WASHINGTON, D.C, Sept. 4, 2013 – Dow Chemical has launched an aggressive campaign to get federal regulators to interfere with natural gas exports. In response, the Competitive Enterprise Institute today released a new song and video ridiculing the company for the maneuver: “This Gas Is Dow’s Gas,” based on the tune of a famous Woody Guthrie song.
“With what right does Dow seek to restrict the freedom of other companies to sell their products in the global market place?” asks CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis. “Blocking exports cheats everyone involved in the natural gas value chain – investors, workers and shippers,” Lewis said. “Dow’s agenda is confiscatory and for that reason alone should be rejected.”
Dow Chemical recently posted a column on its blog extolling the benefits of free trade. But Dow urges Congress to pressure the Department of Energy to delay and limit U.S. exports of natural gas. The company spent nearly $12 million on lobbying in 2012, according to Open Secrets.Org.
CEI’s video, featuring Lewis on vocals, guitar and mandolin, pokes fun at Dow’s attempt to repackage its rent-seeking and pursuit of corporate welfare, put forward as a noble quest for the “public interest” and “America’s energy advantage.” Unlike other exposés of Dow’s shenanigans, said Lewis, “Ours has a good beat and you can dance to it.”
Dow argues that curbing gas exports will keep gas prices low, which in turn will make U.S. manufacturers who use gas as a feed stock more competitive. “By that logic,” said Lewis, “Congress should curb Dow’s exports to make pharmaceutical, fertilizer and computer companies more competitive, since they all use chemicals as feed stocks.”
Dow thinks it is being clever, but Congress cannot take hostile action against gas producers without scaring away investors and reducing output. Any glut induced by export restrictions would not last. The long-term effect would be reductions in supply and higher feed stock prices for Dow.
“If political predation were sound economics, socialism would not have failed. Maybe Dow will finally listen to reason if it will listen to the music,” said Lewis.
For additional CEI commentary on natural gas exports, see False Alarms: Dow Chemical’s Campaign against Natural Gas Exports, Central Planning Is Bad Export Policy, and A Modest Proposal: Give Dow a Taste of its Own Medicine.