The President and CEO of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Tisha Conoly Schuller, told attendees at a drilling industry conference in Denver, Colorado, that attention drawn to the practice of fracking by films like Gasland have caused "a heightened public awareness about hydraulic fracturing and an increase in active opposition" to the practice. She credited Gasland with changing the public conversation about fracking. While still denying that fracking contributes to contamination of drinking water, Conoly-Schuller told the audience that the industry needs to change its messaging around fracking. She outlined a list of recommendations for the industry to improve public perception of its practices, including use of more credible third-party messengers -- like university professors -- to convey positive messages about the industry to the public, making the drilling industry "hipper" so it appeals to young people and reframing the debate about hydraulic fracturing in economic terms, for example by calling energy the "building block of the economy" -- all PR techniques first used by the tobacco industry to bolster public perception and delay regulation of their products. Commenting on environmental advocates and people who claim they have been physically sickened by exposure to drilling chemicals and practices, Conoly-Schuller said, "These nuts make up about 90 percent of our population, so we can't really call them nuts any more. They're the mainstream."
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