For the past decade, I have been dedicated to fighting bad energy policies. My efforts began in New Mexico, where the organizations I lead are based, and expanded to focus on national issues. When I accepted the executive director position on January 1, 2007, New Mexico had an anti-energy governor and America had a pro-energy president. Two years later that flipped. By then, I’d become deeply committed to what I began to call the “energy makes America great!” message.
Through my work, I quickly learned about the important role that energy plays in America’s economic prosperity and growth. Because I didn’t know a lot about energy before taking the position, I understood how little the average person thinks about energy—until their power goes out or gasoline prices spike. I believe that if people better understand the role of energy in their lives, they’d make wiser choices when they vote. I have been passionate about the cause.
The election of Donald Trump as our 45th president is a vindication of my work as one of his big campaign messages was about America’s abundant resources and his promise to manage and maximize them—rather than to lock them up.
While I have worked these past ten years to educate people and keep a positive energy message in the public dialog, during the past several months I have specifically engaged in doing everything I could to be sure our next president was pro-energy. I don’t have the reach of a Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Sean Hannity—or even Ann Coulter, Laura Ingram, or Michelle Malkin. But I do have a platform. My weekly column is widely distributed. I typically do dozens of radio interviews each month. And, I’ve frequently spoken for many industry, political, and civic organizations.
Because most of my time as executive director was during the Obama years, I’ve fought for the Keystone pipeline and against the many punitive regulations that stem from the green agenda—most specifically the Clean Power Plan that is the cornerstone of Obama’s climate change agenda.
The recent news cycle has been so myopically focused on the presidential election, I suspect few people are even aware of the U.N. climate change meeting going on right now, November 7-18, in Morocco. There green campaigners and policymakers are meeting for talks on implementing the Paris climate agreement. Imagine their shock when they realized that Trump will be our next president. He’s made canceling Obama’s commitment and ending the billions of climate change payments to the U.N. a key part of his stump speech. On November 9, Bloomberg wrote: “Doubts about U.S. support for the accord could stall progress in talks in Morocco this week and next, since other nations wouldn’t trust that any commitments the U.S. made will stick after Trump takes office.”
Truly, getting the entire globe onboard for the plan that would raise energy costs, hurt the poor, and lower living standards was always doubtful. Just last week, China, which gave lip-service to the agreement, announced that it will raise coal power capacity by as much as 20% by 2020—this, despite its climate pledge. Last month news came out of France that it will drop plans for a carbon tax—which was expected to kickstart broader European action to cut emissions and drive forward the international climate accord. But now, under a Trump presidency, the Paris climate agreement’s entire future is doubtful.
Trump will kill the Clean Power Plan and other key climate policies. Coal-fueled power plants that were slated for closure can now achieve their full life expectancy and continue to provide communities with cost-effective electricity. He’ll approve the Keystone pipeline and improve drilling access on federal lands. He’ll roll back regulations and diminish the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority. Wind and solar companies already realize their days of feeding at the government trough are over—immediately following Trump’s victory announcement stock in the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer “plunged.”
Trump’s energy policies are my energy policies. Mission accomplished.
Thank you to the thousands of individuals and companies, from coast-to-coast, who have supported this work through notes of encouragement, membership in the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy, and financial contributions. Contrary to what those who send me nasty notes might believe, I do not think the Koch brothers or ExxonMobil even know I exist.
I have used what I call a Field-of-Dreams fundraising model: “If you build it, they will come.” This has mostly worked throughout my ten years at the helm. I’d send out fundraising letters and those who believed in my work sent checks—with an annual average of $500 each. But then came the downturn in oil prices and coal company bankruptcies—and the accompanying job losses. Suddenly, the pool of people who’d written checks, and could continue to do so, got smaller. Likewise, the types of events where I’ve been a popular presenter, no longer have a budget for speakers.
Nearly a year ago, I had to discontinue the services of the DC-based PR firm I’d used to successfully schedule all those interviews. During 2016, there’s only sporadically been enough in the checking account to cover my salary. Because I believed so strongly in the “energy makes America great!” message, I’ve continued without pay—hoping my efforts would impact the election.
I hope you agree, they did. Now, my work here is finished. Thank you!