Last week, IPAA held its midyear meeting at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado. IPAA has had a long history with the Broadmoor. In fact, IPAA was founded at the Broadmoor! In 1929, a group of independent producers came together at the Broadmoor and decided to found an association in order to represent America’s independent producers in light of the government and economic battles they were facing at the time. This was actually documented in Daniel Yergin’s award-winning history of America’s oil industry, The Prize. Thus, IPAA holds our midyear meetings at the Broadmoor every couple of years – to commemorate our rich history, strategize about the present issues facing our industry, and ensure our industry’s vitality for the future.
The midyear meeting coincided with the devastating wildfires in Colorado Springs – what Governor Hickenlooper called the worst wildfires in the history of Colorado. Although the part of town that the Broadmoor is located was out of range of the fires, more than 32,000 people were forced to leave their homes. Tragically, the Waldo Canyon fire destroyed more than 340 homes and at least two people have lost their lives. In solidarity with the people of Colorado Springs, Chairman Gigi Lazenby announced that IPAA will be donating to the firefighter and relief efforts of the city of Colorado Springs. IPAA has pinpointed three charities to donate to: American Red Cross – Pikes Peak Chapter, Pikes Peak Community Foundation – Waldo Canyon Fire Fighters Fund, and Colorado Professional Firefighters Foundation. We will be working with our members to coordinate this effort in coming weeks.
However, business carried on and we had a productive meeting despite these hardships. At the general session, IPAA President Barry Russell gave an overview of what IPAA has been working on in Washington. He discussed the political climate in Washington (hostile to the industry) and briefed our members on the policy issues that our government relations team has been working on with Congress and the White House. IPAA’s Education Center, Barry explained, has been doing wonders for the youth of Texas. More than 1000 students study engineering, geosciences, technology, and professional development at IPAA’s Education Center and we’ve raised more than $75,000 in scholarships for these students. He also gave IPAA’s Education Center ASPIRE award to Galen Cobb of Halliburton and Teacher of the Year award to Jessica Thomas.
IPAA Chairman Gigi Lazenby discussed the importance of 2012 as an election year – and the impact of the election on the industry. She said that we need representatives in Washington who are “proud to stand up for America’s independents. The outcomes of key races in November will not only determine the makeup of Congress and the presidency, but the vitality of the industry in coming years.” To ensure this, IPAA’s Wildcatters Fund, the largest industry association PAC, has contributed more than $300,000 to candidates across the nation.
Frank Luntz was the keynote speaker and he discussed the communication challenges for Democrats and Republicans in the upcoming election – not without a good bit of humor involved! At the membership luncheon, General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA, discussed the foreign policy challenges that face our nation.
Among the great panels in the afternoon was the “Regulatory, Legislative & Public Issues Surrounding Hydraulic Fracturing” featuring the Energy in Depth grassroots network – Chris Tucker, Tom Shepstone of EID Marcellus, Mike Chadsey of EID Ohio, and Tom Stewart of Ohio Oil and Gas Association. Mike Chadsey explained his mantra to environmentalists – “You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.” It was a great discussion which revealed a lot of the antics of anti-fossil fuel supporters and the misinformation out there about hydraulic fracturing.
Chris Tucker of Energy in Depth discussed Truthland, the documentary that, through a mom’s journey and expert testimony, reveals the truth about oil and natural gas development and debunks Josh Fox’s Gasland. Watch this documentary online or find a screening in your area. All in all, when told the facts about the safe use of hydraulic fracturing, the public has been truly receptive to Energy in Depth’s education efforts.