July 30, 2008
Dear Fellow Alabamians:
I have been hearing a lot lately about a Texas oil man, T. Boone Pickens, who apparently has a plan to help our nation achieve energy independence in the coming years. It is great that Mr. Pickens is doing this and shows him to be a true leader of the sort for which our country has been in great need.
I would like to suggest a local addition to Mr. Pickens’ plan that we Alabamians could enact very soon and insure a healthy energy economy for ourselves and our children in the coming years. Just as Mr. Pickens suggests the construction of alternative energy facilities in the Great Plains region, I suggest the State of Alabama, as a condition to the renewal of any additional oil or gas leases in our state waters, insist that the companies to whom we are selling our non-renewable mineral interests build for us Alabamians a wind energy terminal off the coast of Alabama. Congress has put a halt to additional drilling off of our coast lines, but to my knowledge there is no reason we could not force these oil companies, who have recorded record profits over the past year to build a wind energy terminal in the Gulf of Mexico for the future well being of our state and to replace for our state the non renewable resources which they have been removing from our submerged lands for the last thirty years.
In all fairness, these oil companies are paying significant royalties to the state and contributing significantly to the state coffers. However, judging by the record profits in the past year, they can afford to do a lot more for our state if we are going to continue to sell them our oil and natural gas. A wind energy terminal would be the best thing for our state’s future well being. It could eventually grow to be big enough to provide energy for all of Alabama’s electricity needs, as well as the needs of some of our less prepared neighbor states. In other words, when Alabama’s wind energy terminal is pumping out more energy than Alabama is consuming, we can sell the additional energy to other power companies on the grid, which are not as fortunate as the State of Alabama to have power to spare. This income, or a portion thereof, could be returned to the State of Alabama’s General Fund, Education Trust Fund or a new Fund established for expansion and maintenance of the Alabama Wind Energy Terminal (AWET).
This concept occurred to me four years ago, but now it is time for us to take action. The market conditions and public sentiment are in the right place to make this happen now. I am glad that Mr. T. Boone Pickens is making the construction of wind farms into something realistic and mainstream here in the United States of America. I truly believe that here in Alabama, we are fortunate to have the leverage to force these oil and gas companies to do this for our state because we know that they are generating billions of dollars in revenue from their Alabama leases alone. They will not walk away from that revenue. When any Alabama offshore oil or gas lease expires or comes up for renewal from this point forth, we should insist as a state that our Alabama Oil and Gas Board and our State government as a whole establish a new trust fund dedicated to the construction of a new Alabama Wind Energy Terminal and require substantial contributions to the AWET Trust fund for every cubic foot of gas that is removed from our state’s submerged lands. If we do not take such action now, in a very few years we will find ourselves with a critically depleted reserve of natural gas and not much to show for the resources we did have prior to selling them to the oil and gas companies. If we do make this happen, our future will hold the promise of energy independence, economic health and continued improvement of our quality of life in the coming century. Without abundant energy resources, we could very easily begin losing ground in our constant effort to improve the quality and enjoyablity of modern living. Let us not continue to sell some of our most valuable assets to the oil companies without insisting that they return the favor by replacing them with a wind energy terminal that can sustain our energy needs when our gas is gone.
Please contact you state senator, local legislator, our governor or the members of the Alabama Oil and Gas Board about this issue and tell them how important it is that we insist that the Oil and Gas Companies build this terminal for our state as a condition of renewal for any leases on our state’s gas fields.
God Bless Alabama,
J. Daniel Dyas
CC: Governor Bob Riley
Alabama State Capitol
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, Alabama 36130
Mr. Jim Griggs, Alabama Oil and Gas Board
Mr. Charles “Ward” Pearson, Alabama Oil and Gas Board
Ms. Rebecca Wright Pritchett, Alabama Oil and Gas Board
Mr. Berry H. “Nick” Tew, Jr., State Geologist for Alabama Oil and Gas Board
The Alabama Oil and Gas Board
420 Hackberry Lane
P.O. Box 869999
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35486-6999