Watching a parade of migrating whales as they leap and frolic in the warm waters off Honolulu, it’s worth remembering that these creatures owe their very survival to a much-derided 19th century Pennsylvania oil driller named Edwin Drake. His story should reassure present-day pessimists of the near miraculous power of technological advancement and pursuit of profit to save the environment.
That power is often obscured by controversies that seem to suggest an inevitable conflict between development and technology on the one hand and efforts to protect the environment on the other. The ferocious fight over the Keystone XL Pipeline offers only one prominent example, but the unheralded history of U.S. oil production provides a crucial corrective.
Read the full column in USA TODAY.