My first job after high school graduation was working in an experimental DOE shale oil refinery. It was located near the entrance of a mine high in the mountains near Parachute, Colorado. I learned a lot about energy politics while working in that amazing operation. After my summer job, I started school at MIT, where I did my undergraduate research at the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research. Once again I was amazed at insights I gained into the politics of climate change, oil pricing, and world energy markets.
In my consulting career, I continued to see the impacts of energy economics. Following a stint in Abu Dhabi where I saw the fantastic wealth that petrodollars had created, my next project in the United States was for Cloud Peak Energy, a Powder River Basin coal mining Company. After seeing how seriously the executives of the company took environmental restoration and safety, I understood that developing new energy and preserving the environment didn’t have to be at odds with each other. After meeting some executives in the coal bed methane business, I looked for some Utah based CBM plays and discovered the nearby Alton coal field and the potential of that mine and other energy resources of my home state to fuel economic growth.
I want to use this blog to build a bridge between environmental groups and the energy companies who are helping to make American energy cheap, the country energy independent, and preserve the environment for the future. Both sides may be called out as well for putting their own interests ahead of the public’s. I think a middle ground approach is required. Environmentalist cannot insist that every piece of land remain pristine and all fossil fuels remain in the ground. The companies who extract these resources need to do so with sensitivity to the environment and a commitment to post-extraction restoration. With ingenuity, it is possible.