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June 19, 2013 11:49 AM UTC

Industry's new leaf?

  • 2 Comments
  • by: checks-and-balances

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Maybe the oil and gas lobby's latest efforts should strike hope in the hearts of Coloradans. Are they turning over a new leaf and willing to balance energy development with conservation interests? Maybe … maybe not.

From Colorado Oil and Gas Association Director Tisha Shuller’scharm offensive” to Western Energy Alliance President Tim Wigely’spoll for the people,” oil and gas lobbyists are in high gear trying to stop a public relations mess that industry themselves created.

Clearly the effort is garnering them good press like Shuller reinventing herself as the environmentalist or Mr. Wigley taking a tired poll they rehash nearly every year and parading it as proof they want to know what Coloradans think. 

Mr. Wigely makes broad claims about the support for energy development using his national poll, but he fails to take a look at what people believe in his own backyard. If industry really wants to know what Coloradans think, they don’t have too far to go to find out. They want the health of their communities, our air, and our national parks on equal ground with energy development.

A recent poll of westerners by Hart Research Associates found that nearly two-thirds of voters (65 percent) believe that “permanently protecting and conserving public lands for future generations is very important to them personally” while less than a third (30 percent) feel that “making sure oil and gas resources on public lands are available for development” is important.

Just this week, a delegation from the North Fork Valley traveled to Washington, DC calling for balance. The group included a winery owner, local official, and agricultural representative. After officials like Colorado BLM Dir. Helen Hankins and industry failed to listen to the community, they took matters into their own hand and drafted a citizen proposal which allows for responsible energy development while protecting the booming agri-tourism economy of the North Fork.

This isn’t the first time that there have been questions about Director Hankins continually listening to the oil and gas industry instead of local communities and conservation interests. Industry proposals to drill near Mesa Verde National Park and place a drill rig near the visitor center of Dinosaur National Monument have faced severe backlash.

Yesterday, Boulder County Councilors decided to put a three-year oil and gas fracking ban on the ballot to give its residents an opportunity to speak and industry to listen. It’s no wonder so many local communities along the Front Range are proposing hard-lines like that after industry failed to “listen” to Coloradans and instead sided with Gov. John Hickenlooper to kill numerous bills which would have protected our water, our air, and our health.

Ms. Shuller and Mr. Wigely have one thing right. A rational conversation about oil and gas drilling is long overdue. We must put our communities, our air, and our national parks on equal ground with energy development.

It’s time for the oil and gas lobby to turn over that leaf.

Comments

2 thoughts on “Industry’s new leaf?

  1. It’s time for the oil and gas lobby to turn over that leaf.

    Alas, C&B, I think the odds of that happening are between none and …not any.

    The O&G approach changes only in style and method. "Balance" is not in their lexicon. There is little profit to be had in "balance".

  2. Only slightly off-topic: You mean that pissant GJ Daily Sentinel has a paywall? (Encountered it trying to follow a link, above.) Oh, what delusions of grandeur.

    On topic: The O&G folks are just like the rest of the corporate big boys. They're just talking out of another side of their same mouth. They'll really listen when…what's the old saying about getting a mule's attention? They'll listen only when they feel a 2×4 up 'side their heads.

    Can you spell a r r o g a n c e? Or g r e e d?

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