"George P. Mitchell: Fracking, Sustainability, and an Unorthodox Quest to Save the Planet"
Loren Steffy, Author, 30 Point Strategies
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November 18, 11:30 to 1pm, Petroleum Club of Lafayette. Joint meeting with AADE and LGS.
When George Mitchell died in 2013, The Economist proclaimed, “few business people have done as much to change the world as George Mitchell,” a billionaire Texas oilman who defied the stereotypical swagger so identified with that industry. He did more than any other individual since John D. Rockefeller to alter the economics of oil. In George P. Mitchell: Fracking, Sustainability, and an Unorthodox Quest to Save the Planet, award-winning author Loren C. Steffy offers the first definitive biography of Mitchell, placing his life and legacy in a global context and highlighting the significance of his discoveries and the lingering controversies they inspired.
Mitchell will forever be known as “the father of fracking,” but he didn’t invent the drilling process; he perfected it and made it profitable. He pursued its use for seventeen years to save his company and inadvertently unleashed an era of energy abundance, transforming America from being dependent on foreign oil to being one of the world’s biggest producers of oil and natural gas. Anyone who puts fuel in a tank or turns on a light switch has benefited from Mitchell’s efforts.
Later, Mitchell worried about how the industry would handle his innovations—drilling without regard for the environment or the communities in which they operated. His concern for communities was genuine. Long before his company ever fracked a well, he pioneered sustainable development by creating The Woodlands, near Houston, one of the first and most successful master-planned communities. Its focus on environmental protection and livability redefined the American suburb. This apparent contradiction between his energy interests and environmental pursuits, which his son Todd dubbed “the Mitchell Paradox,” was just one of many that defined Mitchell’s life. Mitchell himself seemed at ease with these conflicting ideas, perhaps because for his entire life he had always been a quiet contrarian.
This compelling biography reveals Mitchell as a modern renaissance man who sought to make the world a better, more livable place and whose unbounded intellectual curiosity led him to support a wide range of interests in business, science and philanthropy.
Loren Steffy's latest book, George P. Mitchell: Fracking, Sustainability, and an Unorthodox Quest to Save the Planet, was published in October 2019. He is the author to two other books, The Man Who Thought Like a Ship, published by Texas A&M University Press in April 2012, and Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit, published by McGraw-Hill in 2010.
Steffy is a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly and a managing director for the communications firm 30 Point Strategies, where heads the 30 Point Press publishing imprint. For nine years, Steffy was the business columnist for the Houston Chronicle, and his writing has been published in newspapers and other publications nationwide. He has appeared on CNBC, Fox Business, MSNBC, the BBC and the PBS NewsHour, and is regular guest on local television and radio news programs in Houston.
Steffy is a four-time finalist for the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, the business news equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. He has received numerous awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the press clubs of Dallas and Houston, the Dallas Bar Association, the Associated Press Managing Editors and the Hearst Corporation.
Before joining the Chronicle, Steffy was the Dallas bureau chief and a senior writer for Bloomberg News for 12 years. He covered a variety of business topics in Texas and across the country, including the collapse of Enron. His reporting on the demise of Arthur Andersen was selected for the 2003 edition of the "Best Business Stories of the Year." Before joining Bloomberg, Steffy worked at the Dallas Times Herald, the Dallas Business Journal and the Arlington Daily News. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Texas A&M University and lives in Wimberley, Texas
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