CRED’s PR hell

CRED-logo-300x79Two Houston-area companies, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Noble Energy have joined forces in the PR war against environmental activists and created out of thin, mountain air the Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development – aka CRED.

So far, not many Coloradans have signed on. But Coloradans have been kind of preoccupied these days, what with the rains and the floods and the news about the rains and the floods. I’m certain Coloradans will be paying a whole lot more attention to responsible energy development as the floodwaters recede and the extent of the massive environmental disaster in the gasfields is revealed.

Currently the total number of Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development stands at three.

Board member A. Scott Moore is senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Anadarko Petroleum Corp., past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA), a member of the Western Energy Alliance (WEA) Board of Directors, and of the Natural Gas Supply Association.

Board member Ted Brown is vice president for Noble Energy Inc.’s northern region, currently serves on the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s (COGA) executive committee, and is on the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States’ Board.

CRED spokesman Jon Haubert is also Manager of Communications for the Western Energy Alliance (WEA), an oil and gas trade association.


Remember the COGA bash last month where Tish Schuller vowed to fight back against the extremists’ agenda? Note Moore and Brown’s eerily close ties to COGA. Then this month Western Energy Alliance (WEA) launched their Common Ground video PR propaganda campaign. That Jon Haubert is one ambitious guy holding down two jobs at CRED and WEA. As you may recall, Haubert is the WEA spokesman who said, “We (and I think others do, too,) feel that video is one of the best mediums to show/tell our story. A picture says 1,000 words, right?”

Environmentalists wholeheartedly agreed with him and are busy plastering dozens of photos and videos of flooding in the Wattenberg gasfield all over the internets this week.

In spite of the flood of bad publicity, CRED’s self-described mission is to correct Coloradans’ misunderstandings about the oil and gas industry.

Three cheesy radio ads, Mile High, Mile Down, and Above and Beyond tout a “think big, act bigger” motto. The announcer sounds more like a guy selling a vacation package than fracking as he boasts: “Here, we go above and beyond on a daily basis. As we look to unlock the full oil and natural gas potential of our shale resources through fracking, we’ll do it the Colorado way.”

Based on those ads, fracking fits right in with climbing 14ers, skiing world-class ski runs, and brewing craft beers. But only because “the Colorado way” for those of us living in or near the gasfields means escaping to the mountains to catch a break from breathing toxic fracking chemicals, adapting to skiing on brown snow, and consuming copious amounts of craft beers because the water is not safe to drink.

According to a report at Fuel Fix, Anadarko and Noble Energy plan to invest $10 billion into expanding development in the Wattenberg gasfield, part of the Denver-Julesburg basin in eastern Colorado.

However their timing could not be worse. The announcement of their aggressive drilling plans and the launch of their CRED radio ads were submarined by Colorado floodwaters, as is most of the Denver-Julesburg basin. Every picture tells a story.

Overturned tank in floodwaters in Wattenberg gasfield [Photo courtesy Cliff Willmeng]

Overturned tank in floodwaters in Wattenberg gasfield [Photo courtesy Cliff Willmeng]

More bad news surfaced today: State now tracking 10 oil and gas spills in Colorado flood zones

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. reported two releases Wednesday: a release of 125 barrels — about 5,225 gallons — into the South Platte near Milliken and a release of 323 barrels — about 13,500 gallons — from a tank farm on the St. Vrain River near Firestone.

Perhaps CRED should create a new radio spot and call it Mile Wide.

Add to those woes the rising tide of public sentiment against fracking. Three cities located in the basin — Boulder, Longmont, and Fort Collins — along with Boulder County have moratoriums or outright bans on fracking. In addition, environmental groups in the Front Range cities of Lafayette, Loveland, and Broomfield are circulating petitions calling for anti-fracking measures to be placed on the ballot in their communities.

In statements to the media, Jon Haubert, superhero spokesman for CRED and WEA, insisted that CRED’s focus will not be on public policy or regulatory issues. Their sole purpose is to provide information about fracturing and energy development directly to the general public via social media, videos, ads, and websites.

Except in their eagerness to launch the radio ads and the website they left out the information part.

Instead Haubert beat the dead horse that fracking has become a loaded buzzword in the debate over energy development: “While fracking may be a non-controversial technique in the energy industry, it has become a target, intentionally misused, misrepresented and unfortunately substituted as a four-letter word by some.”

So, who coined the term “fracking” in the first place? Huffington Post settled that score almost two years ago. Fracking is an industry buzzword:

The spelling of “fracking” began appearing in the media and in oil and gas company materials long before the process became controversial. It first was used in an Associated Press story in 1981. That same year, an oil and gas company called Velvet Exploration, based in British Columbia, issued a press release that detailed its plans to complete “fracking” a well.

The word was used in trade journals throughout the 1980s. In 1990, Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher announced U.S. oil engineers would travel to the Soviet Union to share drilling technology, including fracking …

.. “It was created by the industry, and the industry is going to have to live with it,” says the NRDC’s Sinding.

Dave McCurdy, CEO of the American Gas Association, agrees, much to his dismay: “It’s Madison Avenue hell,” he says.

And the industry is still whining about it.

Haubert even tossed out this old red herring: “Even though we’ve been fracking since 1947 and more than 90 percent of today’s oil and natural gas wells are fracked at some point during their lifespan, most residents admit to not knowing or understanding what it involves. Yet, a startling number of Coloradans have seen, read or heard something — overwhelming false and negative — about fracking.”

Yes. We have been reading about fracking. Like the recent interview with Lou Allstadt, a former executive vice president of Mobil Oil until he retired in 2000, who had this to say about CRED’s little fractoid:  “The industry will tell you this over and over again — they’ve been around for 60 years, things like that. That is correct. What’s different is the volume of fracking fluids and the volume of flow-back that occurs in these wells. It is 50 to 100 times more than what was used in the conventional wells.”

Allstadt added:

The other [difference] is that the rock above the target zone is not necessarily impervious the way it was in the conventional wells. And to me that last point is at least as big as the volume. The industry will tell you that the mile or two between the zone that’s being fracked is not going to let anything come up.

But there are already cases where the methane gas has made it up into the aquifers and atmosphere. Sometimes through old well bores, sometimes through natural fissures in the rock. What we don’t know is just how much gas is going to come up over time. It’s a point most people haven’t gotten. It’s not just what’s happening today. We’re opening up channels for the gas to creep up to the surface and into the atmosphere. And methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas in the short term — less than 100 years — than carbon dioxide.

But Allstadt probably has a negative attitude about an industry he dedicated his life to for 31 years and he doesn’t really know or understand what is involved in fracking.

Welcome to CRED’s PR hell.

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3 Comments on “CRED’s PR hell”

  1. Beth Strudley Says:

    I made what I thought was a glorious comment on their website sharing my family’s thoughts on natural gas drilling practices………Low and Behold!! They never printed my comment.

  2. Trucker Mark Says:

    CRED has a Facebook page too where about a dozen pro-fracking oil & gas company employees try to shout down all of the anti-fracking activists who go there, before they sooner or later ban each of the activists and censor any anti-fracking submissions.

    After I made about 200 submissions there, most of which was peer-reviewed science critical of fracking, I got banned and all of my posts were removed too.

    No matter, now I have my own Facebook page, Coloradans for Responsible Energy and Environmental Policy.

    “Coloradans working for the responsible reporting of fossil fuel climate change impacts and for promotion of responsible energy policy and sustainability”.

  3. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    CREEP — love it.
    Check out CRED’s fake news in the Denver Post

    I’ll post your FB link there too.
    Thanks Trucker Mark, you’re awesome.

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