A reader of John R. Miller’s book, Little Did We Know, will note that history repeats itself. Some 40 years later, the barriers faced by the builders of TAPS are still with us today. Mr. Miller says that watching our nation’s energy stance or lack thereof, is like déjà vu all over again. He is fond of quoting Sir Winston Churchill: “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—but only after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.”
Since the 1960s, the United States has not made meaningful progress toward its objective of energy independence, and today the nation still lacks a cohesive energy policy. The consequences of doing nothing are neither emphasized nor as well understood as the consequences of doing something. Environmental and other challenges cause costly delays to projects aimed at producing domestic sources of energy—think Keystone Pipeline. This lack of a cohesive energy policy profoundly and adversely affects our nation’s standard of living, balance of trade, and national security.
To successfully accomplish their objective of financing Sohio’s Alaskan venture, Mr. Miller and his small band of cohorts took many approaches, some untested and novel. A question Mr. Miller’s book indirectly raises is whether the current generation of oil and gas industry executives will be granted the opportunity to try new approaches and do the right thing in their own way, as they strive to achieve energy self sufficiency for the United States.