Statement of Nick Mottern, Director, Consumers For Peace.org – ExxonMobil Shareholders Meeting 5/28/08
Good Morning – Thank you to my friends at the Dallas Peace Center for organizing this press conference and all the Exxon-Enough! events.
I will make two points, briefly:
Point Number One – The American people are being given many reasons why gasoline prices are so high, except one. Out of every $100 we spend at the pump, about $12.50 of that is because the Iraq War has stunted oil production in Iraq and because there is fear in the world oil market that the war will spread, for instance to Iran, and disrupt world oil shipments.
We have gotten this estimate of the Iraq War Cost at the pump from the noted economist Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy research in Washington, and I will repeat it: Out of every $100 we spend at the pump, about $12.50 of that is because the Iraq War has stunted oil production in Iraq and because there is fear in the world oil market that the Iraq War will spread, for instance to Iran, and cut back world oil shipments.
Dean Baker joins Nobel Laureate in economics Joseph Stiglitz and Congress’ Joint Economic Committee in sending this message: the Iraq War, since it began five years ago, has been costing us money everyday at the pump.
Professor Stiglitz puts it very directly in a recent interview, where he says that if peace were re-established in the Middle East, oil could drop back to $25 a barrel. You heard that right, if peace were re-established in the Middle East, oil could drop back to $25 a barrel. Then he said:
“The only people benefiting in this war are Bush’s friends in the oil industry. He has done the American economy an enormous disfavor, but his Texan friends couldn’t be happier. The price of oil is up, and they make money when the price goes up. Their profits are at record levels.”
During the 5-year war period, ExxonMobil has scooped up windfall profits totaling an estimated $43 billion dollars. This profit, of course, has come as lives have been lost and destroyed.
Point Number Two – ExxonMobil is a gasoline company playing with fire in Iraq.
We have here a statement issued for this press conference by the Iraq Oil Workers Union demanding an end to the occupation of Iraq and that ExxonMobil and other large oil companies stop trying to make long-term deals in Iraq while that country is occupied.
We also have an Appeal to Conscience from Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Bob McEllrath head of the International Longshore and Warehouse (ILWU), Retired Army Colonel Ann Wright -- 30 religious, union and peace leaders, calling on ExxonMobil to announce that it will not make any long-term deals in Iraq until the occupation is ended.
ExxonMobil can act today to save lives in Iraq and to moderate world oil prices by making a simple announcement – “We fully support the statement of the Iraqi Oil Workers.” Will ExxonMobil do it?