Department: Editor's Notebook

Pipeline Protesters’ Motives Aren’t as Environmentally Pure as You Think

November 2017, Vol. 244, No. 11

This just in: U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled Oct. 12 that Dakota Access Pipeline can continue operating while the federal government reviews its environmental impact. He declined to vacate a previous permit even though in June he ordered a new study, ruling that the Army Corps of Engineers had not adequately reviewed the project before it approved the required construction permits. In his latest ruling, reported by AP, Boasberg said deficiencies in the original review “are not fundamental or incurable flaws” and that the Corps has such a “significant possibility of justifying its prior determinations” […]

Hurricane Harvey Rocks Houston

October 2017, Vol. 244, No. 10

“The worst thing about this is that you know people are going to die.” Mid-afternoon on Aug. 25 and I was talking to our managing editor Mike Reed as we prepared to go home. Hurricane Harvey was approaching Houston. Everyone’s nerves were on edge. We knew we were going to get hit and hit hard, though being in a metro area of 10,000 square miles, you’re never sure where a storm will cause the most havoc. But the warnings were coming fast and furious from local officials and weather forecasters who did everything but tell […]

Opposition to Pipeline Construction Projects Nothing New

September 2017, Vol. 244, No. 9

Isn’t it interesting that no matter how much changes in the our industry, certain things are designed to never change. One of the first major conferences I covered was the 13th Annual Arthur Andersen Oil & Gas Symposium held in Houston in December 1992. Arthur Andersen held one of the most influential energy conferences until the Justice Department put the Big 6 accounting firm out of business in 2002 in the aftermath of the Enron scandal. At this symposium, Gene Pokorny, chairman of Cambridge Reports/Research International, addressed Great Expectations: American Views about Energy, the Environment […]

No Surprise that Keystone XL’s in Jeopardy

August 2017, Vol. 244, No. 8

President Trump loves whining about “fake news” but he unwittingly gave our industry the biggest fake news story of the year in March when he grandly signed off on the Keystone XL pipeline project. That was a nice photo taken at the White House at which TransCanada CEO Russ Girling was in attendance. Girling may have been smiling on the outside, but I wonder if that masked how he really felt. Before you can build a pipeline, you have to go through this process called an open season in which your would-be customers – the […]

Russia Seeks to Stop America’s Booming Energy Industry

July 2017, Vol. 244, No. 7

The next time Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits President Putin in the Kremlin, he should ask his former buddy something that’s bothered me for years: what are the Russians up to in attempting to sabotage our energy industry? First, let’s understand that energy has always been used as a political tool, even by Washington. During the mid-1980s, at the request of President Reagan, the Saudis ramped up their oil production to over 10 million barrels per day, causing the price to crash to below $10. The singular goal was to wreck the already tottering […]

The More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same

June 2017, Vol. 244, No. 6

I’m staring at the bare walls of my office, bereft of my autographed photos of Mickey Mantle, Muhammad Ali, Simon & Garfunkel, Ronald & Nancy Reagan, Al Capone, and my most treasured piece, a personally signed photo of Jennifer Aniston. We’re getting ready for the Big Move. As you know, Ollie Klinger sold the company along with its rich legacy to Gulf Publishing Co. Oildom was a family-owned New Jersey-based energy publishing company begun by his Ollie’s grandfather in 1908. Through the years the company largely focused on pipeline construction until Ollie III bought Pipeline […]

America Needs Tough Pipeline Regulations

April 2017, Vol. 244, No. 4

Ray Galvin wouldn’t be too pleased with what’s been going on in Washington, D.C. as it relates to the environment. Ray was president of Chevron U.S.A. Production Company when I interviewed him in November 1994 for my book, The Oil Makers. He was a brilliant, thoughtful man who had worked his way into a top position with the widely respected oil petroleum company. In fact, with a little more support from his bosses, he may have been the one who unlocked the hidden mysteries of fracking, writes Bryan Burrough in his excellent book, The Frackers. […]

The Oil and Gas Industry Lost a Good One

February 2017, Vol. 244, No. 2

Getting older we tend to wander to the obituary page to see who passed away that we have known. As time moves forward, there is a greater chance of making that sad connection. It happened last month when I read of the Jan. 12 death of Glenn H. McCarthy Jr., son of the legendary wildcatter/hotelier and a pretty good oilman in his own right. Glenn was 78. I had not seen him since I interviewed him in 1996 to work on a book of his late father, which never materialized. McCarthy was one of the […]

What the Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Aren’t Telling You

January 2017, Vol. 244, No. 1

With the help of celebrities and professional activists, protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota have attracted international attention. The shouting and violence have drawn sympathy from people who are hearing only one side of the story — the one told by activists. Were the full story to be heard, much, if not all, of that sympathy would vanish. The activists tell an emotionally-charged tale of greed, racism, and misbehavior by corporate and government officials. But the real story of the Dakota Access Pipeline was revealed in court documents in September, and it […]

If You Can Make It in Pipelines, You Can Make It Anywhere

December 2016, Vol. 243, No. 12

So, what on earth is professional wrestler Gorilla Monsoon doing to the future editor of P&GJ in this 1975 photo taken at the Philadelphia Arena? It’s a compelling, somewhat poignant story that ultimately ties into the pipeline business. I will turn the story over to my alter ego, a wannabe sportswriter who met many interesting folks and hoped for a career that never happened. My first brush with sports figures occurred in 1969 at a high school baseball game I covered for my school paper. The Yankees sent a scout, a former pitcher named Randy […]

Dakota Access Pipeline Protests: Not So Peaceful

November 2016, Vol. 243, No. 11

On the weekend of Oct. 15-16, criminals using the guise of “peaceful protesters” again torched millions of dollars of equipment involved in the multi-state Dakota Pipeline construction. This time the crime took place is Reasnor, IA, along the construction route. In early September the criminals destroyed millions more in heavy equipment at a site in North Dakota, which has been the focal point of the illogic protest against the permitted pipeline. One may ask why the equipment wasn’t better protected. One might ask why the lead developer, Energy Transfer Partners, wasn’t better prepared for  potential […]

Building New Pipeline Infrastructure: Always About the Politics

October 2016, Vol. 243, No. 10

It’s always been about the politics. If only we could return to those peaceful days of yesteryear when we dutifully met all of the requirements to build a pipeline, constructed it without incident, and covered it up never to be seen again. This is no longer the case. With climate change as their mantra, a small but dedicated, well-organized and misinformed cadre of anti-fossil fuel activists has turned its attention to the pipeline industry in an effort to block future and even ongoing projects, as we’re seeing with the Dakota Access furor. Never mind that […]

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