by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
Dave was recruited by Union Oil when he was fourteen in 1969. The Santa Barbara Oil Spill had taken place. It was a public relations disaster for the entire industry.
At the time, Dave planned to be an astronomer. This changed when Union Oil's 'scouting representatives' walked into his class, announcing they were looking for 'young scientists' to participate in an exciting program and teach them about the future of modern technology.
At the time, Dave was completing his work to become an Eagle Scout. He was a natural recruit to sell the good intentions of Union Oil. Scripts of well-honed lies were provided to Dave and his fellow recruits.
Dave was a trusting kid, excited by the attention and promised opportunities. Union Oil took over his life. In college they decided which classes he would take and how his time would be spent. During summer vacation he worked for them, carrying out highly responsible work. He never made a mistake twice.
Twenty years later Dave Lincoln had worked for every major oil company on every continent. He was earning a six figure salary, handling relations with foreign nations, and locating oil reservoirs and planning pipelines. But he still believed it was his duty to ensure the environment was not harmed.
He had started writing reports showing corporate management how problems could be handled without causing harm.
In 1996, sitting in a high level management meeting on a Nuclear Power Plant for India he heard Ken Lay, Enron President, say, “if they don’t like the way we conduct our business we'll just replace their politicians.” Lay continued, “If those people in India didn’t like the price we charge for electricity we can have the State Dept. and the US Army explain it to them.”
These same strategies were outlined in John Perkin's book, Confessions of an Economic Hitman.
Dave walked away from his job. Returning to the US he discovered environmental groups, and those who ran them, were also focused on their bottom line. Most receive huge funding from Big Oil. But Dave was able to stop irresponsible development when, and where, he was allowed to do so.
The Keystone is uneconomic, poised to produce oil at $70 when Saudi Arabia can do it for $10. Can Dave stop the Keystone? One man against Big Oil with the power of billions of dollars behind them? Watch and find out.