Many, if not all, of the candidates for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination have objections to the oil and gas industry, and one organization thinks they ought to be careful about what they say and do.
"If their agenda actually came to fruition, the American voter would turn against them so quickly they'd be out of power for a long time," says Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance. "Their rhetoric against us has been, I would say, disheartening."
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has stated on more than one occasion that he is in favor of taking fossil fuel companies to criminal court.
"To be called criminals for providing a legal product that enables pretty much every facet of modern society is not comfortable, but it's been out there a long time, and we just thought it was time to answer back," Sgamma says.
That "answer" came last week in an open letter to 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidates. It was printed in The New York Times.
"We purposely in our ad chose a picture of a little boy reading by a lantern, probably a solar-powered lantern, but he is doing his homework, and it's clear that he doesn't have enough light," explains Sgamma. "Once that solar-powered battery runs out for the night, he better have his homework done."
This child in the photo is just one of many young people in the world today.
"There are people that like that little boy trying to better their lives, trying to get an education, and if they don't have access to that reliable electricity, well, then maybe they don't have opportunities we have in the West," the Alliance president poses. "We want the entire world to benefit from the lifestyle that we enjoy in the West."
Speaking of the West, Sgamma points out that oil and gas production is a big provider of jobs in five states that are part of "Super Tuesday."
"These are not only the direct jobs in the industry, but the GDP and wealth that we create on behalf of the American people means their energy prices are low, that there are jobs because we're providing a productive product, and we're not sending $350 billion a year overseas importing an energy from Saudi Arabia and Russia," Sgamma continues. "If candidates want to say they don't want any oil and natural gas and they want to put the American producer out of work, well, the American citizen isn't going to put up with not being able to drive to work and school, with not having reliable 24/7 electricity. So what would we do? We would just import that energy from overseas."
Meanwhile, Sgamma credits oil and gas production for providing more than just energy.
"It keeps medicine in the medicine cabinet and sustains people," she says. "We wouldn't have the information technology without oil and natural gas, because everything from the computer chip to the plastics in your smartphone or in your computer are made with petroleum products."