Shit The Oil and Gas Industry Says, What Free Speech Edition

The world’s smallest violin.

A story from the Denver Business Journal’s Cathy Proctor, reporting from the Colorado Oil & Gas Association’s annual meeting is provoking…shall we say animated feedback from the industry’s critics, after COGA’s CEO Dan Haley (formerly of the Denver Post) turned his keynote into a bizarre and defensive spectacle that we do believe very few outside the oil and gas industry would find ingratiating:

The head of Colorado’s biggest oil and gas association drew a line in the sand Thursday at the Colorado Oil & Gas Association annual meeting.

“We will not be bullied,” Dan Haley, COGA’s president and CEO, said during a speech at the association’s annual luncheon that draws senior industry executives, elected local officials and legislators. [Pols emphasis]

Saying that the industry works hard to safely supply energy to the state, nation and world, Haley issued a call for the industry to speak up and “reject” negative caricatures of the sector.

“We care because Colorado belongs to all of us, not just the loudest voice in the community meetings,” he said.

Dan Haley.

And then it got even weirder, with Haley actually calling for private citizens to be “reprimanded” for their testimony before the Colorado General Assembly:

“We’ve been called rapists and meth heads in public testimony at the legislature and those people saying that have not been gaveled out of order or reprimanded,” he said. [Pols emphasis]

We suppose the occasional judicious gaveling when things get out of hand in testimony is one thing, depending on the circumstance–but how exactly would Mr. Haley like those citizens to be reprimanded for their testimony before the legislature? Our understanding is that in America we don’t, you know, do that.

In fact, the suggestion is kind of horrifying.

To be fair, Haley did make reference to a couple of cases in which the rhetoric against the oil and gas industry has crossed the line. But that certainly doesn’t mean citizens lose their free speech rights, and it doesn’t change the dynamic increasingly defining the relationship between the industry and the citizens of Colorado: communities trying to protect themselves from land use that seemingly trumps every other use under the law, and an industry arrogantly thwarting those citizens in court rather than engaging in actual dialogue.

Who’s the real “bully” in this situation? In every quantifiable way, it’s the oil and gas industry. It’s the bottomless energy industry pockets who pay Dan Haley’s fat salary, and throw hundreds of thousands of dollars against any attempt by local communities to regulate them. It’s the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, whose contempt for public input and built-in support for the industry under pro-energy Gov. John Hickenlooper has been amply demonstrated over the course of almost eight years. It is most certainly not the citizens of Broomfield, Longmont, Fort Collins, and other cities who have voted overwhelmingly to protect their communities.

And if you really think voters are “bullies,” Mr. Haley, it’s time to check yourself.

Because the problem, sir, is you.

21 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. PKolbenschlag says:

    Talk to me about being bullied…

    “For too long, the oil and gas industry in Colorado and throughout the West has made a habit of steamrolling government agencies, regulators, elected officials, the public and the environment in its unbridled greed. That one drilling company would go after a critic over such a minor insult shows that attitudes haven’t changed.”

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    I think any comparison to the Oily Boys and meth heads is outlandish nonsense and way off the mark . . . 

    . . . they’re much more like meth dealers and cartel manufacturers.  Toxic product, thuggish and criminal behavior, poisonous wastes left for others to clean up, death merchants with no regard for anyone or anything but the money flowing into their pockets . . .

  3. Voyageur says:

    Thus sprake the former editorial page editor of the Denver Post.

  4. DawnPatrol says:

    Another round of "victimhood" whining and "persecution" wailing from the GOP Good Ol' Boys Club — the same elitist, silver-spoon, entitled 'Masters of The Universe' assholes already turning our country into a fascist oligarchic shit-pile, so they can line their pockets at our expense and then ride off into their cushy platinum sunset.

    "Everything is not enough! We demand MOOOOORE!"

    Fuck 'em all. This is WAR.

  5. Duke Cox says:

    Way to lay it out, Alva.

    Ask anyone who has ever tried to hold the Oily Boys accountable or stand in the way of their invasive exploitation…the O&G industry wrote the instruction manual on bullying

    Their loud-mouthed bugling about their own importance notwithstanding, this noxious and obnoxious industry accounts for about 2% of Colorados' economy.

    For as long as anyone can remember, this industry has owned the Capitol…particularly the 1st floor (the governors' floor). It is time to send this bunch packing..

    Repeal the ad valorem tax credit…institute realistic bonding requirements…establish truly safe setbacks…establish a state advocacy office for impacted citizens…apply zoning laws to o&g development…force them to stop polluting. If they still want to drill, fine…if not, good riddance.

    This is a breathtakingly beautiful state. We don't need to be a fossilonian state…we can thrive without them.

  6. Gilpin Guy says:

    Dan Haley is a blast from the past.  Didn't he used to work for the Denver Post?

  7. Lucy Montrose says:

    Dan Haley is why hiring for culture fit is an abomination.

    I can understand having to curry favor for his bosses at COGA, and for his job being to fluff the fossil fuel industry.

    What I can't understand is his enthusiasm for it. His utter abandonment of anything resembling respect for the wishes of ordinary Coloradans. It almost sounds like he's threatening to force us to use fossil fuels and like it, dammit.

    Like he's probably forced to not just promote, but love fossil fuels? 

    Because disagreeing with the boss is a fireable offense now. And Not Fitting In To Corporate Culture is a cardinal sin. Your job, as a good culture fit, is to worship your boss and give your soul over to "the mission". And we'll be monitoring you for how happily you do it, too.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      The Dan Haleys of this world have been controlling the messaging for over forty years now . . . 


      Next month it will be 20 years since Kyoto . . .

      . . . 20 years!!!!

      . . . which was more than 20 years after the science on man-induced climate change was beginning to roll in . . .

      . . . Tick-tock, tick-tock people, it’s officially “last call”.  The planet can’t afford any more of our putting up with and accepting any more delays, excuses, or justifications!


  8. Lucy Montrose says:


    You don't force customers to buy your product.

    You don't threaten to reprimand customers for not buying your product.

    You don't call your customers bullies for wanting a different product.

    It's just not done.

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