Salt water intrusion from coastal canals dredged to support oil and gas infrastructure accelerated Louisiana coastal loss by one thousand years. One thousand years! But don't dare blame Big Oil-- not even a little bit! And don't imply that they aren't doing their part to fix the problem.
Here's why: Big Oil... pays TAXES! They do! That's what we learned on that video. Believe it or not, Big Oil pays TAXES. Who'da thunk it? How could anyone but a radical environmentalist possibly ask them to do more than they're already doing... which is paying taxes.
Big Oil pays taxes... just enjoy the smug, insulting way they lay that talking point on you. With a straight face.
Big Oil pays taxes... I can't get over it. Here's my response:
HELL'S BELLS, HOSS, I DIDN'T KNOW Y'ALL ALREADY PAID TAXES! Pardon me all over the place, I didn't know you carried a tax burden. Well smoke my shaved rabbits in holy vapors, ya learn somepin new every day. Me and the rest of us ignorant freeloaders assumed you were like the church or something. You mean to tell us that you do all that oil exploration and extraction and refining and selling, AND you have to PAY TAXES, TOO?!? Jeezm pete's, it hardly seems fair! See it in your heart to forgive us for implying that you weren't doing your part, Big Oil. We're sorry. You pay taxes to help Louisiana's coastal crisis.
But-- heaven forfend!-- if an impertinent radical environmentalist persists in asking Big Oil to do more for coastal restoration than pay taxes, Big Oil is ready with a response: they tout their sponsorship of PR campaigns that raise 'coastal awareness'. And the goal of this "coastal awareness" is to make more citizens "aware" that the Federal Government should pay for the huge environmental problem that Big Oil helped create. And if a persistent radical environmentalist should ask Big Oil to do anything more than pay taxes and fund a self-serving PR campaign... well, then the bristling begins. Big Oil will accuse them of playing "the blame game". They'll tell the radical environmentalist that the economy will suffer and jobs will be lost if Big Oil has to pay anything more. They'll tell the radical environmentalist that Big Oil wants to work with them, together, towards common solutions and better talking points which will move our Energy Coast forward into a new day of cleanliness and sunshine... blah blah blah... (just as long as you don't make the industry pay or do anything more than it already is doing). And if the radical environmentalists should raise the specter of Big Oil having to actually pay or do more to prevent coastal catastrophe, then Big Oil quickly pivots and threatens to lawyer up and seek endless delays in the court system before they'll ever pay anything.
See, Big Oil already does its part by paying taxes... what do you do?
Seriously, watch that video, especially the interview segments with Chris John and the video segments of the open water that was once wetland forest. It's not the strongest piece of journalism I've ever seen, but there's a lot of people who need a reminder about this issue.
Knowing full well that South Louisiana has
"The fact of the matter is we are paying. The industry pays billions of dollars in taxes... "
I guess that's why Mr. John gets paid the big bucks. When you ask him what Big Oil is prepared to do to address Louisiana's coastal crisis (which they helped create), he'll tell you with a straight face that Big Oil already pays its tax bill. Ask them to do more, and you're playing the "blame game". That's how they choose to play it during this time of crisis.
So, Chris John is there to inform us on camera that Big Oil pays taxes. How bloody virtuous.
Is this little douchemook really the Dems' best alternative to Vitter in 2010?
And then, of course, the video also features Bobby Jindal's coastal "point man" effortlessly spewing Big Oil talking points. The Jindal administration seems fully on board with the idea that Big Oil is already doing its part by paying paying taxes and other normal costs of doing business. They want to "work together" with Big Oil, so long as Big Oil doesn't have to help fix the mess they helped create.
Again, this country spent a hundred million tax dollars to restore Iraq's marshlands*. But apparently we're going to let the communities of South Louisiana wash away. Big Oil is partly, if not mostly, responsible for this environmental crisis. And saying that Big Oil is partly responsible is not playing the "blame game"-- it's stating a fact. But, apparently, if you ask Big Oil to do something more for Louisiana's coast than pay their tax bill, their lobbyist shills and allies in government bristle and make threats about lawsuits.
See, Big Oil will "work with" Louisiana to fix the coast... just so long as we don't ask them to do anything more than fulfill their legal obligation to pay their taxes. They're cool like dat. If we do ask them to do more than pay their tax bill, suddenly we're radical environmentalists engaging in "the blame game", and we're not working together, and we're going to hurt Louisiana's fragile economy and jobs will be lost, and it's the Army Corps of Engineers' fault, too... and whiny excuse after whiny excuse.
Where is the leadership in the oil industry on this issue? Where is the corporate citizenship? Where is the willingness to assume responsibility? This is a huge environmental crisis, and Big Oil is acting... very small.
* the funds were rerouted a few times after Congress threw a hissy, but rest assured, it was our money that paid for Iraq's marshland restoration. And many of Louisiana's experts were shipped over there to help find solutions to Iraq's marshland crisis.