Colorado Oil and Gas Association CEO Describes PR Strategies to Deal with "Nuts"

COGA's Tisha Conoly-SchullerThe 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."


Even the CEO of Chesapeake admits there have been "several dozen cases" of groundwater contamination due to Fracking:

There are literally thousands of pending lawsuits about groundwater contamination. Not all are legit, but some are. Even if only 10% are legit, that's hundreds more cases of groundwater contamination. Fracking has been going on since the late 60's, mind you, but only in the last 10 years, as energy prices have skyrocketed, has fracking been aggressively pursued.

If we're going to frack for gas, we'd better start building desalination plants and water pipelines to wherever we're doing it. In 30 years, there will be very little uncontaminated groundwater left in areas where fracking has been done.

It sounds to me that Mrs. Conoly Schuller is setting up Colorado Oil and Gas Association to become the next chapter of Conway/Oreskes' "Merchants of Doubt".