The drilling industry has been tied to the environment for its entire history. From our ancestors digging a shallow hole in a stream bed to find water in the Olduvi gorge, to the ancient Chinese drilling for generations to make a salt well, mankind always has striven to understand and exploit the world around them. Drillers specialize in the resources under the surface. For this reason, drillers usually are better stewards of the environment than the well-meaning, but ignorant, leaders that have been foisted upon us.

For instance, in the American West, when the Oglala Aquifer was discovered, it brought irrigation water to the Great Plains, and made it one of the most productive in the world. This aquifer was discovered during the western expansion of the railroads. Steam trains needed a lot of water. Drillers built steam-powered rigs that were transportable by train to drill water supply wells for the railroad. A lot of drillers made a good living doing this. A fairly successful company, Layne, started this way, and still is around today. People soon found that everywhere there was a well, a town sprang up. Soon people moved a few miles out of town onto farmland and needed water too. The drillers built more portable rigs to satisfy the need. They knew where the water was. As development took place, farmers realized that they could greatly increase their output by irrigation, and the boom was on.

As time went on, and more wells were drilled, the drillers started to notice that they had to go a little deeper to make a well. It probably occurred to some old, grizzled driller that an aquifer is much like a bank account: You can’t take more out than you put in for very long. At first, the drillers, being drillers, kept this information to themselves, lest someone else ‘get-it-all-knowd-up’, and get ahead of them. Then one day a driller looked at his son coming up in the business, and thought, “What if there isn’t any water when he takes over?” Their first reaction was to quietly tell their customers to conserve as much as they could, it isn’t unlimited. Farmers, being farmers, still wanted to make a profit and have a better yield than their neighbors, and pretty much ignored them. Eventually, the drillers knew it had to be said out loud. State governments, which at the time (like always) thought they controlled pretty much everything within their purview, were interested. They started to set limits on wells drilled, withdrawal rates, and all sorts of other regulations, whether we needed them or not. The water levels in the Oglala still are falling, but at a slower rate; maybe we will have enough water to last until we figure out a better way. The point: The drillers were the first, albeit, reluctant environmentalists on the Great Plains. If this sounds like a good idea for a screenplay and there are any producers out there, I’m available.

Now we come to the 21st century. People who truly care about the environment are drowned out by people with an agenda. The least harmful of them mean well, but the unintended consequences outweigh the good. Beyond them are people whose agenda is to stifle all progress while enriching themselves. These are the people who would have outlawed fire, if it were invented today, as too dangerous for the unwashed masses. They don’t trust anything they don’t understand, and boy, do they not understand a lot. “Profit” has turned into a dirty word to be replaced by such progressive concepts as giving back and sharing.

Understanding the modern environmental movement makes some of their latest scams clear. Take global warming, and its illegitimate son, Cap-And-Trade, as an example. The purported reason for this is to limit the amount of carbon dioxide that we put into the atmosphere to mitigate a natural phenomenon – great. Climates are cyclic – always have been, always will be. Based on dubious science, the environmentalists have decided that anybody who makes a profit must somehow be held responsible and made to pay. They have conveniently neglected to tell us that while our planet may be warming to a small degree, others are, too. Our nearest neighbor, Mars, is encountering the same phenomenon. We sent satellites and landers up there, and in spite of years of searching, couldn’t find one Hummer on its way to Wal-Mart.

Now we’ve got the Chicago Carbon Exchange. (Why, lately, is it always Chicago? Well, it takes the heat off New Orleans for a while.) They’ve got a scheme where they buy and sell carbon credits – not carbon, just credits. It works something like this: If you promise to plant a bunch of trees (never mind you were going to do it anyway), you can sell the carbon credit to the exchange. They can then take the paper carbon and sell it to someone who feels guilty that their carbon footprint is too big, like Hollywood actresses, former vice presidents and other ner-do-wells. Nothing really happens except that paper gets shuffled, and otherwise productive capital disappears down a rathole. You can’t buy or sell carbon credits unless you have a seat on the exchange. These seats are so valuable that wealthy philanthropists like George Soros and Goldman Sachs have invested billions for the right to trade imaginary commodities – all at the expense of productive members of society, all except the two largest producers of carbon dioxide, China and India; of course, they’ve got to be allowed to catch up.

If you really want to see where all this is headed, follow the money. After the economy is throttled and your lifestyle is ruined, go outside and see if the air is any clearer or the water is any purer. Even without government regulation, most of us wouldn’t shoot the last Passenger Pigeon.