June 22, 2008
The Colorado Oil and Gas Association and the Colorado Petroleum Association took out a full page ad in major Colorado newspapers on June 18 and subsequent radio ads that cannot be allowed to pass unchallenged. The ad indulges in listing a parade of economic and social horribles. In concocting this list, industry mouthpieces disingenuously characterize as probable, even inevitable, a dire set of consequences that industry attributes to the proposed oil and gas rules. The "sky is falling" tone adopted by the ad is far-fetched, unsupportable and cynically manipulative. The ad features a collection of photographs depicting or suggesting a panoply of human misery and suffering. Use of these photos is beyond outrageous. The ad corrodes the public discussion of oil and gas rulemaking and seems designed wrongly to influence the formal hearing in Colorado this week of June 23.
Legislation was passed unanimously last year that requires the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to formulate rules to "minimize adverse impacts"to wildlife during the unprecedented oil and gas boom in the state. The draft rules offer oil and gas companies/operators several tools to do so. The ad does not tell the public about the tools. It only speaks of a provision that would protect specific vulnerable species in particular areas from drilling activity for a maximum of 90 days. This provision is a "backstop" that comes into play ONLY IF the operator chooses not to use any of the tools provided.