The Oklahoman

Obscene Editorial

Image of drilling rig

Obscene profits! Obscene profits! That’s what I say.

The editorial board of The Oklahoman always finds a way to take a serious local issue and turn it into a snarky smack down of anyone that doesn’t agree with its distorted right-wing conception of the universe.

In an April 6 editorial titled “Falling prices continue to take a toll on energy industry in Oklahoma, U.S,” the newspaper pointed out the negative impact of layoffs in the state’s oil and gas industry on the economy because of falling prices. That’s pretty typical stuff.

But this is the way the editorial gets into the issue:

THAT sound you don’t hear right now is the din from oil industry critics kvetching about “obscene profits.”

Funny how this group goes down a rabbit hole when things aren’t rosy for oil and gas producers, when profits are scarce (or nonexistent) and when the industry starts shedding high-paying jobs.

What nonsense. No one has gone down a rabbit hole. Continental Resources Chief Executive Officer Harold Hamm is apparently still worth several billion dollars, and that’s obscene. Once prices rebound, he will be worth billions more. That’s obscene.

It’s obscene because of major income inequality throughout the world, and the terrible impact of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on the environment in Oklahoma and elsewhere. The earthquakes here are probably not going to stop until oil and gas executives, such as Hamm, don’t make billions upon billions of dollars. Did I mention how obscene that is?

What the editorial fails to focus upon is that it’s not the richest executives who are losing their jobs. It’s mostly the men and women doing the geological and physical work of actually extracting the oil and gas from the ground. No one wants these people to lose their jobs in a personal sense. The green movement, of which I’m a member, would like to see a decline in fossil fuel drilling and more renewable energy development, but oil and gas companies are driven by the fact they can make obscene profit when prices are high. Many do so, and then when prices fall, they cut workers. That’s a fact.

What would be NOT obscene is if the oil and gas industry had sensible policies that would limit the impact of the boom and bust cycle, which has defined The Oil Age in the planet’s history.

What would be especially NOT obscene is if the federal government would establish an overall sensible, long-term energy policy that still encouraged the development for now of fossil fuels but also encouraged the development of renewable energy sources.

Let’s face it: The burning of fossil fuels has done much damage to our planet, which faces a global warming crisis. On the local level, the fracking process has been blamed for the huge surge in earthquakes, which is undoubtedly taking its toll on our buildings and infrastructure.

Billionaires like Hamm make billions of dollars off the wreckage.