Last week’s second round of debates among the Democratic candidates for president yielded plenty of fodder for weekend cocktail conversation.
But I can’t help but worry about the rhetoric from many of the candidates about energy, and the potential impacts of normalizing the vilification of the innovative, hard-working and conscientious people in the fossil fuel industry. It does not serve the good of our nation nor that of our region.
If you didn’t catch it, Sen. Bernie Sanders exhibited his disdain for fossil fuels, saying, “we have got to be super aggressive if we love our children and if we want to leave them a planet that is healthy and is habitable. What that means is we got to take on the fossil fuel industry,” and, “what do you do with an industry that knowingly, for billions of dollars in short-term profits, is destroying this planet? I say that is criminal activity.”
Should we assume he believes that those of us in the fossil fuel industry don’t love our children? And we don’t want a healthy planet? It shouldn’t be good politics to alienate millions of American families.
But more chilling is the accusation that the work of an entire industry is “criminal activity.” The fossil fuel workforce is today’s target, but what is stopping tomorrow’s from being the entirety of the medical, banking or higher education industries? It can’t become acceptable for any politician to criminalize an entire sector of our economy, especially a highly regulated one and one that currently allows the majority of the population to affordably stay warm in winter, cool in summer, cook their food, drive to work and enjoy so many other basic life necessities.Click here to continue reading.