

I just got back from the MMS meeting in Norfolk, VA over seismic testing — the first round of battles that’ll go down before they get to drilling. Call it the foreplay before getting down to the real rude and crude business.

I heard the Governor of Virginia’s spokesperson open the hearing by calling the Gulf disaster a “setback.” I also heard an oil lobbyist shamelessly urge the MMS to push into the North Atlantic, even as they’re dealing with a spill larger than Rhode Island in the Gulf. But the most salacious “Hey baby” sales pitch of all came from the MMS smooth-talkers themselves.

Not only did they downplay the damage to marine mammals that seismic guns cause, and its effects on commercial fishing. They actually implied that finding oil and gas was only one small reason for exploring. A minor concern. A side note. Number three on a list of weightier issues, like finding out which bathymetry works for wind-farms or finding suitable sand for beach nourishment in case a hurricane rips our coast apart.

And as I watched them grease the room with a mix of promises and fear , it came to me: They’re not just the pimps, they’re the hos. And the johns. Playing whatever role the energy lobbies and companies want — so long as they get paid. The only difference is, when the transaction’s made and the money changes hands, they strut away in their fine fancy suits — while we coastal residents get royally fucked.

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  • Ryan Miller

    Drill here, Drill now, Pay less! Can’t wait for this to happen to a beach in NJ in the near future. No one will want to come down to the “shore” anymore and buy ice cream from my store. Then i can finally realize a dream of mine and forclose on my house.

  • wtf

    Where have you guys been???? JIMMICANE YOUR FROM THE EAST COAST!! You guys sell aLOTTTTTTTT of mags in the GULF!!!!!!Sad it took 10 days to post something. You and surfer have lost a subscriber in 4months…………..

  • scornuelle

    Tory — what’s happening in the Gulf is horrible, but please don’t leave us. If you have to unsubscribe to quell the anger, just cancel Surfer.

  • Jimmicane

    I can’t even begin to describe to you how pissed off I am bout the situation in the gulf. I honestly try not to think about it because it makes me want to kill people.

  • matt walker

    where have we been? let’s see: last april we were screaming at the MMS in NJ. may we were at the white house with obama’s energy czar. and since then, we’ve been posting ‘no drill’ pieces not just here, and in print, but in op-eds from NC to AC. an ISD last june devoted to saying no to drilling. and this is all BEFORE a major catastrophe had to happen. so, sorry if this seems a little late. but trust us: we’ve been on this explosive issue since it first reared it’s ugly, oil-coated, life-taking head. also, note: in the time it took to yell at us, you could’ve emailed your legislators. just thought.
    thanks for reading.

  • andrew

    Atleast they posted something! That’s currently more than any other surf site.

  • matt walker

    not necessarily, true. ESM got something up a few days ago. but thanks for the props. i think once surf spots feel the sting, you’ll see a lot more. more importantly: any gulfcoaster — or any surfer — who wants to help the effort go to:

  • Mik

    hey Jimmicane: didn’t you just post a column in one of the Print Surf Mags saying one of the things you hate about SoCal is the number of Prius’s everywhere??? But suddenly, when the EastCoast/Gulf suffers, you’re an environmentalist? Here’s the bitter pill for all of us who like big 4WDs, or muscle cars, including myself: the reality of the times dictates that we change our views on transportation. Hybrids and electrics ARE the future. Adapt. Go for speed and power on the waves… And save the Earth and its Oceans by respecting its purity.

  • matt vaughan

    this is the best article EVER!!! i couldnt agree more.

    good job guys

  • josh

    The technology is there for better energies and these kinds of things from ever happening but don’t count on seeing it in your lifetime. Captive killer whales killing people, oil rigs fcking our planet people with money are ignorant.

  • Jimmicane

    Mik, I’ve always been against the hybrib car thing because I see it as procrastination. Think about it, they use less gas but the technology is there to make a car that doesn’t run off any oil so why not get that started now? If every car was a hybrid it would help but isn’t there also negative environmental effects of recycling those huge batteries the hybrids have? I’m no expert on this stuff I’m just saying. Also, I don’t claim to be an environmentalist. I think anyone can look at the situation in the gulf and be very pissed off. One more thing, that California list was just for fun because we had an entire magazine devoted to sucking California off and there needed to be an alternate opinion thrown in somewhere.

  • Dru Kiesel

    I live and surf on the Gulf coast of Texas. And it absolutely SUCKS what has happened. But this CONSTANT demonization of the oil companies (and many other industries) really gets on my nerves.
    So the oil companies are out to make a profit. Do you think the owners of this and every other surfing magazine are NOT? Does Al Gore speak for free? Does Michael Moore not make MILLIONS on every movie that he makes? The simple strive for a profit doesn’t make anyone evil.
    Besides, do you think that the oil execs are all gleefully celebrating the catastrophy? It makes them no money when something like this happens. It only brings more costly regulation to their industry. It makes all the sence in the world that they would perform with all precaution.
    And yes, bad things happen. Millions of people die every year in car wrecks. Should we ban driving?
    If there were any mistakes made by any individual in this disaster, they should pay the price that the law demands. But unless you want to be paying 5, 8, $10 a gallon at the gas pump and raise unemployment numbers, we need to continue drilling here in the US. I’m sure the oil industry will learn from this mistake and do it better next time. Just like we all do.

  • matt walker

    the answer to both jimmy and dru’s problem is looking at where drilling continues to make sense (namely the places it’s left a big stinky footprint already) and where it doesn’t, while weaning ourselves off our addiction.
    facts: we consume more oil than any country by far, yet we exported 1.8 billion barrels every day of 2008. so, finding more, won’t make us more energy independent.

    you want that, go for things like wind and solar, which can’t be bottled and shipped (which is why it scared big energy co’s, they make money on the monthly bill); which is why they also like nuclear (nobody’s going to tie a reactor to their house

    now consider this: max out the wind capability off NC, and you can generate 130% of the state’s energy consumption as of 2007. so, now electric cars make sense. because instead of burning coal to generate electricity (which is dirtier than oil) you’re using wind. or, your selling that electricity to surrounding states.

    also, some estimates show there’s enough wind potential off the EC to offset 15% of America’s energy supply.

    but, the biggest way to make a difference is to stop being such energy hogs. average US citizen is twice to three times the energy consumer of other countries like Germany France. and part of the reason is energy companies encourage us to burn as much as possible. in fact, it’s oil industry that’s been fighting fuel standards for more than 50 years. which is why the average car gets shit mileage.

    then, they simultaneously say it’s our duty to find more oil.
    making a profit’s one thing.
    lying to screw the consumer’s another.
    whichshoudl be BP and every other oil company’s motto:
    “we lie to fuck you harder.”
    and if that’s sounds hyperbolic, check the recent ads where they try to tie oil production to making solar panels and wind farms.

  • Steve

    The last resort would have been an acoustic switch. These cheap bastards didn’t want to spend the half million on one. And they don’t want anyone require them to do so. Good thing we have people feeling so sorry for them.

  • matt walker

    this explains a lot:

    “eff Ruch, the head of the public-employee whistleblowing group, said that as in many other regulatory agencies, Obama political appointees in the Interior Department’s notoriously troubled Minerals Management Service (MMS) have not taken enough steps to reverse the anti-environmental and anti-science policies of the Bush years.

    “For the most part, the Obama team is still the Bush team,” Ruch told HuffPost, noting that beyond a thin layer of political appointees, offices like MMS are run by managers who were “promoted during the Bush years — In many instances, promoted for basically violating the law. And from what we can tell, their conduct hasn’t changed.”

    Futhermore, Ruch said, Obama “sees environmental issues as a political bargaining chip.”

    Indeed, Obama’s decision to increase offshore drilling was widely seen as a way of getting some Republican support for the administration’s climate change bill.

    more here:

  • toma

    its crazy and sad to think that its 2010 and the most advanced life forms on the planet can develop a process to extract resources from the ground and have no safety process in place if things go wrong. Maybe the scientists are right, maybe our race is really doomed. I guess I should try to catch some waves before they turn black…

  • Dru Kiesel

    Matt, it is absurd and irresponsible to blame Bush. Obama is president now and has been for over a year. There has been a government contingency plan in case of an oil spill since the ninetys. It is the current administrations’ failure to act on it that allowed the accident to get as big as it has. How long does Obama have to be in office for him to actually take responsibility for something?

  • matt walker

    where did i blame Bush?:
    ” as in many other regulatory agencies, Obama political appointees in the Interior Department’s notoriously troubled Minerals Management Service (MMS) have not taken enough steps to reverse the anti-environmental and anti-science policies of the Bush years.”

    granted, i think W’s worst presidential mistake in recent memory, but i’ve been equally enraged by the current pres on this issue since i met with his energy czar last year and got a pro-drilling line of crap. and i’m even more enraged when i see him ‘double down’ by not admitting that expanding drilling in pristine areas somehow still makes sense.

    and i’m just as pissed at every Dem who cowered and flipped on drilling when gas hit $4 in 2008, just like i blame every Dem who authorized going to War.

    the problem with this country is people treat politics like a team sport. it isn’t. individuals need to vote issue by issue instead of bloc by bloc.

  • matt walker

    oops: i obviously meant:” “double down” by not admitting that expanding drilling makes NO SENSE. (i suck)

  • L*8 dropper

    Dru, great points. Nobody is happy when this mess happens.

  • get what you paid for.

    Yeah Dru! they got you buddy. Oil is god down there and soon it’ll be just you and him. Soon, real soon y’all will be swimmin’ in it. breathin’ it. eating it. wallowing in big money oil heaven. Finally you will get what we paid for.

    but seriously poor oil executives? am i supposed to feel sorry for these millionaire land rapists? you are nuts! They ARE demons. careless demons. if michael moore screws up a movie it doesn’t kill all the fish or ruin miles of beaches and birds and crabs and shrimp and surf and LIFE. And you can quit it with the threats of higher gas prices i just dont care anymore. You’re wrong.

    also its thousands dying in car crashes not millions. wrong about that too. way to try and make a lame point by using a false number. oil exec technique eh?

  • Scott

    I’m here to tell you that the oil spill in the gulf really sucks and all these rich oil companies need to be held responsible. These a-holes are destroying our planet and none of our politicians seem to give a damn. I mean look how long it took our President to take action with the Gulf spill (what a jerk off) This guy should be impeached. I’m so sick and tired of nobody giving a shit about these types of disasters.