February 29, 2012

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper Appears In Pro-Fracking Ad Sponsored By Oil & Gas Industry

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper Appears In Pro-Fracking Ad Sponsored By Oil & Gas Industry
Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO)

The process of hydraulic fracking, or fracking, has come under fire in recent years as it has become apparent that this gas extraction technique poses significant risks to the environment and human health. Facing increasing pressure from environmental watchdogs and community groups, the oil and gas industry has spent millions of dollars to lobby against nationwide regulations on fracking, and gave large payments to former Sen. Rick Santorum while also apparently cooperating with the Koch Brothers.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D) is now being prominently featured in a new radio ad promoting fracking. Remarkably, the ad is being sponsored by the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA). In the spot, Hickenlooper praises the industry, the assures the safety of fracking, and boasts of a new disclosure law related to fracking:

HICKENLOOPER: This is Governor John Hickenlooper. In 2008, Colorado passed tough oil and gas rules. Since then, we have not had one instance of groundwater contamination associated with drilling and hydraulic fracking. And we plan to keep it that way. That’s why Colorado recently passed the toughest and fairest hydraulic fracturing disclosure rule in the nation. In Colorado, we’ve proven that industry and the conservation community can come together to solve problems. We can create jobs, promote energy security, and protect our environment. Brought to you by the Colorado Oil & Gas Association.

Listen to the ad here. The spot is particularly remarkable because it is almost unheard of for a sitting governor to appear in a radio commercial sponsored by a certain industry.

“We stand by the ads, and we call them public service announcements,” COGA CEO Tisha Shuller told the Denver Business Journal. Yet 13 Colorado environmental groups don’t view an industry sponsored pro-fracking radio spot to be a public service announcement. They are calling Hickenlooper’s industry-sponsored spot “misleading,” noting that “accidental spills, corroded tanks and pipelines, and leaking containment pits” have indeed contaminated Colorado groundwater in the recent past.