|photo by Tim Ruggiero|
Hard as it is to believe, the general public isn’t rushing to embrace the oil and gas industry’s message that hydraulic fracturing is safe. And that lack of enthusiasm has industry officials worried.
A couple weeks before the New York Times expose on fracking hit the newsstands, Colorado Oil & Gas Association president Tisha Schuller told industry representatives that their public relations strategy wasn’t working.
Schuller spoke at a conference that was part of this winter’s NAPE expo in Houston.
Tom Fowler, business energy reporter for The Houston Chronicle reported on this huge expo that draws attendees from oil-patch regions across the world.
During the February 16 conference on unconventional drilling and regulations, he quoted Schuller saying that it’s time for the industry to shift strategies. They need to try something different from their continuing argument against tighter regulations, she said. They need to quit repeating their timeworn claim that fracking hasn’t caused drinking water contamination.
“It’s not working if you give the impression that we don’t want to be regulated at all or think we should be able to operate however we please,” Schuller said. A better message would stress that the drillers, truck drivers and others working in the industry “live, work and play in the same communities” as everyone else and value clean air and clean water just as much as their neighbors.
Schuller added that companies need to highlight what they do right. Point out the key areas in the operations where fracking can pose a threat, such as surface spills and casing failures, she told industry officials. Then explain what you are doing to assure those operations are conducted in a safe manner.