Drill, Baby, Drill to the Center of the Earth

skvarlaJohn Skvarla, newly appointed Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in North Carolina, joins a long list of Republican (and, let’s face it, Democratic) officeholders and cabinet members who utterly detest their offices. We all know about the “small government” politicians, but with a few exceptions, they were just crappin’ our pants. Think Reagan was really for a small government? If so, I got a bridge I need to unload real quick and quite the deal on it. Rand Paul may want a small government, but it’s not for your protection (unless you’re rich, white and male).

No, Skvarla is alongside the ranks of Education heads who don’t need to understand how education works; they just need to sell us “education reform” – code words for useless, counterproductive, and expensive tests. Skvarla will be hobnobbing with Labor honchos who come from executive tables and actively oppose laborers and unions. In fact, Skvarla is the latest ugly head in a hydra of Interior/Environment figures who work hard to deplete our environment while selling off our interior.

John Skvarla’s interview, taken one day before his appointment, is revelatory in how horrible and unprepared he seems. This shouldn’t be such a surprise, I suppose, as he’s been appointed by Pat McCrory. And McCrory is a supreme quack himself. “Science is fluid,” Sec. Skvarla said about climate change, because he doesn’t understand it and doesn’t want you to accept it. Understanding the fact of global climate change would hurt the bottom line of the energy companies he ultimately serves. It’s obvious by now he has zero interest in serving the people of North Carolina compared to who his bosses are.

But check out how fluid his “science” is:

Laura Leslie: Obviously, [natural gas] is very cheap right now. But you know, on the flip side it’s a finite source.
John Skvarla: Well, there’s some people would disagree with you.
[Record scratch]
[But wait, there’s more]
JS: The Russians, for instance, have always drilled oil as if it’s a renewable resource [Only some drunks in the 1800s]. And so far, they haven’t been proven wrong [They’re dead. But rest assured, they were wrong]. There’s a LOT [emphasis his] of different scientific research [I’m watching this and I swear-to-the-Holy-One he’s not using air-quotes around “scientific” or “research”]on this [Nope].

Mr. Secretary also seems to believe that we couldn’t possibly run out of natural gas in under two hundred years. People, that’s a hell of a lot of fracking. Or drilling to the center of the earth. So either your children will drink frackwater or your grandchildren will be consumed by lava monsters. Thank heavens for Big Oil/Coal!

The state government department that John Skvarla is in charge of, in fact, has been so lax in regulating local power companies that it is being subpoenaed in front of a grand jury next month due to a federal investigation. The investigation will look into the Dept of Energy and Natural Resources’s long and cozy relationship with Duke Energy. This buddy-buddy pairing allowed a spill of at least 30,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River. And so McCrory and his bosses choose a pro-business lackey (an incredibly incompetent one at that, prone to read conservative propaganda from World Net Daily op-ed writers as if they’re legitimate “science”) to clean up this agency? Yeah, we see where McCrory is going*.

Leading up to this, Skvarla complains that renewable energy requires a lot of “subsidy” (government grants) before the market can make a profit off of it. This is true. Maybe what we should be asking is why our local, federal and state governments are not leading the way on reducing our energy intake through bold initiatives – rather than largely through artificially reducing the price of gas so that we barely flinch as we continually pump?

This is why “Drill, Baby, Drill,” and soon “Frack, Fracker, Frack” aren’t just conservative mottoes, but unfortunate mantras from US society. We need governments for the people that will progressively lead us to consume significantly less – not just as individuals but as an entire nation.


* Removing environmental protections always hurts the poor primarily, first, and hardest. This is a pattern with McCrory. See for instance, his lecherous flat tax bill that cuts Earned Income Tax out completely while significantly reducing business taxes.


When he’s not riding both his city’s public transit system and evil mayor, Jasdye teaches at a community college and writes about the intersection of equality and faith - with an occasional focus on Chicago - at the Left Cheek blog and on the Left Cheek: the Blog Facebook page. Check out more from Jasdye in his archives as well!


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