Magazine article New Internationalist

Greasing the Machine [George W Bush & the Petroleum Industry]

Magazine article New Internationalist

Greasing the Machine [George W Bush & the Petroleum Industry]

Article excerpt

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George W Bush, President

Mr Bush's best business move was to sell a small oil company he had started in the 1970s called Bush Exploration/Arbusto to Spectrum 7 which was later acquired by Harken Energy. In return he received $600,000 in stock, a $120,000 yearly contract and a lot of friends in the Texas oil scene. With Bush senior occupying the White House at the time, Harken then won contracts in the Middle East by mentioning that President Bush's kid 'is on our Board'.

Oil money gushed into the President's campaign coffers: $2.8 million from energy companies and another $2.3 million from the auto sector during the 2000 Bush/Cheney campaign. Enron alone donated more than a million dollars to the Republican National Committee. Bush owns stock in General Electric, BP, Duke Energy, ExxonMobil, Pennzoll and Tom Brown, Inc.

Dick Cheney, Vice-President

Whether or not Dick Cheney is calling the shots in the new administration he brings oil interests to the heart of the DC. After serving as Defense Secretary under George W's dad, he settled in Dallas to head up the world's biggest oil-services company, Halliburton (market value $18.2 billion). Since 1992 Halliburton has contributed $1.6 billion to the campaigns of Washington-bound politicians. Cheney's record as a Wyoming Congressman from 1978 to 1989 hints at what's to come. He co-sponsored a measure to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and voted against the Clean Water Act which required industries to release their toxic emissions records. Cheney is a member of a group called COMPASS (Committee to Preserve American Security and Sovereignty). In 1998 the group wrote to President Clinton to protest against the Kyoto climate change treaty, dismissing it as a 'feel-good public relations ploy'.

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Gale Norton, Interior Secretary

Ms Norton is a former corporate lawyer and passionate believer in 'free-market environmentalism'. She is a longtime supporter of wide-open oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and in the Rocky Mountains. As Attorney General of Colorado from 1991-98 she was keen on property rights, by which she meant that corporations whose profits suffered from environmental regulations should be paid back from the public purse. She was also co-chair of the Coalition of Republican Environmental Advocates whose members included lobbyists from the auto, coal and mining industries. On checking into her new Washington office on the fifth floor of the Interior Department building she promptly removed pictures celebrating the nation's parks system. Instead there are now these photos: a mining land 'reclamation' project in Craig, Colorado; an offshore oil derrick; a dam with a US flag on top; and a shot of the Rosebud Mine in Montana. …

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