For the last 15 years, Bruce Driver ’67 has been helping the American West strike the right balance between protecting its natural resources and preparing to meet its future energy needs. As executive director of Western Resource Advocates, a position he retired from in June, Driver oversaw three programs that, among other things, attempted to influence the behavior of companies conducting extraction operations on energy-rich public lands. “We don’t want to keep them out of there,” Driver says. “We just want to make sure it’s being done right.”
Driver, who also serves the environmental cause as an advocate and lawyer, spent the early 1970s on Capitol Hill advising politicians on environmental issues before “going downtown” to the Federal Energy Administration and the U.S. Department of Energy, where he encouraged energy conservation at the state level. But change was slow, so in 1985 he relocated to Colorado, where the audience was receptive to his ideas.
Since heading west, Driver has been particularly successful at catalyzing a movement in eight western states to build wind turbines to generate electric power. “Part of our success comes from being there at the right time and riding the crest of a wave,” he says. “But we also had a part in creating that wave.”