Interview with Bill Herrington, Author of The Green Real Deal

What inspired you to write this book?

Bill Herrington The Green Real Deal
Bill Herrington The Green Real Deal

I was heading to my downtown Houston office in 2016 when I came upon a disturbing demonstration against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

It was personal for me. Forty years earlier, I was introduced on a summer pipeline job to an American-made industry and the hardy men who built it. I saw the pipeline construction business from the inside out, and it left an indelible respect for the work ethic of pipeliners and for the necessity of the industry.

From that humble start, I graduated from Louisiana State University and began a 35-year career in corporate banking and private equity, which included a focus on the energy service industry in south Louisiana and Texas.

But I never forgot my work as a common laborer on a pipeline forty years earlier. I appreciated the pipeline industry as a solid backbone of the United States, ensuring the necessary energy for our modern way of life, providing national security, supporting our strong economy, and providing stable careers for countless Americans and their families.

So, I was confused by the depiction of the industry as evil. The protestors said pipelines were harmful to the environment, were bad for Americans, and should be eliminated from the United States.

The protest led me to objectively reexamine my understanding of the industry and America. The Green Real Deal is based on personal experiences, national historical accounts, research, and investigations.

Where can readers purchase your books?

The Green Real Deal is available on Amazon in hardcover, paperback, audiobook, and e-book formats. Here is a direct link:

Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

You can connect with me on Twitter @bherrington713 or find out more on my website,

How many books have you written?

I’ve written two nationally award-winning books. In addition to my new release about U.S. energy, The Green Real Deal, I also wrote Contraflow, the 2017 memoir about the leadership I witnessed in Houston, Texas, after Hurricane Katrina.

Have any of your books been made into audiobooks? If so, what are the challenges in producing an audio book?

The audiobook was just released on Amazon for The Green Real Deal. The biggest challenge in producing the audiobook was selecting the right narrator. I wanted an authoritative voice that could cut through the confusion surrounding U.S. energy and convey the urgency with which Americans need to wake up to protect our nation. I was grateful to find the right voice in John Raynar.

What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

The key message of The Green Real is to expose plans like the Green New Deal as naive, unrealistic, and dangerous to our economic and national security. Our nation relied on U.S. oil to win WWII, and oil will continue to be necessary for the foreseeable future. Renewables alone have proven to be intermittent and insufficient in meeting our needs – we must lean on all the resources available to sustain our country, including fossil fuels, renewables, and nuclear energy.

Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?

One “secret” in the book is Russia’s misinformation campaign that was revealed in a 2018 House report. Putin had used propaganda and “useful idiots” to indirectly shape public opinion on American energy.

In 2018, the U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee provided evidence of how the Russian media campaign directly impacted our domestic energy and environmental policy. The Kremlin had unleashed propaganda against the oil and gas and the pipeline industry, and the Congressional report details extensive attempts to disseminate deceptive news on energy policy.

In 2015 alone, RT combatted America’s growing hydraulic fracturing industry by bombarding viewers with sixty-two different anti-fracking television stories and news reports. Additionally, a largely discredited anti-fracking documentary regularly aired around the world on Russia Today.

Over the next three years, thousands more Russian-backed posts or tweets regarding U.S. energy policy circulated across social media, about three posts on each platform daily. The campaign contributed to hostility toward pipelines, including DAPL and Keystone XL. Useful American idiots suspicious of the energy industry took the bait, unwittingly threatening an industry that is part of the very backbone of the United States, thus harming the health of the American economy. The Russians provided just enough truth in their firehose of falsehoods to allow protests to snowball into an international affair complicated by lawsuits and political opposition.

A closer examination of the campaign reveals Russia’s approach. Posts against DAPL incited fear of oil spills and highlighted the “brutalization” of Native Americans. One post, for example, showed a young girl peering out over an unspoiled prairie and read: “Love Water, Not Oil. Protect Our Mother. Stand with Standing Rock.” Another post depicted law enforcement officers clashing with protestors and said, “We’re about to celebrate Thanksgiving and tell schoolchildren we made peace with Native Americans while DAPL protestors are being tear-gassed.”

Tweets against Keystone XL made claims like “the Keystone Pipeline would transport some of the dirtiest fuel on this planet,” or “Keystone pipeline springs leak in South Dakota.” The campaign contributed to President Obama’s decision to halt Keystone XL and President Biden’s decision to revoke its permit again in 2021.

Along the way, Russian operatives were careful to avoid inadvertently uniting Americans by posting contentious viewpoints from across the political and ideological spectrum. Depending on the geographical region of the audience, some posts expressed concern about climate change while other posts mocked the possibility. One Russian account, for example, used a phony Texan identity to advocate for drilling and oil positions. It said, “I don’t care what ecologists say. Texas is the top oil-producing state, and I’m proud of it! Let’s douse the Yankees with it and then just throw a burning match.”

The Kremlin’s information war against the West worked its way across the country, influencing public opinion in both Russia and America. In the Motherland, Putin’s propaganda against the West centered on a steady message: he impressed on his people that Americans were trying to destroy their way of life. By the time of the Ukrainian invasion, action by the Russian president was not seen as aggressive but necessary to stand up for themselves.

Meanwhile, in America, the campaign turned public opinion against fossil fuel projects like the Sabal Trail Pipeline and led to resolutions to cut the financing of others, including the Colonial Pipeline, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, and Enbridge Inc.’s Line 5. The United States became a divided nation as Russia leveraged our own people and resources against each other.

Russia has been trying to thwart the American energy market because it’s threatened. America’s growing shale oil and natural gas supplies compete with Russia’s natural gas in Europe. This competition is partly why Putin is increasingly belligerent toward the West—and why the Russians are trying so hard to covertly stop or hinder pipeline projects in the West.

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

Green Real Deal Bill Herrington
Green Real Deal Bill Herrington

I want readers to understand the linkage between American energy independence and U.S. national and economic security. The call to keep fossil fuels in the ground is unrealistic, endangers our nation, and undermines our economy. We can develop a greener, common-sense approach that is based on practicality, not ideology, which means admitting our need for a more diverse solution than 100-percent renewables – a balanced path forward based on the following five tenets:

Accept that fossil fuels and the pipelines that transport them are critical to our national and economic security.

Protect our forests from irresponsible destruction.

Sensibly expand renewables and rare earth mineral supply chain.

Make coal cleaner and discourage new coal plants where feasible.

Commit to increased nuclear research and development.

I hope readers will address our energy challenges by partnering with people we haven’t partnered with before, collaborating with industry to improve greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment, unleashing visionaries, cultivating bold business ideas, and developing technological innovations.

And I hope readers can remember where we came from. In a history threatened by the Nazis and totalitarian regimes, our nation was strengthened by the unification of government and private industry. We were victorious in WWII because of pipelines that delivered oil in time for the greatest generation of Americans to defeat Hitler. And we can rely on our natural resources to withstand oppressive countries today, too.

Together, we can move forward to create a better energy solution and a Green Real Deal.

What is the significance of the title?

It’s a play on the title of The Green New Deal, the 2019 congressional resolution that laid out a grand plan to address greenhouse gas emissions, but it also included sprawling provisions to fix broader perceived societal problems. For all of the publicity and rhetoric surrounding the Green New Deal, surprisingly few people seem to know exactly what it really says or includes. The Green Real Deal outlines what the resolution includes and sets out to explain why this plan is not only full of empty promises – it’s actually dangerous for our national security and environment.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?

The key challenge was presenting every aspect of a complex, current news story fairly and accurately. To accomplish this enormous task, I spent years detailing personal experiences, national historical accounts, research, and investigations. I tested my findings on beta readers to check for gaps in my information. And I scrambled to include events as they were unfolding to ensure the book is as updated and current as possible.

Excerpt from The Green Real Deal

Early one morning, American Indians walked quietly through the plains of North Dakota. Others rode horses, their faces streaked with paint and their jaws clenched in determination as they neared the battlefront. Members from more than two hundred tribes were banding together against a common enemy, a collaboration the likes of which had not been seen since the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876.

But this wasn’t 1876. It was 2016.

This wasn’t the old-fashioned battle of rifles and archery led by Crazy Horse. It was a modern-day battle at a construction site, led by a new generation of tribal chiefs.

And the common enemy wasn’t General George Armstrong Custer and the U.S. Cavalry. It was the pipeline industry and the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172-mile pipeline that the American Indians scornfully labeled “the poisonous black snake.”

A previously obscure industry was under siege and in the crosshairs of protestors and their supporters. It became a surprisingly fierce, wide-ranging war, one that attracted worldwide attention and galvanized international support for the American Indians, who could not have predicted the wild growth or the disturbing implications of the protest.

The protest escalated into violence that shocked even veteran reporters. As crowds crammed onto the construction site, people pushed, threw rocks and sticks, and set fires that led to restraining orders and hundreds of arrests.

Environmentalists fanned the tension by taking to social media and attempting to cut off support to pipeliners by publicly shaming and blacklisting banks that financed them. Celebrities responded by circulating petitions. Political leaders added to the fray by taking photographs of their own vandalism of the pipeline.

In the aftermath, the country’s outlook regarding pipelines abruptly changed. It no longer seemed to matter that the pipeline industry was part of our nation’s framework for 150 years and had served as the crux of the U.S. victory in World War II. It didn’t matter that 2.6 million miles of pipelines were supplying energy across all fifty states. And it didn’t matter that millions of American jobs were sustained by pipelines and natural gas products as our country was kept competitive and diversified. An opposition fueled by environmentalists gained a foothold in the minds of Americans.

Buy The Green Real Deal on Amazon here.

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