by Craig Masters
I attended the Coloradoans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED) fracturing event held at Colorado School of Mines this past Wednesday evening. Even though the venue is probably one of the most industry friendly venues in the country, it was nevertheless one of the largest crowds I have seen attend a “truth about oil” event.
I was impressed with the credentials of the panel, and I am certain that all of the data presented was just as credible. But I am not the general public; I’m already in the choir. I have to wonder if this type of event is the best and first approach the industry should be using to excite widespread public support.
Although I had previously viewed the featured documentary and an anti-oil docu-ganda film by Josh Fox, I thought the drive from Loveland would be time well spent to see how CRED was going to approach this very critical issue in the arena of public opinion. It is likely other communities will follow Ft. Collins and other bastions of ignorance down the hysteria path leading to enacting local moratoriums on drilling.
I have been wondering if the television ad with the multiple people asking questions from their Hollywood squares is being effective. The reason is, because it requires people who don’t care one way or another to spend time and make an effort to be exposed to information. People who are opposed won’t bother anyway.
During the drive from Loveland to Golden I heard several radio ads mentioning CRED, but not one mention of that evening’s event. On the other hand, I was listening to A.M. talk radio based in northern Colorado and can somewhat understand why an event in Golden might not be cause to alter an ad campaign in a market an hour and a half away.
One of the panelists mentioned the minimum percentage of wells and drilling activity in Ft. Collins and surrounding Larimer county. His comment downplayed the impact these bans or moratoriums will have on the industry because they are focused in areas where the multi-billion dollar impact of Colorado’s oil industry is least understood. With all respect for his career, I believe we all too soon learn just how wrong his perception is about the anti-oil activists and the huge economic costs these social/political attacks will have in years to come.
Those who are promoting anti-oil policies are not at all afraid of using lies, scare tactics and twisting history or facts to gain believers. And believers is what these people want because no one can disprove the existence or non-existence of something someone else believes to be.
Proving the unprovable is where a program like the one Wednesday fails. For every historical fact and chart of data the panel of esteemed doctors presented, the opposition will simply say the facts are not true or the speaker is not an independent source – which of course would be any other speaker who challenges the facts with whatever anecdote he can find on the internet or simply make-up.
Consider the words of nationally recognized political commentator, Judge Andrew J. Napolitano, when he wrote that he has observed enough “political” debates to conclude that for many years now, no one comes away from a debate with a reversed opinion based on which point of view prevailed. Most people these days, he wrote, simply do not change their mind.
This then is my constructive input. Since I too believe that converting an anti-oil believer is simply not worth the effort, CRED should work to form original opinions within people who are both young and otherwise not well informed about where anything they use, have or eat originates. Moreover, they don’t know how it is powered or how it gets to them. In other words, focus on students. More specifically, focus on middle school age students and compete directly with the opposition in their home court; the public schools.
This will not be easy. Even middle school may be giving the anti-oil, pro-socialist promoters too much of a head start. Common Core standards are written to make the oil guy a rich environment wrecking “political insider” who is to blame for most of the world’s social injustices. This image begins in elementary school in which the correct answers to tests are based on understanding these kinds of concepts.
For example: question: You can tell the oil executive is lying about the safety of fracking because: a) he looks away, b) he clears his throat ……
It really doesn’t matter what the answer is, because the question already tells the student that the oil executive is a liar. Students leave such questions “believing” they have learned about oil executives. By the way, don’t look for that question in a science test, that one was found in an English language arts test.
Using such a back door access to teach social justice and the anti-capitalist point of view will prevail over logic and truth if not challenged in kind. In mining the minds of young students, the only advantage of using an esteemed professor to hypnotize the students with charts and graphs of numbers they have no understanding about, is to actually implant a post-hypnotic suggestion to support drilling.
Once the hypnotic approach is agreed upon, the oil industry might be well advised to find a dancing molecule named Oily and have him star in a cartoon explaining the construction of a well and how he goes thousands of meters below his friends in the groundwater to reach his ancestors trapped for millions of years under layers and layers of different kinds of rocks.
A talking molecule traveling through history to find power for their ipad charger; now that’s something kids in public school will remember to tell their parents about.