Letter from the Editor 

I get zillions of self-serving press releases from local officeholders, including dozens from 7th District representative Marsha Blackburn. Those missives I usually ignore, since her simplistic politics appear to be somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan. But last week, she topped herself. The headline on her press release read: "High Gas Prices the Penalty for Environmental Extremism."

Yep, it seems those damn tree-huggers are the reason your gas is at $3 a gallon. Marsha explains: "Prices wouldn't be so volatile had we been exploring for oil on American soil and expanding our refining capacity. ... But there are those in Congress who've fought tooth and nail to prevent any and all domestic oil exploration for 30 years."

This is a classic straw-man argument and a huge lie. First, Congress has been controlled by the oil-industry-loving Republicans since 1994. Second, I doubt that Blackburn could name a single congressman who has fought to "prevent any and all domestic oil exploration for 30 years."

Yes, some environmentalists and many in Congress have fought to prevent drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but as anyone who has bothered to research that issue knows, the oil in the ANWR would provide at most a year's supply. Hardly the answer to our energy problems.

The fact is, if Congress had listened to environmentalists and imposed higher gas-mileage standards for automakers and other conservation measures, this crisis would have been forestalled for years, and the now-floundering American auto industry would have been the better for it. But under the direction of Vice President Cheney's secret "energy task force," the oil industry wrote our energy policies and ignored environmentalists' calls for energy-conservation measures. Now, profits are at an all-time high for the oil industry. No doubt, that's also the fault of those damn tree-huggers.

So why would Blackburn send out such a travesty of the truth? The answer came in another press release two hours later. It announced that Blackburn would appear on Fox News that night to "discuss energy policy." Argh.

I'm issuing my own press release. Here's the headline: "Blackburn Will Say Anything To Get on Fox News." Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor

brucev@MemphisFlyer.com

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