Thomas S. Mullikin


Thomas S. Mullikin photo
Thomas S. Mullikin is an environmental attorney, author, and professor of Marine Science at Coastal Carolina University. He has traveled to many of Earth’s most remote regions in his lifelong quest to better understand and help develop new energy solutions.

Most Recent Articles by Thomas S. Mullikin:

Term limits need to be reality; not simply campaign rhetoric

Feb 20, 2017 — Thomas S. Mullikin

Term limits is a phrase often tossed around by politicians at all levels of government. But a concept that is rarely debated or voted on in Congress.



Most people have forgotten that congressional term limits was actually in the 1994 Contract with America’s “Citizen Legislature Act” proposal by then Speaker Newt Gingrich and other Republican leaders.

Republicans have controlled both houses of Congress the majority of the 22 years since 1995. With that in mind, the fact that no federal term limits bill has been passed in either chamber during this time-frame speaks to the root of the problem. The truth is candidates for office like to talk about term limits, but that somehow changes once they are elected. Don’t get me wrong, these term limits supporters didn’t turn into hypocrites overnight; it is unfortunately a slow but effective process.



Life is a journey, not a destination

Jun 23, 2016 — Thomas S. Mullikin

Sheer grit, dig-down-deep determination, and a fortitude not matched by most of the toughest men I’ve ever known, were the all-encompassing descriptions – perhaps the only adequate ones – I felt as I watched retired and disabled U.S. Army Green Berets ascending and descending the great Denali (Mt. McKinley), Alaska.  The expedition up the mountain was not only unforgettable; but in many ways a once-in-a-lifetime experience; proving once again that it’s not always the objective gained, but the quest to achieve it (And this I say from the standpoint of having achieved many objectives both in terms of great summits climbed around the world and other harsh, unforgiving environs explored). 

From the outset – even in preplanning stages – the Denali expedition was an adventure in the purest sense. Any experienced climber will tell you that any such planning, conditioning, flying into base, and ascending would have to be for a mountain like Denali. And this year, 2016, Denali has proven to be very unforgiving. A mere 18 percent of the climbers as we arrived at Base Camp had made the summit – with two deaths. One unfortunate climber fell to his death this year, and one (not a member of our group) died of high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE) while we were on the mountain.  From base to summit, Denali rises nearly 18,000 feet, the largest elevation gain of any mountain on earth. It is also the most northerly of any mountain over 20,000 feet; with a northern latitude of 63 degrees.

A Tale of Two Cities: Denton versus Stillwater – An issue too important to lose

Dec 31, 2015 — Thomas S. Mullikin

The U.S. is in the midst of new revolution comparable in scale and impact to other historical shifts that have frankly changed the world. This 21st-century revolution – the shale energy revolution – has impacted global energy markets and balances-of-power much like the internal-combustion engine did during the industrial revolution of the 19th century and as fiber-optics did in the digital revolution of the late 20th century.

Traditionally, oil and gas resources in the U.S. have been produced by way of a vertical drilling process that sought to tap hydrocarbon resources contained in naturally formed pockets or “traps.” Mastering this traditional production process allowed America to become a global leader in early oil and gas production, but the American leadership position began to wane midway through the 20th century as American consumption soared past production in economic expansion during the 1950s and 1960s. Meanwhile the energy center of gravity shifted to the Middle East as massive Arab and Persian fields ramped up production of cheap oil.

South Carolina’s military culture and the October flood

Nov 10, 2015 — Thomas S. Mullikin

Years ago, reading Pat Conroy’s best-selling novel, The Lords of Discipline, I was struck by the single line – “No Southern man is complete without a tenure under military rule.” Not all Southerners serve, have served, or will ever serve their country. And today it is only a very small percentage of Americans overall who have served or will ever serve in the armed forces.

Nevertheless, Conroy’s line speaks to many of us hailing from the South, and to an even greater degree those of us from the Palmetto State. At no time more than during the recent response to the massive flooding event has this interest in serving been so apparent. This event produced heavy and historically damaging rainfall across our state.

Energy Security: America Must Act

Feb 14, 2015 — Thomas S. Mullikin

The U.S. is experiencing an energy revolution thanks to dogged persistence and innovative minds of modern energy pioneers like the late George P. Mitchell. “Few businesspeople have done as much to change the world as George [P.] Mitchell,” reported The Economist in 2013.

The vital nexus of energy, water, and national security

Feb 4, 2015 — Thomas S. Mullikin

The U.S. currently maintains some 160,000 military personnel in approximately 150 countries worldwide with the majority serving in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. This number does not include the thousands of troops involved in singular contingency operations at any time around the globe. All total, more than 2.6 million Americans have served in the Global War on Terrorism since 9/11, with many of these men and women serving multiple deployments.

A vital means of reversing foreign oil dependency

Jan 27, 2015 — Thomas S. Mullikin

Energy – especially availability and most especially foreign oil dependency – is a huge national concern. In the aggregate, energy is perhaps the greatest of all concerns related to American national security. If we look at foreign oil dependency alone, we see that the U.S. spends hundreds of billions of dollars each year on energy imports, with much of this energy imported from Middle Eastern nations.