Monday, February 24, 2014

An Open Letter to Tom Steyer

Dear Mr. Steyer (and other environmentalists and anti-fossil fuel folks), 

So, you're against the Keystone pipeline, believe the propaganda about climate change and are against fossil fuels. Fine, you're entitled to your opinion and from everything I've read, you and your wife seem like decent, well-meaning people.  

I just wanted to throw a few things out here for your consideration.  First, no matter how you feel about fossil fuels, the reality is that we need them now and in the foreseeable future. That is a reality. You can dream all you want about wind and solar power, but that doesn't address our present-day needs.  

Second, have you given any thought to how many people are employed in the energy business?  I'm not just talking about those who work for oil and gas companies, but all the peripheral businesses that support the petroleum industry: oilfield service companies, pipe companies, pipefitters, welders, etc. If you succeed in doing away with fossil fuels (which I personally don't believe will happen in my lifetime), hundreds of thousands of people will be put out of work. Do you care about those people?

Third, I suspect most people either don't know about or give little thought to the myriad products that are petroleum-based.  In your own kitchen, your coffee pot, drinking cups and cooking utensils are probably made from petroleum products.  Refrigerator shelves, sponges, trash bags and nonstick pans are all derived from petroleum.  

In your car, the dashboard, upholstery, windshield wipers, visors and even your brake fluid are all derived from oil and gas products.  In offices, computers, calculators, cell phones, printers and copiers, and even the floors and counters in the building are most likely from petroleum-based products.  

Numerous medical products are also derived from petroleum: artificial hearts, prosthetic limbs and hearing aids are all representative of life-enhancing and life-saving products that were developed from oil and gas.  Even some medications are petroleum-based:  anesthetics and drugs to treat arthritis and allergies to name a few.  

There are many recreational pursuits in which you come in contact with petroleum products:  golf balls, footballs, tennis rackets, diving boards, swim goggles and bicycle tires would not exist as we know them without oil and gas. Even the soles of your sneakers are made from gas and oil products.  

I could go on and on, as the list is long and the products too numerous to mention here. I think you get the point though. Are you willing to give up all these products in your quest to end the use of fossil fuels? Have you come up with alternative materials to make these everyday tools we take for granted? If not, may I suggest you direct your efforts toward that end? I for one am not willing to forego my modern conveniences and I suspect you aren't either.