As the 2018 midterm elections appear on the horizon, a new non-profit has arrived on the scene to be a voice for a group that’s often ignored — rural American communities that depend on the energy industry.
Power the Future was founded to “promote and protect the men and women working in America’s energy space.” Executive Director Daniel Turner is preparing for a “David versus Goliath” campaign against entrenched environmental interests pushing policies that hurt workers in the energy industry.
“Everybody uses energy,” Turner told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “There’s an irony of a protester with a Fiji water bottle saying we need to cut down on energy.”
“Your avocado did not grow in D.C.,” Turner said. “It’s because of their labor you have an avocado in February.”
President Donald Trump declared the “war on American energy” to be over in his recent State of the Union address, but Turner says many rural energy communities still face an uphill battle against well-funded environmentalists. Power the Future has raised several million dollars, but Turner says it pales in comparison to what his opponents bring to the table.
San Francisco hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer plans on spending $30 million in House races in 2018, on top of doubling his $20 million campaign to impeach Trump. Steyer came onto the public stage bankrolling anti-fossil fuel efforts, including the campaign to block the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and League of Conservation Voters, just to name three prominent groups, also have massive war chests.
For now, Turner will focus on New Mexico where he hopes research and ads can turn the debate against environmental campaigners. By the end of the year, he hopes to be in other key energy states, like Oklahoma and Louisiana.
Steyer and his wife donated $65,000 to state candidates in New Mexico in the 2016 election. The League of Conservation Voters pumped $185,000 into New Mexico in that election, according to Western Wire.
Turner travelled to New Mexico to meet with energy workers and help tell their story. He wants to put a face on an industry that’s often vilified in the media.
WATCH TURNER’S NEW MEXICO AD:
“There’s a tremendous arrogance in these activists,” Turner said. “Just a few months ago the all flew to Paris to demand we cut back on using energy. Either none of them have Skype or they think good intentions fuel their planes.”
“Meanwhile out in rural America there are guys working 12 hour shifts who make these elites lifestyles and their activism possible. And they don’t even get a thank you,” he said.
Environmentalists have increasingly turned to state and local governments to push more restrictions on mining and drilling, particularly targeting hydraulic fracturing.
Fracking has unlocked previously inaccessible oil and gas reserves. New Mexico is now the third-largest oil-producing state, beating out Alaska, according to federal data. More than 100,000 New Mexicans work for the oil and gas industry. Environmental activism is putting those jobs at risk, Turner said.
“I’d like to see Tom Steyer come see what’s left after his activism is achieved,” Turner said. “Because when I tour these small towns I see closed down main streets, unemployment, budget shortfalls.
“Extended families break apart because moms and dads need to find work in other states,” Turner said. “That’s nothing to celebrate.”
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