June 10, 2013 Leave a comment
I sat down with Tisha Schuller when she was in Washington, D.C., working on Colorado oil and gas issues. She presented a mission to ditch extreme rhetoric in her state’s drilling debate, and move the conversation to a more rational foundation. That sounded noble enough, but I checked in with Colorado sources to see how the conversation was really playing out on the ground.
This story appeared in EnergyWire in June 2013.
‘De-escalating’ the war of words in Colorado is still an elusive goal for top industry group
You’d think she was talking about nuclear warfare.
Tucked in a Washington, D.C., steakhouse in the shadow of the Capitol dome, Tisha Schuller peppers a conversation with words like “de-escalation,” “polarization” and “high-octane.”
Her tone is familiar in the clashes over energy development in Colorado, pitting the U.S. oil and gas industry against communities that don’t trust it. As president of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, Schuller has seen tensions boil over, making it hard for drillers, communities and conservationists to find common ground.
“If we’re talking about ‘Ban fracking’ or ‘Drill, baby, drill,’ they’re both extremes,” Schuller told EnergyWire last month. “So my focus for the next couple of years is de-escalating the conversation, spending all our time on this, doing the hard work in the middle.”
That was also her goal when she started at the industry group in 2009.
Since then, Colorado has started to look like other booming oil and gas-producing states, with oil and gas companies moving toward urban areas. For decades, Coloradans have navigated oil booms and busts in the western half of the state, and they associated energy development with bobbing pumpjacks spread out across open spaces. In recent years, however, encroachment in the Front Range around Denver has pulled quiet communities into disputes with powerful drilling interests. …
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