It would be understandable if you mistook this as a story from The Onion.
The Associated Press reports that big oil companies and refineries on the Texas gulf coast are joining together with a group of state, local, and congressional Republicans to lobby for billions in federal appropriations to pay for a coastal system of levees and barriers intended to protect them from climate change.
Some of the refineries they're asking taxpayers to protect aren't even owned by Americans.
From the Associated Press:
Like other oceanfront projects, this one would protect homes, delicate ecosystems and vital infrastructure, but it also has another priority — to shield some of the crown jewels of the petroleum industry, which is blamed for contributing to global warming and now wants the federal government to build safeguards against the consequences of it.
Texas is seeking at least $12 billion for the full coastal spine, with nearly all of it coming from public funds. Last month, the government fast-tracked an initial $3.9 billion for three separate, smaller storm barrier projects that would specifically protect oil facilities. [...]
Normally outspoken critics of federal spending, Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz both backed using taxpayer funds to fortify the oil facilities' protections and the Texas coast. Cruz called it "a tremendous step forward." [...]
Construction in Texas could begin in several months on the three sections of storm barrier. While plans are still being finalized, some dirt levees will be raised to about 17 feet high, and 6 miles of 19-foot-tall floodwalls would be built or strengthened around Port Arthur, a Texas-Louisiana border locale of pungent chemical smells and towering knots of steel pipes.
The town of 55,000 includes the Saudi-controlled Motiva oil refinery, the nation's largest, as well as refineries owned by oil giants Valero Energy Corp. and Total S.A. There are also almost a dozen petrochemical facilities.
I'm not necessarily going to say we shouldn't build barriers to protect the coast from sea level rise and storm surge, but where's the protection for communities that aren't shadowed by oil refineries? Who is lobbying for them?
Furthermore, what are we doing about climate change?
Oil companies and Republicans obviously recognize the threat climate change poses to their own bottom lines, and they're willing to ask taxpayers to protect their bottom lines, but they aren't willing to admit that it's real or take steps to stop it.
It was Texas that led the legal fight against the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan which represented a solid step toward reducing green house gas emissions and slowing climate change.
We can spend billions on futile attempts to stop the ocean, but it won't change the fact that future generations will justifiably curse the Ted Cruzs of our era if not all of us.