Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Not Very Refined

We've been meaning to post more of this sort of corporate nonsense, to be honest, although contrary to what you might think, we get much more in the way of plain inappropriate press releases (software pitches in particular) than outright silly stuff. But Gringcorpdayjobclown does get the odd shocker, and this is one of them:

Energy producing infrastructure must diversify across U.S.; Concentration along Gulf Coast invites future disruptions

[Company name redacted] Experts: Rest of nation must accept responsibility to host the industry

We're keeping them anonymous because a) it's possible that their distribution list is as small as their sense of shame, and thus might out us and b) they shouldn't get the publicity benefit even of our dozen readers.

Mighty Brit satirical and investigative magazine Private Eye runs occasional series devoted to corporations either exploiting tragedies for commercial gain or using world events to explain away unrelated bad news. The first of these was Warballs, which related to 9-11, but there have been others, as Wikipedia (scroll down) explains.

Anyway, brace for a bunch of Katrina-balls over the next few months. This is, yes, the soft and less malign side to a larger political battle to fill the space left by Katrina. And, it's probably fair to examine the damage that Katrina has done to many industries, while avoiding too much unseemly pimping for consultancy business. So, our first criticism is that the press release might be a tad insensitive.

We're also not entirely happy with the main contention of the release, which is that the reason for the concentration of energy infrastructure along the Gulf Coast is the welcoming posture of the local inhabitants, rather than the proximity of the coast to most of the US' oil and gas reserves and the fact that the region's poverty and weak grassroots political institutions have made it easy for developers to gain the necessary permits.

This is an odd position for us to take, because we've always felt that opposing energy infrastructure without making very conspicuous efforts to reduce one's own consumption (hola, Kennedy-clowns!) is a mite hypocritical. But to exploit a natural disaster both to shill for consultancy business and to posit such a blunt and poorly thought-out solution strikes us as facile in the extreme:

[The author, redacted] concludes that it is time for the rest of the nation to begin to take responsibility for hosting some of the nation’s fossil fuel drilling, refining, storage, pipeline and shipment infrastructure.

“The good people of the Gulf Coast have accommodated the development of energy infrastructure in their region for decades,” said [the author]. “Public acceptance in other regions of the country has not been as high, and that has got to change, given the new realities of harsh weather and possible terrorism.

There is every reason to expect that infrastructure was likely to shift elsewhere in the US alongside the Gulf of Mexico's declining contribution to the US mix of energy (such a pretty name for the burning of decomposed trees to produce power, run cars and throw off a crap load of carbon dioxide!). We'll admit that recent activity in siting LNG terminals, which would ideally all be near New York and LA, along the Gulf doesn't bear this out, but refer you to the second point above about the desperation of local communities.

There are a couple of things you could do to accomodate the author's "harsh realities", but they involve reducing consumption, which is hardly good business for an energy consultant, or pricing energy to reflect the effect of its production and distribution on local communities and wildlife, rather than simply the cost to its producers. Using a simple-minded plea to the patriotism of those that object to new projects is really rather insulting.

As you can tell, the thing made us angry, probably even more angry than spotting another pair of SR60s on the subway this morning. Since when were they played out? Why were we not warned?

Oh, and we caught the Martyscumticle on TV this morning. But he was bleating about male healthcare or somesuch inanity suitable to his station rather than anything useful. Thanks to the magic of Google, we did discover he backed fourth-placed Gifford Miller in his run for mayor. Nice work, clownshoe!


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