With the 2008 presidential election catch phrase, 'drill baby drill' still ringing in their ears, Republicans are once again campaigning on what they say is a critical need to open up federally-protected wildlife reserves, so oil companies can gain access. The push for more drilling is a staple of right wing politics, which has made a living off of playing up the dangers of America's dependence on foreign oil. The 2012 presidential election figures to feature a lot of same arguments; however, a new report is causing many to ask, what is the GOP motivation for increasing domestic oil production?
Big oil's influence
For decades, the United States has been forced to rely on foreign sources of oil, thanks in part to federal regulations which limited domestic oil production. At the behest of domestic oil giants, Republicans quickly crafted a strategy to defeat Democrats by playing up the imbalance as a threat to national security; and right wing politics became known for a desire to loosen federal wildlife restrictions, as well as clean air and water regulations.
Things have changed
According to a recent report from USA Today, during the first three quarters of 2011, American oil companies actually exported more oil than they imported. Equipped with the latest data, industry experts predict that, in 2012, the United States will become a net exporter of petroleum for the first time in more than 60 years.
Thanks to controversial extraction methods that have allowed oil companies to withdraw from areas once thought off-limits, the need for more domestic oil production appears quelled. However, that's not stopping right wing political figures from demanding access to wildlife refuges.
But wait a second; if American oil companies already have more oil than they can handle and are now profiting by exporting it to other countries, why are Republicans trying to tear through environmental regulations to get more wells? What is the GOP strategy, and why is it still centered on this agenda?
Big oil's mission
From the start, most have long suspected that right wing politics was more about helping oil giants profit than actually lowering gas prices and protecting Americans from the dangers of foreign oil. Obviously, if oil companies can sell to other countries, they will increase their profit margins. USA Today's report seems to highlight this fact; and now, when Republican candidates, such as Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, are asked, "what is the GOP motivation for pushing for increased domestic oil production," they may have to come up with a new story.