Jim Baldauf, a co-founder of the Peak Oil movement, began its briefing at the National Press Club Oct. 7 by citing the BP Gulf oil disaster, drought in Russia at up to 130 degrees, and massive flood-devastation in Pakistan as evidence that this is the worst year for the environment in recorded history.
"I would submit," he said, "that all of these tragedies are due to Peak Oil. Peak Oil will affect every aspect of our life."
Baldauf is a Texas-based oil executive, lifelong environmentalist and the key leader of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas, USA (ASPO-USA). The group took a giant step forward in raising the visibility of its warnings this week by holding its first Washington, DC-based convention, plus a packed congressional briefing.
Leaders riveted delegates, many of whom are experts themselves, from morning to evening sessions with specifics on the core implictions of their theme: that after 150 years of oil extraction most major oil exporting nations are well past their supply peaks, defined by scientists as "Peak Oil."
Baldauf is also one of the headliners at ASPO's sixth annual convention, which continued through Oct. 9 near the U.S. capital with economists, energy and human rights experts as the group brings its important message for the first time to opinion-leaders in Washington, DC.
In this coming of age for the advocacy movement, this week's speakers included former Nixon and Ford Administration Secretary of Defense Dr. James Schlesinger, above, who was also the nation's first Secretary of Energy under the Carter Administration. Earlier, he had been CIA Director and Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission under President Nixon. Ralph Nader and Bianca Jagger are among other speakers, most of whom are prominent in energy, economics, human rights and academia.
Their thesis demands attention even from those inclined to skepticism or indifference. We risk losing big with the wrong choice.
On a more pedestrian scale, why is oil production relevant to the non-partisan Justice Integrity Project I lead?
Most important, a steep decline in the U.S. economy affects all of us.
Also, economic declines (which recent history shows are linked to oil prices) will further strain our legal system. This includes the troubling ties between energy industry issues and the complexities of the justice system.
One development is the Justice Department's high-profile criminal probe of the BP Gulf volcano. That so many in government and the news media persist in downplaying the disaster's significance by calling it a "spill" and "leak," however, helps prompt questions:
Will the DOJ investigation unfairly scapegoat some defendants? Will it whitewash others?
Despite the government bluster about the vigor of its crackdown, we all saw that the Coast Guard and law enforcement helped restrict news and other public access to evidence of the environmental damage.
The gist is that troubling relationships between the energy and justice system merit closer examination.
The DOJ has maintained, to take one example, that no one should further review the notorious 2006 federal corruption conviction of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, 64. But we have documented on OpEd News and elsewhere how the Democratic defendant's trial judge, Mark Fuller, held controlling interest in the closely held Doss Aviation, Inc., which enriches the judge via $300 million in recent federal contracts, primarily to refuel Air Force planes. This puts the regionally powerful chief federal judge in the energy business, in effect, with scant apparent concern by DOJ about appearance of fairness or conflict.
Need for Resolve & Confidence