Yesterday, Western Energy Alliance ran a full-page ad in the New York Times responding to presidential candidates who’ve called us criminal and said we should be locked up. Our open letter, signed by 54 executives in the industry, responds that we would be criminal not to produce the life-sustaining energy that keeps people warm in the winter, cool in the summer, gets them to school and work to better their lives, and puts food on the table, medicines in the cabinet, and a smartphone in every pocket.
Yes, the rhetoric is strong, but commensurate. And as I explained to a reporter who contacted us about the ad, he wouldn’t be talking to us if we had said, “We’re a bunch of really nice people.”
Besides finally responding to the over-the-top rhetoric, the real point is to get information out about the benefits of oil and natural gas. By first grabbing people’s attention, we hope to be able to get a few messages through on all the things oil and natural gas do in people’s lives. Most people don’t realize that wind and solar energy must be backed up with natural gas, and that we provide the feedstock for everything from clothes to computer components. The entire information edifice behind every smartphone Google search would not be possible without oil and natural gas.
For example, we’re getting the word out about how low American natural gas prices save 11,000 lives annually, as people don’t have to choose between eating and heating their homes. We’re highlighting the greenhouse gas reductions of increased natural gas electricity generation. And we’re pointing out how natural gas exports can help lift out of poverty the one billion people worldwide without access to reliable electricity.