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Hickenlooper for Colorado

Despite what you might have heard, I much prefer drinking beer to frack fluid.

For the uninitiated, “frack fluid” is the liquid product oil and gas developers use in deep underground drilling operations. It is mostly water, but includes other ingredients and chemicals that are designed to open up oil and gas deposits and be recovered in the drilling process.

Knowing what’s in the fluid and making sure the ingredients are known to the public is what prompted us to pass the most rigorous and transparent frack fluid disclosure rule in the country about a year ago. We negotiated that rule with industry and the environmental community (including the Environmental Defense Fund).

Our goal has been to encourage industry to use ingredients that are safe for the environment. So when an industry executive came to my office over a year ago touting the safety of their product – a new form of frack fluid based on food additives – we put him to the test by asking whether it was safe to drink. He said yes. So I challenged him to take a sip. He did, and so did I.

I can’t say it tasted good, but it was, as advertised, a completely safe product for human consumption. (This is not to imply that anyone would drink the frack fluid being used today).

As we move forward in developing energy, we ought to insist on the strictest and most effective environmental safeguards.

Although tasting frack fluid might seem newsworthy to some, it was not really the point of testimony we recently gave to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in Washington, D.C. We were drawing attention to the fact that Colorado has created the most comprehensive and stringent set of regulations around oil and gas production in the country.

If you are interested in what went on there, please take a moment to click on this link (and go to 48:45) and let me know what you think.


John Hickenlooper

State Capitol veterans loved the story coming out of Washington, D.C., on Tuesday about Gov. John Hickenlooper drinking fracking fluid because it reminded them of the time a state transportation chief swilled a mixture of magnesium chloride.

The drinks were intended to show the stuff is safe.

Then-Department of Transportation director Tom Norton drank his concoction in a legislative committee in 2002 after getting complaints about the magnesium chloride sprayed on Colorado’s roads to fight ice and snow.

Hickenlooper on Tuesday told a U.S. Senate committee that he swigged fracking fluid once. His admission came when he testified that states and not the federal government should lead in regulating natural gas production, a sentiment that angered environmentalists and drew applause from energy groups fighting the Environmental Protection Agency.

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., found humor in the governor’s admission and asked whether the experience was part of some bizarre occult practice. “No, there were no religious overtures,” Hickenlooper said to laughter, The Washington Times reported.

For the record, Hickenlooper spokesman Eric Brown said the governor quaffed an undetermined amount of a fracking fluid called CleanStim in his office with Halliburton chief executive Dave Lesar in late 2011. – Denver Post

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has made no secret of his support for hydraulic fracturing, but on Tuesday he went one big step further and testified that he actually drank fracking fluid.

“You can drink it. We did drink it around the table, almost ritual-like, in a funny way,” Hickenlooper said before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

The governor testified that it wasn’t “tasty” but added, “I’m still alive.”

Hyrdaulic fracturing is a controversial process of injecting water, sand, and chemicals underground at very high pressures to release natural gas. Most companies however have declined to reveal what components make up their fracking fluids, calling them “trade secrets.”

Hickenlooper is not the first person to have claimed to drink fracking fluid. A report by the Associated Press in 2011 said that Halliburton Co. CEO Dave Lesar offered up a company executive to demonstrate the safety of theirnew fracking fluid recipe CleanStim, by drinking it during a keynote speech at a conference held by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. – Huffington Post

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