OP-Ed: Energy industry benefits, liberates women, families, communities

     Sandra Steingraber spends a great deal of time on YouTube, expressing her concern and outrage about the environment in general and the energy industry in particular.
      Please allow me to be more kind to Ms. Steingraber than she has been to those she insults. She holds the position of distinguished scholar in residence, Environmental Studies and Science, at Ithaca College in upstate New York. She’s a terribly concerned biologist and mother who claims the energy industry essentially is a sexist enterprise that holds women hostage as prostitutes and hotel maids.
     Yes. That’s what she said during a recent lecture at the University of Pittsburgh.
       This is a woman whose education and life experience apparently have given her absolutely no understanding of simple economics or fundamental truth. Opposed to the gas industry’s hydraulic fracturing – fracking – of gas-bearing underground formations, she is an anti-energy zealot who adopted an absurd, vile argument to convince the easily misled that America cannot have  the good life affordable energy provides and a clean environment at the same time. Worse still, she maintains the energy industry is male dominated and allows women in to clean rooms and, well, let’s stop there.
      Ms. Steingraber is overjoyed that New York’s governor has guided the Empire State away from energy opportunity. Presumably she is lecturing New York women who are spared from energy bondage – the would-be hotel maids and hookers – about how much better life can be in America without affordable energy.
      Perhaps she is sharing with them her notion of just how this energy-dependent economy of ours works and how expensive energy will liberate women and, one presumes, entire communities from exploitation.
      Her emotional, insulting argument is pitiful. Has this wayward woman taken the time to ask the women who work in the energy industry whether they consider themselves the victims of a sinister conspiracy that deprives them of their dignity and steals their opportunity? I’m guessing no.
       Women who work and prosper in the energy industry also are mothers. They also are educated. They also aspire for a bright future for their families and communities. They develop drilling plans, manage offices, handle equipment in the field. And then they go home to their families knowing that they have helped develop an energy resource that brings prosperity and comfort to thousands.
      Those honorable men and women who develop affordable energy needn’t create absurd and obscene stories and lecture gullible minds to find fulfillment. They have rewarding jobs that bring them pride. They will not allow Ms. Steingraber and her small tribe of misguided followers to define who they are and what they do. They live in the real world, where hard work and respect for the environment co-exist. They understand we cannot succeed as a nation by classifying hard-working Americans as victims. They know better. They know the value and rewards of their work.
Most of all, they know the truth.
Rebekah Hogue
West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association

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