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“Execs’ Open Letter to 2020 Candidates Promotes Oil & Natural Gas”

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 26, 2020

“Sen. Sanders calls us criminal and Vice President Biden says he would put us in jail, but it would be criminal not to produce the life-sustaining energy that enables a healthy, safe and modern lifestyle.”

– Kathleen Sgamma, Western Energy Alliance, February 24, 2020

The Western Energy Alliance just placed a full-page advertisement in the New York Times with Super Tuesday in mind in which 54 oil and gas executives challenged those calling their livelihood and industry criminal.

It is high time that the major integrated oil and gas companies, not just the independents, play offense rather than defense. Seize the moral high ground and do not appease the disgruntled, obstructionist critics (those with “termite aspirations”).

A half-century ago, Ayn Rand warned business leaders to lead, not capitulate. Remember Exxon’s great value-creator (1993–2005) Lee Raymond? Compare him to John Browne and Ken Lay, even T. Boone Pickens and James E. Rogers, who went “green” without understanding basic energy physics and market demand.

Rand was appalled by the behavior of energy executives during the 1970s oil crisis. Substitute “climate crisis” for “energy crisis,” and her words from 1971 apply today.

The behavior of most oil company executives–as displayed on television and in full-page ads–projects a childish, hopeless, impotent bewilderment. Those allegedly powerful tycoons, the heads of multi-billion-collar corporations–who have always been contemptuous of ideas, preferring to be “practical”–now find themselves helplessly at the mercy of any committee, any tabloid journalist, leftist disk jockey, or statist ward heeler.

Rand continued:

For years, businessmen have shunned ideological battles, believing it is safer and easier to deal with politicians than with political principles–i.e., easier to pay off the protection racket of sundry government officials than to defend capitalism. They are now facing the consequences.

Kudos to the Western Energy Alliance, a group that in this case contradicted Ayn Rand’s lament that “There is no pressure group to represent the men of intelligence, the nonconformists, the originators, the innovators–and yet it is against their brains that any freezing [think climate] program is directed.”


The announcement by the Western Energy Alliance follows:

Defend environmentally responsible energy that powers the modern world

DENVER – In an open letter to 2020 Democratic presidential candidates printed in today’s New York Times, 54 executives from the western oil and natural gas industry forcefully pushed back against months of claims that they are corrupt criminals who should be jailed. The full-page advertisement placed by Western Energy Alliance, an oil and natural gas trade association, responds to statements that have gone unchallenged by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren by explaining the environmental and life-sustaining benefits of oil and natural gas.

Contrary to the anti-oil and natural gas messages candidates are spreading to voters and the media on the campaign trail, the underlying statement from business leaders is that it “would be criminal not to produce oil and natural gas.” They represent companies that develop oil and natural gas across the West. The ad comes ahead of Super Tuesday on March 3rd, when 14 states hold their primaries, including major producers California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

“Sen. Sanders calls us criminal and Vice President Biden says he would put us in jail, but it would be criminal not to produce the life-sustaining energy that enables a healthy, safe and modern lifestyle,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance.

Without oil and natural gas, people can’t get to school and work, the lights go dark, smartphones cease to exist, medicine cabinets and grocery store shelves go bare. We know that people don’t understand how oil and natural gas enables just about every product and service they use every day, but just because we’re taken for granted doesn’t mean we should be vilified. If the political rhetoric we’re hearing this primary season actually became reality, the voters would abandon these politicians in droves.

The full-page ad features a young boy studying by lantern light, one of the billion people worldwide who lack access to affordable, reliable electricity. Exports of American natural gas could help him and others suffering from energy poverty raise their standard of living. According to a recent report by the International Energy Agency, the United States again leads the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, largely because of increased natural gas electricity generation. In addition to the environmental benefits, abundant supplies of American natural gas have kept home heating prices so low that 11,000 deaths are averted annually during cold weather.

Concluded Sgamma:

From banning fracking to eliminating leasing on federal lands, the agenda of these candidates would not only kill millions of jobs in the United States, but do nothing to reduce our reliance on reliable, life-sustaining energy. Preventing American production would not change energy needs, but would simply shift production to unreliable countries like Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran. How is it considered politically viable to promise to do away with American energy? We challenge candidates to recognize, as Presidents Trump, Obama, Bush, and Clinton have, that oil and natural gas produced in an environmentally responsible way here in America are a source for good in the world.

The open letter to the Democratic candidates is available on the Alliance website and as follows: 

Sen. Bernie Sanders calls oil and natural gas executives criminal. Vice Pres. Joe Biden wants us in jail. Senator Elizabeth Warren calls us corrupt.

We, the undersigned executives, would be criminal not to produce oil and natural gas.


Dear Presidential Candidates,

It would be criminal not to produce the reliable, affordable energy that keeps people warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and gets them to school to learn and work to provide for their families. Without our energy, the lights go dark, and smart phones go silent. Medicines and medical devices cease to cure the sick and injured. Food cannot be grown and grocery store shelves go bare.

We’re proud to provide the power and raw materials to manufacture the goods Americans use every day, from clothes and shoes to anything with a computer chip. Currently there are no alternatives that do everything that oil and natural gas do. We continue to innovate to produce more energy, reduce costs for consumers, and lessen environmental impact.

The clean-burning natural gas we produce helps improve air quality and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. Greater use of natural gas electricity is the number one reason the United States has reduced more greenhouse gas emissions than any other country. By exporting our clean, abundant natural gas, we can help lift out of poverty the one billion people worldwide without access to electricity.

Were we to be prosecuted, as you promise, and forced to stop providing our life-sustaining products, 10.3 million jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars would be sent overseas to import the energy that Americans rely on. So we will continue to produce the environmentally responsible energy that powers America and enables a healthy, safe, and modern way of life.


David W. Ballard, President, Ballard Petroleum Holdings, LLC
Stephen Barnes, President, Breck Energy Corp.
Rob Bayless, Executive Manager, Robert L. Bayless, Producer LLC
Chris Beato, CEO, Exaro Energy III, LLC
Ryan Birkenfeld, CEO, Northwoods Energy, LLC
Robert S. Boswell, Chairman & CEO, Laramie Energy, LLC
Jim Brown, CEO, PetroStar Services, LLC
Ted D. Brown, President & CEO, Confluence Resource LP
Tony Buchanon, President & CEO, Crestone Peak Resources
Andrew Calerich, CEO, Thunder Basin Resources, LLC
Alex Campbell, Chairman, Western Energy Alliance
Collis Chandler III, President, Chandler Energy, LLC
Dragan Cicvaric, CEO & President, Patriot Well Solutions
Robert J. Clark, Chairman, 3Bear Energy, LLC
Bryce Conway, President & CEO, Flex-Chem Corporation
Michael Decker, COO, Altamont Energy, LLC
Christopher Frain, CEO, Rolfson Oil, LLC
Rich Frommer, President & CEO, Great Western Petroleum, LLC
Robert Gardner, President & CEO, Elk Mesa Energy, LLC
Eric Greager, President & CEO, Bonanza Creek Energy, Inc.
Harold Hamm, Executive Chairman, Continental Resources
David L. Herbaly, Manager, Herbaly Exploration LLC
Roger Hutson, President & CEO, HRM Resources III, LLC
Danny Jimenez, CEO, Gradiant Energy Services
David Knapp, President, Knapp Oil Corp.
William D. Lancaster, President, GMT Exploration Company, LLC
Don Law, President, Prima Exploration
David Lehman, President & CEO, DJR Energy
James S. McAda, President, McAda Drilling Fluids, Inc.
Jerry McHugh, Jr., President, San Juan Resources, Inc.
Charles S. McNeil, Chairman & CEO, NexGen Resources Corporation
T. Greg Merrion, President, Merrion Oil & Gas
Salar Nabavian, CEO, ARSI Energy, LLC.
Kurt Nelson, President, Chaco Energy Company
Eric Noblitt, Partner, Stonegate Resources LLC
Nicholas Noppinger, CFO, Flatirons Field Services
Mike O’Shaughnessy, Chairman & CEO, Lario Oil & Gas Company
C. Mark Pearson, CEO & President, Liberty Resources, LLC
Kyle K. Rhodes, President & CEO, PESCO
Kim Rodell, President, Upstream Petroleum Management, Inc.
James Schroeder, Managing Partner, Mesa Energy Associates LLC
Kathleen Sgamma, President, Western Energy Alliance
Steve Skinner, President & CEO, Ursa Resources Group II, LLC
George H. Solich, President & CEO, FourPoint Energy, LLC
Daryl Stewart, President, Stewart Petroleum Corporation
Steve Struna, President & CEO, Bayswater
Adam S. Tesanovich, Chief Commercial Officer, Eagle Pipe, LLC
Jeff Vaughan, President & CEO, Tracker Resource Development LLC
Jack Vaughn, Chairman & CEO, Peak Exploration and Production, LLC
Whitney Wickes, COO, Rocking WW Minerals
R. Heggie Wilson, Partner, Stonegate Resources LLC
Jack Wold, CEO, Wold Energy Partners, LLC
R. Scot Woodall, CEO & President, HighPoint Resources
Chris Wright, CEO, Liberty Oilfield Services


  1. John Garrett  

    × 1,000,000

    It’s long overdue and well past the time to fight back.

    I am tired of the pseudoscience, the innumerates and the hypocrites.


  2. Dennis J Feindel  

    Yes, it is about time the Energy Companies respond against the Socialist agenda. I noticed Exxon Mobil wasn’t on the list! They have succumbed to AGW and the CO2 fiasco. They post on FB about how they are helping in their research to curtail CO2. I would go after them about it on how we need CO2 and how the Earth has had much higher ppm in its history…I hope this group keeps pushing back during and after the Elections. We ALL need to push back!


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