America’s Energy Infrastructure

Dear Mr. Trump,

I was a US Marine from 2007 to 2015. I flew CH-53E helicopters in the Marine Corps and completed two tours to Afghanistan. I completed my service as a Captain. I graduated from Ohio State with an electrical engineering degree in 2006. I am a civilian now, and I am happy that I will be starting a business in Columbus, Ohio in your de-regulated America.

I am a life-time Republican and I still find myself cheering for Republicans like I cheer for Cleveland sports teams. I just do. It’s in my blood. I especially relished your victory because of the brash exposure of phony politicians, and insidious media bias. Unlike a cheering fan, however, I no longer align with Republicans on every issue.

I read your two-page 100-day action plan as well as The Art of the Deal. I agree with almost everything on the action plan and I am encouraged that it will be executed by the competent team that you are assembling.

The one item that sticks out like a sore thumb, however, is your energy policy. Putting Americans to work producing $50 trillion worth of domestic energy reserves like shale, oil, natural gas, and “clean” coal would be like spending millions of dollars to refurbish the brick façade of the Commodore Hotel. It is uninspiring, unimaginitive, and small-thinking. This stated initiative is especially disappointing because of the contrast with what could be. A state-of-the-art energy infrastructure that favors renewable sources and efficiency is the modern-day equivalent of having the world’s tallest building, which as I’m sure you are painfully aware, we no longer possess.

We could build the world’s tallest building, but we don’t because it is not worth doing. Creating an energy infrastructure in America that wins in measures like efficiency, per-capita consumption, and reduced reliance on limited natural resources, especially foreign sources, is worth doing. Energy acquisition and production is not just an environmental issue. It is an important economic, national defense, and national security issue. We spend trillions, and commit forces around the world to secure trade routes to attain energy from countries with whom we would otherwise rather not deal at all. Energy is an issue that every country in the world faces, and it is not going away.

This would require challenging the very American voters who elected you as president. Some of the policies would be controversial and potentially unpopular. However, to your credit in my opinion, this has never stopped you. Leading the world with the truly best energy infrastructure would require cultural buy-in at the most basic level. Such a cultural shift would have to be led by an independent initiator with a grass-roots following and credibility on the issue. Politicians quoting scientists telling us that melting ice and arguably-measurable increases in storm intensity will never assign the imporance that it deserves. The various other reasons to undertake these projects are more directly visible and more important anyway.

This would require innovation. I hardly have to say that America is great and always has been because of our ability to innovate. We are up to it if anybody is up to it.

This would be difficult. We fought a civil war to save the union and end the evils of slavery—difficult, but the right thing to do. We were the deciding factor in both world wars—difficult, but the right thing to do. President Kennedy challenged America in 1961 to reach the moon by the end of the decade—difficult, but we got there first, and on time. Opening the floodgates to easy energy would be predictable, boring, and easy. All three of those things are un-Trump and un-American.

We need new energy infrastructure projects, but we shouldn’t be dusting off the old brick façades from 1970. Our infrastructure is already big. It should be innovative, efficient, shiny, and new. It should win in every category and by every measure. It can and should be built by competent American private businesses with leaders like yourself, incentivized by natural market forces. We can. It is worth doing, and it is the right thing to do.

Nathan Ruffing

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