Colorado Oil and Gas Association
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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Association is a lobbying and trade group founded in 1984 to advocate for the drilling industry in the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S. The group also acts to generate positive PR for the industry in local communities, and urges its local chapters to "[host] fundraisers and [make] contributions to local civic and charitable causes, [work] in and with local schools, [assist] at community functions and [provide] scholarships" as ways to make a positive impression on the public throughout Colorado.
Use of tobacco industry PR techniques
The President and CEO of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, Tisha Conoly Schuller, at a drilling industry conference in Denver, Colorado, on September 12, 2011 said that public attention drawn to the practice of fracking by films like Gasland have caused "a heightened public awareness about hyrdraulic fracturing and an increase in active opposition" to the practice. She credited the movie Gasland with changing the public conversation about fracking. While still denying that fracking contributes to the contamination of drinking water, Conoly-Schuller told the audience that the industry needs to change not its practices, but its messaging around fracking. She outlined a list of recommendations the industry could use to improve public perception of its practices, including use of more credible third-party messengers like professors to convey positive messages about the industry to the public, making the drilling industry appear "hipper" so appeals more 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 successfully used by the tobacco industry to delay regulation of their products. Conoly-Schuller, commenting on environmental advocates and people who claim to have been physically sickened by exposure to industry chemicals and practices, 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."
Colorado Oil & Gas Association
1660 Lincoln Street, Suite 2710
Denver, Colorado 80264
COGA Office: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Colorado Oil and Gas Association About/Chapters, organizational website, accessed September 13, 2011
- Colorado Oil and Gas Association Mission, organizational website, accessed September 13, 2011
- FJ Gallagher Shale Gas Industry Insider: We Are Losing the Messaging War on Fracking NaturalGasWatch.org, September 13, 2011