Shutting down free speech: A Udall family tradition

Marita Noon 2013 greyEach week I write an energy-themed commentary. The topic on which I write is generally something that my readers—even those in the energy industry—don’t know about. I frequently get grateful responses for the information, education, and deadlines addressed.

One reader reported that when my column comes out each week in his local paper, he takes it into the shop and passes it around for all the guys to read: “I’ve been in this industry all my life, and I know we’ve done a poor job explaining what we do and educating people. That’s what you do. It is good for my guys to know that there is someone out there who is looking out for them and their jobs. Plus, reading your column gives them a perspective on the industry that is bigger than their individual job roles. Thanks for what you do!”

Another offered this complement: “You have carved a really nice little niche out for yourself. Each week when I read your column, I think ‘I should know this stuff’—but I don’t. I appreciate the effort you put into keeping us informed about what is going on in the energy world. There is no one else doing what you do and you do it really well.”

In the eight years that I have been preaching my unique brand of energy evangelism, I’ve slammed agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; laws, such as the Endangered Species Act; and lawmakers for the energy-killing policies in which they engage.

My ultimate goal is to ensure that Americans have access to energy that is efficient, effective, and, most importantly, economical. I hope to provide a counterbalance to the plethora of propaganda promoted by the White House and green movement that propagates the fairytale that we can power America on butterflies, rainbows, and pixie dust.

I believe my work—along with a growing chorus of others—is making an impact.

Recently the Wall Street Journal featured an article, in a small business supplement, titled: “Small Firms Are Downplaying Their Green Side.” It pointed out that using “green” in marketing was no longer effective, and, in fact, “the eco-friendly tag can stir up negative feelings for many.”

Polls repeatedly place global warming—or, climate change as policy proponents now like to call it—at the bottom of the list of issues on which the government should be focused. One particularly interesting poll done by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette concluded: “environmental activists still face a significant challenge in recruiting deep public support for government actions such as the greenhouse gas regulations recently promulgated by the Obama administration.”

I can do what I do, because this is America, and in America, we have free speech.

In Colorado, an organization called Coloradoans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED) launched an aggressive campaign to educate the state about the role of the energy industry on jobs, economic development, and the safety of hydraulic fracturing. Its effort changed public opinion in the state to the point that candidates, such as Governor Hickenlooper and Senator Mark Udall, were so afraid of the Democrat-sponsored anti-energy initiatives that they made a backroom deal to have them removed from the ballot. Polls now show that only 34 percent of Coloradans oppose hydraulic fracturing. But the partisan divide on the issue indicated that having the anti-energy initiatives on the ballot, would drive Republicans to vote in November. The Democrat candidates feared losing their re-election bids. I wrote about it last month.

The Colorado public education campaign could be waged, because this is America, and in America, we have free speech.

Given the collapse of public popularity for issues Democrats like the Senators Udall favor, it is no surprise that while “Rome is burning,” they have been in Washington, DC, spending a week of debate fiddling around with the First Amendment—the one that allows free speech. Both Cousins, Senator Mark Udall, and my Senator, Tom Udall, voted to shut-up their constituents.

As with most of my columns, where I aim to draw attention to under-reported issues that impact access to energy, you likely didn’t even know the vote took place last week. Sadly, with everything going on the world, the national media didn’t report that your first amendment rights—and their rights—were being threatened.

With important issues pressing in on America such as border security, terrorism, and energy access like approving the Keystone pipeline, why would my Senator, Tom Udall, spend so much time on something that has no chance of passing in the Senate, let alone the House? If you take a closer look, Udall’s proposed amendment would significantly impact the energy industry’s ability to communicate with voters about issues like hydraulic fracturing, public lands exploration, water use, and environmental protection. It would limit the voices of royalty owners, industry employees, and everyday citizens who value energy development.

Obviously, it’s about getting re-elected—rather than working for issues that matter to his constituents. Somehow, he thinks being able to say that he cast a “yes” vote on his doomed, proposed Constitutional Amendment (Senate Joint Resolution 19)—which would be the 28th and could limit my free speech, and that of groups like CRED—will drive his base to the polls. (Fortunately, it failed to pass—for the third time—even in the Democrat-controlled Senate.) Instead, his attempt to limit free speech should motivate his opposition. Don’t let the Udalls muzzle me—or others like me.

This is still America, and in America, as the Supreme Court affirmed, we have free speech.


The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

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