Doug Flanders’ Veiled Threats Continue to Rile in Fracking Debate

As the Boulder Daily Camera reported yesterday, the fight over an anti-fracking initiative that will appear on the November ballot in Lafayette is heating up thanks to some ridiculously inappropriate comments from an industry shill:

Ned is no relation to Doug

Not Doug Flanders (as far as we know)

Earlier this month, a Lafayette resident — with financial backing from the Colorado Oil & Gas Association — filed a complaint with the city, claiming that the signature-gathering petitions used to get the measure on to the ballot were invalid because they did not include a state-mandated summary of the issue for signers to read.

Last week, the challenge was thrown out by the city clerk, who ruled that the petitions complied with state laws governing home-rule cities. That prompted Doug Flanders, Colorado Oil & Gas Association director of policy and external affairs, to issue a statement that the citizen initiative, dubbed the Lafayette Community Rights Act, could have the unintended effect of cutting off all natural gas to Lafayette homes.

"For example, signatories were probably unaware that approval of this ballot could stop the transportation of all natural gas through pipes, which means disallowing natural gas to your homes," Flanders said in an emailed statement to the Camera on Friday, conjuring up images of residents this winter huddling around candles and wood-burning stoves as the whoosh of piped-in natural gas goes silent and water pipes in the basement freeze and burst.  [Pols emphasis]

Yes, you read that correctly. Doug Flanders, the director of policy and external affairs for the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA), is essentially threatening Lafayette citizens that passing a ban on fracking might lead to their natural gas being cut off.

(This is a good place to note that COGA is a different organization than the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). Flanders' COGA is a oil and gas trade group, while the COGCC is a state agency).

Now, we could argue about whether Flanders' statement is a legal violation as it relates to making knowingly false statements about an election issue, but that's almost a secondary issue. Flanders and COGA have ABSOLUTELY NO AUTHORITY TO CUT OFF NATURAL GAS TO ANYONE, let alone an entire community such as Lafayette. This would be like Colorado Pols threatening to turn off the Internet if you don't like what we write. It's childish and petty, and it's completely stupid.

We would imagine that Gov. John Hickenlooper and others at COGCC (the state agency) have daydreamed about strangling Flanders over these asinine comments, particularly since both have been trying hard recently to calm the flames of angst around fracking in Colorado. Flanders' statement is exactly the kind of thing that reinforces opinions that the oil and gas industry really cares nothing at all about the well-being of its customers — and it's the kind of thing that will draw otherwise non-committal elected officials into the fray in defense of local citizens.

10 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    COGA is a different organization than … COGCC

    Not really. Both are focused on providing the O&G industry everything they want :)

    • Colorado PolsColorado Pols says:

      Hard to argue with that, but we did want to make it clear that COGA is NOT a state agency, though it is often confused with COGCC. This story would be several degrees more insidious were that not the case.

  2. ClubTwitty says:

    Its the 'kinder gentler COGA', the 'Tisha Schuller: I'm so over confrontation COGA', the 'can't we all just get along COGA'…come to tell you peons if they don't have their way you are all going to freeze to death in your home and have to eat uncooked dry pasta and raw eggs. 

  3. kickshot says:

    COGA's Doug Flanders in the role of THE BIG BAD WOLF: 

    "I'm gonna huff and I'm gonna puff and I'm gonna shut off gas to your town!"

  4. Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

    O&G operatives are always looking to lower the bar when it comes to egregious lies and over-the-top threats. There are no actions or words that are beneath them.

    If the lies don't work, they become victims…if the "poor, pitiful, misunderstood and abused" claims don't work, the next ploy is bullying. That is where some of them, like Doug Flanders, prefer to go, right out of the chute.

    I have faced more crowds of O&G bullies than I care to remember…they are not particularly bright…but VERY persistent. They loves them the money…and they couldn't give a shit less about you.  

  5. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    It will be interesting to see what Mr. Flanders says about possible fracking-related contamination due to flooding. Let me guess: 

    a) there is no contamination, because the wells and equipment were all shut off.

    b) if there is any contamination, from sludge tanks or broken pipes, it existed prior to the flooding, and it's  Obama's fault. Somehow.

    I hope that Lafayette citizens took TXSharon's advice, and got baseline readings on fracking chemicals in the water, so that they can prove that the flooding made it worse. 

     

  6. ClubTwitty says:

    "Its God's fault (in addition to Obama).  Oh, how could we have known? 'Unprecedented.' " (Even though they have been developing flood plains, defined at geology.com–since the oil geologists may have ditched this class…): 

    Flood Plain:

    An area of alluvium-covered, relatively level land along the banks of a stream that is covered with water when the stream leaves its channel during a time of high flow.

    The uneducated elitists that have long rased concerns about fracking, oil and gas development, and chemical/hydrocarbon storage facilities/pipelines, etc. in floodplains (pointing to things like the out-of-sight-out-of-mind-yet-still-not-cleaned-up Parachute benezen et al spill) were just lucky, I guess, that their chicken-littling turned out not to be. 

    Apparently COGCC is on top of it now–they have a spreadsheet going.  http://www.platts.com/latest-news/oil/houston/colorado-leaders-uncertain-about-flood-impact-21562252   h/t @NoFrackNoFork #COpolitics

    But oil and gas will rebuild!  Now there are less houses in the way of profit. 

    • MADCO says:

      That benzene thing at Parachute was not a fracking thing. (Notice how I avoided using te word "spill" and "result" while also avoiding the word accountability.) 

      Colorado should adjust severance taxes to match Wyoming. Then we would have a fair market for our oil and gas and other extractables.

  7. ClubTwitty says:

    I did not mean to say it was a fracking thing– it was/is a result of infrastructure in floodplains…  it was a NGL product line from the gas plant, located right in the floodplain of a tributary to the Colorado River just a few miles upstream of the confluence. 

    My point is that there are real issues involved with matters like riparian set-backs and the like, for drilling/wells, for fracking/completion, and for pipelines and gasplants, and to constantly have the regulator/lobbyist (and yes it is sometimes difficult to keep them separate) tell those who raise these issues that they are ill-informed (or purposefully fear-mongering), often lathered up with chicken-little hyperbole (as per above), then they don’t seem to be staking out the ‘rational middle’ folks like the COGA director runs around saying they are working to find. 

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