Energy Ink: read the articles

Winter 2014

Winter 2014 Editorial: Northern Plains Energy Ink Magazine is now just ENERGY INK MAGAZINE!


Before embarking on the task of launching Energy Ink Magazine in early 2013, we did some fairly exhaustive “groundwork” in determining whether or not a publication with our ambitious mindset would actually work.  In doing so, we chose a few potential names for the magazine.  The clear choice for us that would convey in simplest terms what we do was - Energy Ink Magazine.  The problem though in doing exhaustive prep work and research of any kind is that the little things can tend to get overlooked.  Initially, our search to ensure that no other publication had the name came up blank.  Frankly, we were surprised considering the simplicity of it.  But after prepping for our first issue, we discovered that in fact, an “online” company was using the name.  Since we’d already essentially begun using the name prior to our first issue, we decided to simply add the descriptors “Northern Plains” to it. 

We wish we’d gone with something else. The problem was the success of another organization that used ”Northern Plains” in its title – the “Northern Plains Resource Council.”  NPRC refers to themselves as a “grassroots conservation and family agriculture group”.  But to many in the energy industry, they are a liberal environmental action group… also referred to as a “thorn” in the side of regional fossil fuel energy development.  Energy Ink Magazine has no affiliation – no ties whatsoever - to this group, yet, due to the group’s constant “badgering” of the industry, whenever a truly conservative reader saw the inclusion of “Northern Plains” in our magazine’s title, we were often asked – “you’re not part of that liberal group are you?”  Even our advertisers and some of our distribution points had to field these questions on occasion. 

Energy Ink Magazine is (and if you are a regular reader, you should be aware of this) neither a liberal nor a conservative publication.  We pride ourselves in being politically centrist in approaching all topics related to the region’s energy industry.  Despite this fact, some of our liberal readers question then, if we truly are centrist, why do we more often than not stand in support of fossil fuel development?  As a centrist publication, we seek the truth of an issue through extensive research based inquiry.  We don’t start with a preconceived notion as to what we’ll find when posing a question – we simply let the facts speak to the truth.  For instance, in our last issue which focused on the coal industry, we asked the question, “is the federal government truly attempting to destroy the coal industry?”  We discovered, it is not.  But we were, and are, confident in saying that we believe the efforts of the administration at strangling the coal industry are part of a larger scheme to apply massive back-door taxes on the industry by reclaiming the failed “Cap and Trade” legislation from 2010.  We proved, by way of our centrist based inquiry, that coal can not be replaced by any other energy source in the next 20 years (at least) – especially by renewable resources - and thus, the destruction of the coal industry is simply not possible.  But we further spoke to the need of the coal industry to better market itself as their tactics of claiming job losses at the hands of the President were flatly false.  In fact, we discovered, coal mining jobs increased greatly under the first term his administration.  We also chose to challenge the industry to own the facts that it is indeed a major pollution producer rather than fighting the uphill battle of denial. In our conclusion, we acknowledged the less than ideal nature of burning fossil fuels for an energy independent nation, but we proved the wisdom of supporting the coal industry in that without it, our country simply can not survive.  Facts are facts… politics are…. Well, fill in the blank.

Regardless, the simple addition of two words - “Northern Plains” - had served to undermine our efforts at ensuring the public knew we did not lean toward any political angle. We must thus give a nod to the Northern Plains Resource Council on two fronts.  One, despite the fact that we indeed live in an area of the country called the “Northern Plains”, the NPRC has been so successful at angering some conservatives that to simply mention these two words together raises their ire. Honestly, it’s a bit of a bummer – the “Northern Plains” is a great place to live – not a political statement.  The second item of praise for the council is less sarcastic… and might not sound like praise at all.  It is my belief that the NPRC has been at the center of several energy debates in which they were not seeing the full picture.  Their arguments against fossil fuel development are, in my opinion, either lacking in research or are selectively reporting aspects of that research for their own political purposes.  However, the people of “the Northern Plains”, without question, need the NPRC.  Despite the aggravating nature of any seemingly extremist perspective, when that perspective is borne out of a truly grassroots action based work product in the true name of the welfare of a community or cause, then it must be applauded.  Hate them if you will, they must be acknowledged for their undying support of the region’s pristine environment (that which we all cherish).  Right or left of the political conversation, these types of organizations will often go to bat for a cause that needs and deserves support.  That style of tenacity though does go hand in hand with assaults on industrial development that are often unwarranted or not properly vetted for the facts.    

After all of this, our small family based publication had to search for better descriptors to precede “Energy Ink” to avoid any misunderstanding of our political slant.  We considered “High Plains Energy Ink”?  No, people may think we’re associated with “High Times Magazine”.  Maybe “Rocky Mountain Energy Ink”…   eh, Gillette isn’t exactly in the Rockies.  Finding a new name wasn’t looking good until giving our “Energy Ink” online peer another look:  it seems they are no longer producing their work.  Simple solution!  So, we can, and have, returned to our original namesake:
– the much less confusing, easier to say on the phone,
Energy Ink Magazine.

Eric Sharpe, Editor

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