Kathy Hall, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association Western Slope representative infamously caught on film saying natural-gas drilling chemicals are so benign she’s had them in her mouth, resigned from COGA last week, according to the Denver Post.
In today’s Post, columnist Susan Greene confirmed what the rumor mill has been churning out for the last couple of days – that Hall, a former Republican Mesa County commissioner and chair of the Western Slope lobbying group Club 20, has stepped down from COGA.
In the award-winning documentary “Split Estate” that aired on Discovery Channel’s Planet Green over the weekend, Hall tells filmmakers, “I’ve had fracking fluid taken right out of a truck. I’ve had it in my mouth, I’ve tasted it, and I’m just fine.”
Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing, which is the process of injecting water, sand and undisclosed chemicals deep into natural-gas wells to fracture tight rock and sand formations and free up more gas. Conservationists and some politicians want the process regulated by the federal government because they fear chemicals are contaminating groundwater supplies.
Citizen groups in Garfield County aired “Split Estate” for the county commissioners last week in an attempt to get them to sign a resolution supporting the FRAC Act, which would remove a Safe Drinking Water Act exemption granted hydraulic fracturing during the Bush administration in 2005.
While some oil and gas executives are now saying the chemicals should be disclosed, the majority of companies support keeping the lid on the ingredients for proprietary reasons and only revealing the exact chemicals to health care workers on a need-to-know basis. Hall had become the poster child for that position.
“Did her embarrassing performance in ‘Split Estate’ hasten her retreat from COGA?” said Leslie Robinson of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, which drafted a version of the pro-FRAC Act resolution for the commissioners to consider. “I don’t know, although the timing is suspect.
“Kathy Hall will be missed by COGA no doubt, for she was the perfect shrill for the industry – she could be deceptive and misleading with a smile. Will the community groups that fought against the COGA propaganda machine rejoice to hear Hall has left? Probably not, because another will surely replace her.”
COGA spokesman Nate Strauch, asked Monday via e-mail to confirm Hall’s departure and whether it was connected to her appearance in “Split Estate,” was still looking into the situation as of this morning.