Oct 15 2005


Published by at 5:49 am under General

The Sierra Club (to which I have belonged in the past) is leading an effort to “boycott” Exxon (for which I once worked) because “of all the Big Oil companies, Exxon is the worst”. The Sierra Club lists the following reasons for Exxon being the worst.

1. Exxon is “leading” the lobbying effort to drill for oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge.
2. Exxon has not “fully paid” for the damage caused by the Valdez oil spill.
3. Exxon is making higher profits due to high oil prices (”gouging” per the Sierra Club)

A large boycott of products sold by Exxon would have an effect on their behavior and if it was really really big, it would lower prices. I have no problem with the call for a boycott, if you want to influence ExxonMobil (which is its current name, btw).

However, the reasons given are pretty weak. Lobbying is what the Sierra Club is all about. Should we also boycott them because they lobby for what they think is right? Lobbying seems to be the way most organizations deal with our federal government. “Fully Paid” for the Valdez is subjective. I know they’ve paid a lot, some Billions, and more are being adjudicated in court. In any case, they have not walked away from responsibility for the accident. Higher gasoline prices, sure. If you don’t like the price, don’t buy; or, sell the SUV and get a hybrid, or ride public transportation, or take a bike. Motor gasoline is a product like any other and “cheap gasoline” is not a “right” written into the Constitution. We are much too dependent on automobiles and hence dependent on the production and import of oil and oil products.

The Sierra Club is going after the largest oil company as the cause of the oil related problems. It should spend as much effort convincing people to buy smaller cars, drive less, etc. But, that is harder and doesn’t generate positive publicity for them.

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