Lawmakers call on CEO to rethink fracking opposition

Kelly Sloan

Kelly Sloan, The Business  Times

Five Republican state legislators from Western Colorado have called on the executive of an outdoor clothing manufacturer to reconsider his company’s opposition to hydraulic fracturing.

State Sens. Steve King of Grand Junction and Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs joined with State Reps. Ray Scott of Grand Junction, Jared Wright of Fruita and Bob Rankin of Glenwood Springs in signing a letter to Casey Sheahan, chief executive officer of Patagonia.

The California-based Patagonia is a major financial sponsor of the “Frack-Free Colorado” campaign and supported hydraulic fracturing bans on the November election ballot in four Northeast Colorado municipalities.

Neither Sheahan nor Patagonia had responded publically to the letter before press deadline.

“We would hope … that as a respected business leader and employer, you would put a little more thought into the things you say and write and perhaps consider more carefully the consequences of your words for real people,” the lawmakers wrote.

The legislators went on to describe the economic benefits of oil and natural gas development. “Your anti-fracking campaign does not seem to include any mention of how a young family would keep warm in the winter, do homework after the sun goes down or drive the kids to school without the products that depend on fracking technology,” they wrote.

The legislators also pointed out that Patagonia itself relies on energy development and a strong economy to produce, transport, and market its products.

Moreover, the economic fallout from a ban on fracking and the loss of jobs would curb the recreational activities and related products people could afford. They wrote: “A frack-free Western Colorado would mean a largely Patagonia–free Western Colorado.”

The legislators told Sheahan his company’s stance against fracking isn’t based in fact. “Please take even a few moments to learn the scientific facts about a production process which you so vocally disparage,” they wrote. “Please think the issues through more carefully before rashly setting off on a crusade that can only result in real harm being done to real people.”