Energy Advocates Educate for the Future
By K.J. WEBB
Editor at Large
GREAT HISTORY: Energy Advocate members have been working hard since 1974 to educate the public and media about the industry. This is a 2006 photo with Energy Advocates President Mark Stansberry, Honorary Board member Sherman E. Smith and Board member Will Smith.
Energy Advocates was founded in 1974 in Tulsa by prominent Tulsa oilman Tom Manhart and, since its founding, has operated on the principle that “Nothing Moves Without Energy.” The organization is dedicated to presenting the public with facts and solutions to the tough questions on the energy issues that face the United States. It is equally as committed to keeping the membership and general public informed of the changing legislative, environmental and economic issues that impact the energy industry.
For 26 years, Energy Advocates operated out of its headquarters in Tulsa under the tutelage of the late Deans Sims. In 2000, it opened an office in Oklahoma City followed by regional expansion into other states in 2002. In 2008, Energy Advocates established a presence in Washington, D.C. because, according to EA President Mark Stansberry, “It’s important for us to be in D.C. because ultimately the decisions are made in D.C. Consequently, we work very hard here, and across the country, to educate the public about the energy industry.” Stansberry says Energy Advocates accomplishes the education process through holding forums, community involvement, speeches, seminars, publications, media coverage, annual policy conferences and its website.
Stansberry mentions the upcoming Energy Advocates Roundtable in Houston on June 22. “The roundtable will include attendees from the energy industry as well as people from other sectors. Energy issues and policies affect everyone. Our roundtables are excellent opportunities to discuss these issues.”
The Houston Roundtable will be followed by a Kansas City Roundtable on Oct. 19, and the Annual Meeting and Roundtable in Tulsa on Nov. 15. Stansberry says the events are very effective in educating and informing the public and policy makers on the important issues facing the energy industry, as well as generating ideas and solutions to problems. “We hosted the International Energy Policy Conference in Oklahoma City in September 2009 and it was a real success. We had lots of attendees, including the Oklahoma State Legislature Speaker of the House Chris Benge, Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, as well as participants from across the country,” Stansberry says.
When asked about misperceptions the public has about the energy industry, Stansberry says, “People often have a misperception about natural gas. They need to understand how important it is to our energy future. However, many mistakenly think of natural gas as gasoline.”
Stansberry explains that natural gas is one of the safest, cleanest and most useful of all energy sources. It has multiple uses such as heating, cooking, air conditioning and as an alternative fuel for transportation. In fact, natural gas vehicles (s) are much cleaner burning than traditional fuel vehicles because of the chemical composition of natural gas. With all of its applications, natural gas is a vital component in meeting our energy needs; an estimated 23 percent of the energy our country consumes each year comes from this important source.
Stansberry says to meet our nation’s increasing need for energy we need the full energy mix. “We have a variety of resources to utilize: oil, natural gas, wind, solar and nuclear. However, it is impossible to make the switch overnight to the alternative sources to help balance the mix.” He points out that it takes an enormous infrastructure and billions of dollars to make this happen. “It can be done but it will take time and lots of money.”
Another important issue when considering the energy industry is employment. The energy industry is responsible for a significant number and wide variety of jobs in this country such as petroleum engineers, geologists, chemists, roughnecks, drillers, administrative personnel and more. This has to be taken into account as future energy policies are determined and implemented.
Stansberry says, “There are a lot of people out there who rely on the energy industry for jobs and income. These are good, hardworking people who are making a living doing this.” He adds, “It’s not only those who work in the energy industry who rely on it, but everyone. Most people don’t realize that over 3,000 products are made from petroleum: plastics, eye contacts, fertilizers, nylon rope, shampoo, tennis racquets, s, CDs, movie films, cold creams, telephones, basketballs and the list goes on and on.” Stansberry predicts powerful energy and climate legislation this year and emphasizes Energy Advocates commitment to influencing the legislation in a positive way that will support the energy industry both now and in the future.
“We’ve made a lot of progress, but we can always do more,” Stansberry says. “It’s all about education. We’ve done a great job overall as an industry and this needs to be communicated to the public. People need to understand how vital the energy industry is to this country and their safety, and quality of life.”
For those interested in learning more about the energy industry, including energy security, the myth of big oil, oil as a political weapon, and more, see the Mark. A. Stansberry with Jason Reimbold 2008 book, The Braking Point: America’s Energy Dreams and Global Economic Realities, which is being redistributed nationally and is available at Barnes & Noble and other major bookstores.
For more information, visit www.energyadvocates.net and www.thebrakingpoint.com.