Please. Stop. Lying.

A few weeks ago, we took note of a story in the Grand Junction Sentinel on the number of drilling permits issued in the state of Colorado during 2009. As most of you know, it’s become a repetitive mantra among Republican candidates for office this year that new rules governing oil and gas drilling have “killed jobs,” and led to the energy industry “fleeing the state.”

Which, as the Sentinel reported, is totally false: Colorado in fact issued more drilling permits than surrounding states last year. As early as last spring, the charge that energy companies have curtailed drilling in response to these rules, as opposed to a host of other economic and energy industry factors, has been soundly refuted.

Every time a new story is published that reveals these breathless claims about the drilling rules to be false, we think to ourselves, “Okay. Now they have to stop saying this, right?” After all, it would be nuts to continue making claims that have been thoroughly debunked in the press, wouldn’t it?

Evidently not. Here’s an AP wire story that will, if you know the facts, leave you screaming into a paper bag in apoplexy:

Republican Scott McInnis is pledging to revoke an executive order that allowed state employees to form unions and rewrite new oil and gas rules if he is elected governor.

McInnis, speaking at a mining conference Tuesday, railed against oil and gas regulations pushed by Gov. Bill Ritter’s administration. The former Colorado congressman claimed the regulations are to blame for the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the state…

McInnis also criticized Hickenlooper, who used to work in the oil and gas industry, for not speaking out against the new energy rules. The revamped rules that took effect last April drove jobs out of Colorado and plunged the state to “rock bottom” among energy-producing states, McInnis contended. [Pols emphasis]

Seriously, how the hell do you even do this with a straight face? How do you keep repeating the same lie over and over, after it’s been proven false? We see even the AP’s Judith Kohler, often a friend of brevity over the crucial details, had to intervene:

…[W]hile the number of drilling permits in Colorado last year dropped to 5,159 from the record 8,027 in 2008, the state led its energy-producing neighbors. Wyoming issued 5,106 permits, New Mexico issued fewer than 2,500 and Utah approved 1,167 permits, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the main regulatory body.

State regulators said 1,487 new wells were drilled in Colorado last year, compared with 896 in Wyoming and 597 in North Dakota…

Translation: at the beginning of this story, Scott McInnis lied to you. What McInnis said about Colorado “plunging to rock-bottom” among energy-producing states is a lie.

We’re frankly tired of writing it, but then the same boilerplate quote pops up in another paper. What is it going to take for the lies to stop, and an honest discussion about the state’s future to begin?

For more great commentary on this issue, read this post from our community expert, which we’re not trying to step on–we just want the full extent of this mendacity front and center today.

68 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Jersey Transplant says:

    in it’s absence, ::like::

    • Another skeptic says:

      Does it make sense to compare drilling in Colorado with drilling in surrounding states that offer fewer drilling opportunities?

      The fact is that Ritter’s new drilling regs are some of the toughest in the nation. This doesn’t hurt the big companies that are staffed to deal with regulators. It hurts the small ones that aren’t. Seems like the Dems are doing all they can to protect the big boys from the entrepreneurial folks who create new jobs and wealth for Colorado.

      Is McInnis exaggerating? Looking at various sources of info, I find the numbers inconclusive. But McInnis is from GJ, which has the worst unemployment in the nation. It’s hugely dependent on energy exploration.

      I know that you all want to bash McInnis, but he may have a point. He is a politician, after all.

      • Another skeptic says:

        I think a lot of people thinks he exaggerates too much. And many think he’s a habitual liar. So I understand why you think you can get away with calling him a liar. He’s made himself vulnerable.

      • ClubTwitty says:

        in the global market.  Was Ritter responsible for the oil shale bust in 1982?

      • Colorado Pols says:

        These are the top employers in Grand Junction. You’ll note that only ONE of them is an oil & gas company:

           * Mesa County District #51

           * St. Mary’s Hospital & Medical Center

           * Mesa State College

           * State of Colorado

           * Mesa County

           * City of Grand Junction

           * Walmart

           * Halliburton Energy

           * Star Trek USA Inc

           * Community Hospital

           * City Markets Inc

           * Hilltop Community Resources Inc

           * Veterans Health Administration

           * US Postal Service

           * Rocky Mountain Health Plans

           * Family Health West

           * West Star Aviation

           * McDonald’s

           * Mesa Developmental Services

           * Choice Hotels

           * Home Depot

           * Union Pacific Railroad

      • RedGreen says:

        This is the new line? Grand Junction had the most rapid rate of job loss, but it’s far from having the worst unemployment in the nation. That’s just ridiculous.

        • ClubTwitty says:

          but the nation’s quickest increase in job loss based on the over-reliance on a volatile sector that crashed 70%.  More eggs in that volatile basket means this pattern will repeat again and again and again.  That is the future that McInnis conscripts us to.

      • Ralphie says:

        Highest in the state, maybe.  The nation? Hmmm.

        Wanna post a linkie?  I’ll post mine:

        It’s actually better than the national average.

      • BICora says:

        Repeating this over and over doesn’t make it true.

        Can you cite specifc rules that are tougher in Colorado than anywhere else?

        Or name a small company that is not prepared to deal with local regulators?

        Or explain which of those tough regs you would advocate repealing?

  2. Gray in Mountains says:

    has never been authentic. Its always been about him and not those he represents. Its about getting and keeping a job.

    All those years he represented West Slope, did he ever say “Hey folks. I’ve learned something. You’re not going to like this, but the facts are XXX and everything indicates that in the long run the West Slope will be better off if we don’t just follow our gut but instead do X + Y.”

  3. Republican 36 says:

    which has been quoted many many times:

    “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

    Mr. McInnis thinks he is the one who can fool all of the people all of the time. Mr. McInnis knows he is lying about the impact of the oil and gas rules because the proof is overwhelming that market factors caused the decline in the O&G industry. Because he won’t acknowledge the truth, the question broadens into a general question about his integrity. If he is willing to lie to the voters about this, even in the face of overwhelming and public evidence to the contrary, is he willing to tell us the truth about anything? How can he lead effectively, when he won’t base policy on facts? He needs to answer these questions.  

  4. ajb says:

    Or any other conservative.



  5. allyncooper says:

    Just keep repeating the lie, and it becomes fact as reported by the press.

    In the spring of 1972 I was working in the McGovern campaign. I was watching Face the Nation one Sunday morning and the host was interviewing Herb Klein, Nixon’s communication director. Nixon had gotten caught tailing Daniel Schoor, who was a CBS White House correspondent at the time. (Schoor was a thorn in Nixon’s side because he was questioning a lot of what was going on in Nixon’s administration.

    The host asked Klein why the Nixon administration had Schoor under survellance. Klein replied, with a straight face, that the Nixon administration was going to offer Schoor a position in the administration and that the surveillance was part of a background check for that.

    Three weeks later I went to a town hall meeting hosted by Ted Kennedy on the Democratic platform held at a local firehall. Looking around the hall, I saw Daniel Schoor in one of the isles covering the story. I walked up to Schoor, introduced myself, and then asked him if he had been offered that job yet in the Nixon administration. Not knowing who this 20 yo. kid with long hair and a beard in an Army fatigue jacket was, he just gave me a big grin and walked away.

    Two months later, Democratic headquarters at the Watergate complex was broken into and the perpetrators caught.

    “Lie like hell”  Richard Nixon

    “Lie like hell”  Scott McInnis

  6. Ellie says:

    I called and talked with two people and had an e-mail response from one.  Admittedly this is not my area of expertise so bare with me here.

    One said he would bet some of the figures reflected pre-April filings.  The other person who has a more intimate working knowledge said the Post article’s figures were incomplete for 2009. He said he’d been trying without success to get their methodology because his figures aren’t in agreement. I got the impression he supported McInnis attack on the rules.  

    Where that takes me is this.  I’m an interested citizen who really has no expertise in O & G but I pick up the paper and see the unemployment figures for Mesa County. I recall the arguments on the rules last spring and the forecasts if they went into effect. Experts argue it wasn’t the rules but prices, boom and bust cycles, etc.  

    People out of work could care less.  They only know they no longer have a job and if experts can’t agree on the why and the now with their figures.  How can you possibly call McInnis a liar if he agrees with different figures based on your figures.


    • RedGreen says:

      So tying the job losses to O&G regs is fine, because “people out of work” don’t have the resources or expertise to understand whether the claim is, you know, actually true or not? That’s a deeply cynical approach to the public’s business. A wealthy industry can always fund, er, find experts to say regulations are causing all manner of harm, but that doesn’t mean “experts can’t agree.”

      • BlueCat says:

        and it’s the approach most favored by the GOP since Reagan, too often resulting in triumphant success. They have gotten away with it for decades because 1) Democrats have allowed themselves to be cowed and 2) Democrats refuse to learn how to take control of the narrative no matter how many facts they have on their side or how transparent the lies of the GOP spin machine may be.

        Fortunately McInnis is so charisma and charm free compared to Hickenlooper, Democrats don’t have to rely on an electorate capable of seeing through the usual lies in order to win this one.  

      • Ellie says:

        At least I hope not.  I think your criticisms reflect an arrogance and lack of understanding of where the vast majority of people come down.  They aren’t the screamers on the far left bashing the President for going soft or the screechers on the far right who like to hear themselves…well screech for want of a better word about gloom and doom.  

        Frankly I much preferred to watch the parade from New Orleans last night than tune into either one.

        • sxp151 says:

          Do you really believe that voters who take the time to understand these issues will say “experts can’t agree”? Or are you trusting that they’re too busy to notice you’re lying to them?

          Knowing things is “arrogance”? I think a lot of people would find that insulting.

          I’ve seen people lie here before, but I’ve never seen anyone as cynical as you.

        • RedGreen says:

          But saying the facts don’t matter — and we are talking facts, the state hasn’t plunged to “rock bottom” in energy production by any measure, quite the opposite — because out of work voters can be easily bamboozled … that’s deeply cynical, and it’s beneath you. This has nothing to do with hysteria on the left or the right, it’s about whether Scott McInnis can tell the truth.

    • ClubTwitty says:

      McInnis-‘Colorado is at “rock bottom.”  

      Truth-Colorado is not at ‘rock bottom.’  This is not disputable.

      McInnis-‘Colorado has gone from ‘best practices’ to ‘no practice.’

      Truth-Colorado has not stopped production.  This is not disputable.

      McInnis says things that are not true. He has had the non-truthfulness of these things pointed out, yet he continues to say them, knowing they are false.  Ergo he is a liar, as in someone who tells lies.  

      I have no doubt that his campaign spinners are furrowing their green-shaded brows trying to extract him from this oily mess starting to stick on the McLobbyist–that he will say anything to get elected.  


      • WashParkPoet says:

        But if Hickenlooper wins do you think he’s going to bring any oil and gas jobs back? He’s said it himself that he sees the benefits in taxes which is the last thing we need right now. I can almost guarantee it that if Hickenlooper gets in there goes higher taxes, it’s the Democrat way. Need money…let’s tax something…how about Doggy bags? McInnis isn’t the perfect candidate but you can’t say that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Colorado is pretty close to rock bottom. I know people who have been applying for jobs daily for a year and yes they get interviews but they can never get that job. They aren’t underqualified or anything like that but there are thousands upon thousands of people looking for jobs it can’t get much worse than that.  

    • Danny the Red (hair) says:

      but candidates are in trouble when even their supporters can not make a cogent defense.

    • sxp151 says:

      How can you possibly disagree with my statement that unemployment is at -5% when I’m just basing my statements on different figures?

      Or could it be that maybe the truth matters once in a while?

    • WesternSlopeThought says:

      The drilling companies in western Colorado should keep their employees working even if the market glut does not support more production?  The companies should voluntarily lose money just to support the GJ economy?  Somehow, I believe that is not sound economics.

      “The U.S. economy will bottom in the next two years. It will need 15 to 17 years to recover fully, if past recessions and depressions can be used as guides.”  -Scott McInnis

      “Three or four years from now, we’re not going to have a conversation about jobs and all of that kind of stuff.”  -Scott McInnis

    • BICora says:

      Assuming from the tone of your comment that what you mean is that the unemployed don’t care about which expert is more correct, they just want a job, this is exactly when people should care about what our leadership or potential leadership is saying.

      If the campaign can hide behind “experts disagree” and then make stuff up that suits their campaign, that helps no one but the candidate. And this approach creates th eimpression that all experts are equal, that if the COGA says one thing and some O&G industry analyst says another, welll, who can tell and they’re both equally expert.

      But they are not equally motivated to be forthcoming and, well, honest with their expertise and analysis.

      Can you cite specifc rules that are tougher in Colorado than anywhere else?

      Or explain which of those tough regs you would advocate repealing? Or more to the point, can candidate McInnis?

  7. WesternSlopeThought says:

    Scooty continues the tired R tactic of fear.

    “Don’t think for one moment, under the current leadership that we have, if we retain this leadership, that you’re not next in line,” McInnis told the audience at the Colorado Mining Association conference.

    Just as Rs attempted the fear angle with a new president, when they tried their “FEMA concentration camp” lie, their “he’s going to confiscate your guns” lie and “Obama is not an American” lie, Scooty’s attempt to spread fear does nothing for the people of Colorado or for our economic recovery.  When you have no plan, no substance, no reason for the people of Colorado to vote for you, I suppose fear tactics is all that is left.  And the aggregate of the excrement will be Scooty’s undoing.  

    “The zeal which begins with hypocrisy must conclude in treachery; at first it deceives, at last it betrays” -Francis Bacon

  8. Tazistan Jen says:

    Lying like this works, because busy voters don’t dig into the story to find out what is true.  They just see one side says X and the other says Y so the truth is probably somewhere in between.

    Even people who read that AP article don’t realize McInnis was lying, unless they read it with unusual attention.  Most people eyes glazed over when the first number appeared.

    The only way this sort of behavior will backfire on a candidate is if reporters call it out clearly and unequivocally, near the beginning of the story.  A list of numbers in a paragraph on page A14 will have almost no effect.

  9. Ellie says:

    Because many of you can’t decide whether to attack McInnis or me because I support McInnis, here is another source of information.

    The following information is from the Baker Hughes rig count that the industry has used for years as a measure of activity.

    *Colorado is down 34% the number of active drilling rigs from one year ago;

    *Colorado saw the greatest decline in drilling activity in the past year;

    *In October 2009, there were only 36 active drilling rigs, according to the Colorado Rig Count;

    *In November 2008, Colorado had 124 drilling rigs operating.  The most recent rig count shows Colorado is down 61% from there…more than any other state (emphasis mine).


    • Danny the Red (hair) says:

      it is bad form to quote w/o link.

      We need to verify the source and its reliability.

    • ClubTwitty says:

      Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) — U.S. natural-gas production is unexpectedly rising even as energy companies halt drilling at the fastest pace in more than two decades because newly found fields are gushing more fuel than previous discoveries.

      …Figures compiled by regulators in Texas and Wyoming, the biggest U.S. gas sources, are overstating the drain on supply from rigs idled by producers such as Chevron Corp. in response to low prices last year, said Corey Rhoden of HPDI LLC, an Austin, Texas, firm that monitors state-by-state gas output.  

      “A massive collapse in the gas supply is a pipe dream,” said Subash Chandra, a managing director who follows the energy industry at Jefferies & Co. in New York. “Everything we can measure is telling us that gas production is not falling.”

    • BICora says:

      Rational anlysis based on those facts even more so.

      Example –

      Why would anyone in CO would want to arbitrarily suppress gas production?


      (experts disagree)


      (people are out of work)


      Say anything to get the vote.

      • WesternSlopeThought says:

        who would want to suppress production are the energy companies.  When you have too much product on the market, it tends to keep prices low.  Energy companies want as much return on their investment as possible.  And if they cannot get that profit on their investment because of a gas glut, why produce more?

        I’m sure Ellie is a good person, but she is letting her emotions for Scooty get in the way of sound logic.

        “The degree of one’s emotions varies inversely with one’s knowledge of the facts”. -Bertie Russell

    • Ralphie says:

      Why not compare rig counts in adjacent states from the same period of time.  Let’s pick Colorado with it’s so-called “repressive” O&G rules, and, say, Wyoming where things are much more free and easy.

      Here’s the linkie.

      Colorado has more rigs running than Wyoming right now.  Must be those oil and gas rules.

    • ardy39 says:

      According to Baker-Hughes (or go here for an Excel workbook of rig count data for all states since 2000) Colorado hit a seasonal peak of 124 active rigs from Oct 24 through Nov 14, 2008).

      On April 1, 2009, the majority of the new COGCC rules went into effect. On April 3, 2009 Baker-Hughes reports 55 active rigs in Colorado.

      On Friday, Feb 5, 2009 Baker-Hughes reports 48 active rigs in Colorado.

      So, here’s what our time line shows us:

      From Nov 14, 2008 until April 1, 2009 the rig counts dropped by 56% before there were any new rules in place (124 –> 55 rigs).

      From April 1, 2009 until today there has been a net drop of 7 rigs (an additional 6% decline from the peak in Nov 08).

      So, the actual data that Ellie cites do NOT support the claim that the new COGCC rules are in anyway responsible for the decline in drilling activity in Colorado.

      Indeed, these data would support the claim that the new rules arrested the precipitous fall in drilling activity that was observed before April 1, 2009. (Of course, this claim confuses correlation and causation. But in support of this claim, it is at least factually correct and better supported by the data then the ridiculous claims being made by Scooter, Ellie, Penry, Caldera, Brophy, and others.)

  10. parsingreality says:

    “Oh, those Pubs!  They sure stole a page from my playbook! Keep on lying, it will become the truth!”

  11. Gray in the mountains says:

    I would doubt that there are that many Junctioneers(?) that lost their jobs. O&G, like mining, attracts skilled employees from all over the country and when they leave they go back to their homes or to where the jobs are. What the W Slope lost was important though; rented apartments, houses, motels, shacks, restaurant meals, grocery sales, booze sales, etc. And, many of those employees weren’t living on the economy but staying in mancamps.  

  12. WestSloper says:

    In the Gas Patch we are hearing that the O&G companies are purposely holding off on some development right now in hopes that McInnis will be elected and eliminate the rules. Simply, the Industry is manipulating the jobs market for the elections.

    Last year, an EnCana official reported to Garfield County residents and oil producers the REAL reasons for the natural gas development slump in the Rocky Mt Region:

    –Rockies prices are generally depressed relative to other US pricing points

    –Strong production growth and vast resource base given recent technology advances

     –Limited local demand -less than 25% of current supply

     –Mountain terrain presents challenges for drilling and building infrastructure (high-cost environment)

    –Timing disconnect between new supply and new infrastructure

    –Constrained export capacity to consuming regions

    –Lower regional prices complicate the capital allocation process

    • MADCO says:

      is just a Ritter shill. Or something.

      • dukeco1 says:

        One of the most damaging publications to the COGA mantra about the rules was a publication produced by Encana back in 2008. I am not sure they knew what they were telling us when they released it, but it contained a number of data points that proved:

        1. The industry knew that Rocky Mountain gas was worthless and would remain so until the Rockies Express pipeline was opened.

        2. The primary reason the drilling stopped was the credit freeze and was completely unrelated to the rules. ( In the summer of 2007, gas at the Meeker hub hit $.03/mcf – that is not a typo- but the drilling continued apace until TWO DAYS after the credit freeze hit the news, in late 2008…then, faced with the prospect of paying for the drilling out-of-pocket… the rigs started falling like wheat before the reaper.

        The bottom line is that all of these industry people KNOW they are lying, but they have no choice. The truth does not suit their political objectives and they must parrot the message of whomever is filling the trough.

        And… to whom it may concern… the expression is ” couldn’t care less “. Enough with the double negatives, already. 🙂

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