OKLAHOMA CITY — A film shown Saturday as part of the deadCENTER Film Festival drew only a few dozen spectators — but that’s fine. It tells a story that has found a “niche” audience, and will eventually expand to many more.
Since the 1970s, Robert A. Hefner III has pressed for more rapid development of America’s natural gas resources. He pioneered deep drilling techniques in western Oklahoma, finding “NatGas” far deeper than most scientists and many producers through possible.
Although Hefner is a social liberal and has often supported Democrats over the years, Democratic President Jimmy Carter suppressed the growth of Natural Gas in the late 1970s — a drastic and ultimately disastrous policy decision to prevent the use of “limited” NatGas in power plants.
In those years and again in the 1980s, Hefner testified before Congress, documenting repeatedly that “there’s gas out there,” but being rebuffed by policymakers. Finally, in the late Reagan presidency, the resource began to open up.
Hefner has long since won the argument about whether there are large supplies of NatGas still in the ground, but for the past decade-plus, he’s moved into high gear on advocating policies to shift the country away from solid and liquid sources of energy and into the promising “bridge fuel to our sustainable future,” natural gas.