Coloradans For Responsible Energy Development Is A Pro-Fracking Industry Front Group Funded By Anadarko Petroleum And Other Oil And Gas Companies

Anadarko Petroleum And Noble Energy Were The Funders Of Coloradans For Responsible Energy, A Campaign To Beat Back Ballot Initiatives That Could Restrict Fracking.  “Noble officials also elaborated on a publicity campaign the company is waging in Colorado in partnership with Anadarko Petroleum Corp., based in The Woodlands. The campaign, called Coloradoans for Responsible Energy, is trying to beat back potential ballot proposals in the state that could restrict the well completion process called hydraulic fracturing. Fracturing – injecting fluids and sand into a well under pressure to release oil and gas from tight formations – has contributed to a surge in U.S. production. Opponents say it may contaminate water and cause other environmental damage. “I think we’re prepared for a full communication effort,” Davidson said. “It’s going to be a lengthy summer, and we’ll see. There’s a lot of political dynamics that are happening here, and it changes daily.” [Houston Chronicle, 04/25/14]

From 2014-2016, The Oil And Gas Industry Pumped Over $33.5 Million Into Coloradans For Responsible Energy Development…

[Coloradans For Responsible Energy Development, 2016 IRS Form 990, Filed 11/14/17]

[Coloradans For Responsible Energy Development, 2015 IRS Form 990, Filed 11/14/16]

[Coloradans For Responsible Energy Development, 2014 IRS Form 990, Filed 5/14/15]

…And Another $67.5 Million Since 2014 Into Its PAC, Protect Colorado 

Protect Colorado Was The Political Arm Of Coloradans For Responsible Energy Development. “Olson, when contacted on Wednesday, referred a reporter to John Christiansen, vice president of corporate communications for Anadarko. A message left for Christiansen soon triggered a reply from Karen Crummy, spokeswoman for Protect Colorado, the political arm of Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development, which received initial funding from Anadarko and Noble Energy.” [Colorado Daily-UC Boulder, 08/01/18]

Since 2014, Protect Colorado Has Received $67.5 Million In Contributions.  [Colorado Secretary of State, Financial Summary Of Protecting Colorado’s Environment Economy, And Energy Independence, accessed 12/05/19]

Anadarko Has Contributed Over $13.5 Million To Protect Colorado 

In 2018, Anadarko Contributed $6,941,000 To Protect Colorado. [Colorado Secretary of State, Protecting Colorado’s Environment Economy, And Energy Independence, 2018 End of Cycle Filing, 12/6/18]

In 2016, Anadarko Contributed $5,662,500 To Protect Colorado PAC.  [Anadarko, 2016 Political Contributions, accessed 12/05/19]

In 2015, Anadarko Contributed $1,050,000 To Protect Colorado PAC. [Anadarko, 2015 Political Contributions, accessed 12/05/19

Anadarko Petroleum Is One Of The Top Leaseholders Of Public Lands For Oil And Gas Drilling 

Anadarko Is One Of The Top Leaseholders Of Public Lands With Over 1.9 Million Acres In Oil And Gas Leases. [Rainforest Action Network, Report, 09/28/15]

In 2018, Anadarko Settled With The Families Of Two Men When A House They Were In Exploded From An Oil And Gas Leak From A Nearby Anadarko Well 

[Denver Post, 05/23/18]

Anadarko Reached A Settlement With The Families Of Two Men Who Were Killed When An Oil And Gas Leak Triggered An Explosion That Destroyed A Home.  “Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC) has reached a legal settlement with families of two men killed in 2017 when an oil and gas well leak triggered a fatal explosion that destroyed a nearby Firestone home. The Texas-based company said it has reached agreement with the wife of Mark Martinez and parents of Joey Irwin, the 42-year-old men who died in the explosion that destroyed Martinez’s house at 6312 Twilight Ave. in Firestone on April 17, 2017. The blast seriously injured Martinez’s wife, Erin, who was home at the time. Erin Martinez reached agreement resolving claims she or her children could have from the accident, Anadarko said. Similarly, Cathy Hurtado and Joseph Irwin Jr., parents of Joey Irwin, resolved their legal claims against the company. Terms were not disclosed.  No lawsuit against Anadarko had been filed by the family members.” [Denver Business Journal, 05/23/18]

  • Odorless Natural Gas Vapor From An Anadarko Well Leaked Through A Basement Floor Drain Of A Home Nearby Where The Two Men Working In The Basement.  “Odorless natural gas vapor from the Anadarko-owned well leaked in through a basement floor drain and ignited while Martinez and Irwin were working in the basement, local fire investors concluded. “The people of Anadarko express their deepest condolences to both families, and to all affected families, friends and communities,” Anadarko said. “The company remains committed to permanently plugging, abandoning and removing the well, and two others nearby, as well as the associated equipment located in and around the Oak Meadows neighborhood.” [Denver Business Journal, 05/23/18]

Six Former High-Ranking Anadarko Employees Testified Against The Company For Slashing Safety And Remediation Budgets Prior To The Explosion… 

Six Former High-Ranking Anadarko Employees Testified Against The Company For Slashing Safety And Remediation Budgets Prior To The Explosion, Violating Colorado’s Safety And Environmental Regulations. “In a separate, pending lawsuit filed by Anadarko shareholders, six former high-ranking Anadarko employees have blamed the company for slashing safety and remediation budgets before the Firestone explosion. That lawsuit contends the company is responsible for causing the shareholders to lose money they invested. The lawsuit alleges Anadarko officials should have warned the shareholders they were violating the safety and environmental rules of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates the industry. The company has declined to comment publicly on that lawsuit but is mounting a defense in federal court.” [Denver Post, 05/23/18]

  • The Lawsuit Claimed That Anadarko Had Been Told For Months About Unsafe Conditions Prior To The Explosion. “A lawsuit against Anadarko Petroleum Corp. has been revived to allege its executives falsely claimed the company operated its Colorado oil and gas wells safely despite management being told for months about conditions that made a 2017 fatal home explosion in Firestone unavoidable. The class action investor lawsuit, led by the Philadelphia-based Iron Workers Benefit and Pension Fund, was dismissed in June by federal Judge Lee Rosenthal, chief judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, who said the lawsuit failed make specific-enough allegations. Rosenthal gave the plaintiffs time to file a new complaint. The plaintiffs refiled the complaint Aug. 3 with new specifics alleging Anadarko was publicly misleading about the company’s safety practices and compliance with Colorado rules in the months before and after the Firestone blast, which killed two men and injured a woman.” [Denver Business Journal, 08/07/18]

…Including The Former President Of Coloradans For Responsible Energy Development, Who Left Anadarko After He Had Concerns About Their Lack Of Safety Precautions

2014: Chris Castilian Was The President of Coloradans For Responsible Energy. 

[Coloradans For Responsible Energy 2014 IRS Form 990, Filed 5/14/15]

Chris Castilian, Formerly Regional Director Of Government Relations For The Rocky Mountain Region Of Anadarko, Said That He Left The Company After Concerns About Their Lack Of Safety Precautions. “Lawyers representing the shareholders revealed the statements from the former employees and contractor in the amended complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Houston. They do not detail how those statements were gathered, but they state that confidentiality was “neither promised nor requested” and that the names “will be provided to defendants or the court upon request.” The Denver Post confirmed the identities of two. One former employee is Chris Castilian, Anadarko’s former regional director of government relations for the Rockies region. “Operations had the veto power, drilling wells was the priority,” Castilian said in statements the lawsuit attributes to him. “Operations trumped everything else within the company.” Castilian also was the director of engagement and strategy for Anadarko’s Rockies region from March 2015 until his resignation in November 2016. Castilian was a key player behind the formation in 2013 of Coloradans for Responsible for Energy Development, an industry public relations front group that in its first three years of operation raised $30 million from drilling companies to flood airwaves with pro industry messages and to send canvassers into local municipalities to combat ballot initiatives aimed at restricting drilling across the Front Range. In an interview with The Post, Castilian said he got a call from a lawyer representing the shareholders and decided to tell him about his concerns, which he said began to build after former Anadarko chairman and CEO Jim Hackett resigned from the company in 2012. “It was a different culture,” said Castilian, now executive director of Great Outdoors Colorado. “It wasn’t the same company I went to work for in 2007. There wasn’t one specific incident that made me think, ‘I’m leaving the company.’ But it was part of a bigger picture of ‘Do I want to continue working with and staking my personal and professional reputation on a company that wasn’t what I thought it was.'” [Denver Post, 05/09/18]

Castilian Told Lawyers That Anadarko Slashed Their Safety And Remediation Budget When Oil Prices Fell. “The lawsuit said Castilian told the lawyers that safety issues at the company became more pronounced in Oct. 21, 2013, after Anadarko and its chief competitor, Noble Energy, finalized a land swap. As part of that transfer, Noble received land Anadarko had owned in a sparsely populated corner of Colorado in exchange for portions of the Wattenberg field, just north of Denver, in an area booming with residential and commercial construction. The land swap gave Anadarko the right to drill along with more than 1,500 existing wells, many of which had been drilled up to 50 years before on land that was once rural but had since become prized for residential and commercial development, the lawsuit states. The wells that were obtained in the swap included the one that investigators have linked to the Firestone explosion. Castilian has said “Anadarko was not able to inspect anything more than a tiny proportion of the wells it was acquiring from Noble,” and the “problems with the wells Anadarko received in the land swap were far out of proportion to what it was expecting,” the lawsuit alleges. Castilian also has made statements that Anadarko had a list of up to several hundred “risky and problematic wells” that its safety staff ranked on a spreadsheet. The company’s executive committee authorized a remediation budget in the low tens of millions of dollars for dangerous wells, the lawsuit alleges Castilian said. “At first, Anadarko prepared to actually spend the budget on remediation,” the lawsuit alleges. “However, with the collapse of oil prices in fall 2014, Anadarko drastically reduced the remediation budget. Thereafter, Anadarko dedicated only a trickle of resources to remediation.” It adds that Castilian has said remediation and repair budgets for old wells fluctuated with commodity prices. Such work was deemed important by the company when commodity prices reached $100 a barrel, according to statements attributed Castilian, but “was very rarely a significant percentage of the capital allocation in a lower commodity price environment.” At the same time, according to Castilian, Anadarko had an incentive to turn on and keep running the wells it had received from Noble, even if those wells were in desperate need of repairs, the lawsuit states. This is because Anadarko leased 60 percent of the land where it operated in the Wattenberg and terms generally required the company to operate the wells to maintain the leases, the lawsuit alleges Castilian said.” [Denver Post, 05/09/18]

In The Wake Of The Explosion From Their Well That Killed Two People, Anadarko Lobbied Against Bill That Would Map Oil And Gas Pipelines To Prevent The Tragedy From Happening Again

In The Wake Of The Anadarko Well Leak That Killed Two People When A Home They Were In Exploded, Democrats Pushed A Bill That Would Force State Regulators To Map Oil And Gas Pipelines In The State—The Bill Was Filibustered By Republicans. “Environmental groups this year failed to get bills opposed by the industry out of the state Senate, which Anadarko and Noble helped last year keep in Republican hands by pouring nearly $1 million into political groups that paid heavily for mailers attacking Democratic candidates. Republicans in the House this year filibustered a bill that would have forced state regulators to map oil and gas pipelines throughout the state, a measure Democrats pushed in the wake of the fatal home explosion in Firestone investigators have blamed on a severed Anadarko pipeline. Another bill that would have barred oil drilling from within 1,000 feet of schools also died in the state Senate this year. “You can’t miss all the ads and brochures in the doors, but how they exert influence so they can continue to make profit is not as well known,” said state Sen. Matt Jones, a Democrat from Louisville. “The fact that they opposed, even this year, after the tragic Firestone deaths, any mapping of pipes is beyond the pale.” [Denver Post, 07/16/17]

  • Anadarko Lobbied Against Legislation To Map Oil And Gas Pipelines. “Lobbyist disclosure reports (first reported by the International Business Times) show that Anadarko lobbyists opposed the mapping legislation. The bill also drew opposition from other energy companies and professional associations. Lobbyists for Noble sought to amend the bill, the disclosure reports show.” [Denver Post, 07/16/17]