New Report Documents Fossil Fuel Disinformation in Colorado, Ahead of Congressional Hearing

State and Local Climate Deception Part of a National Trend

Published Oct 20, 2021

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (October 20, 2021)—In advance of the U.S. House Oversight Committee’s October 28th hearing on fossil fuel industry disinformation, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has released a compendium of the fossil fuel industry’s deceptive tactics over the past decade in Colorado. The report, “Colorado Targeted by Fossil Fuel Industry’s Disinformation Playbook: Climate Deception Harms Communities’ Health and Safety,” shows that oil and gas companies and their trade groups have funneled massive amounts of money into the state to sideline science-based decisions and buy political influence.

“These tactics are costing the people of Colorado,” said Ortal Ullman, senior outreach coordinator in the Climate and Energy Program at UCS and a co-author of the report. “While fossil fuel companies benefit from favorable tax laws and block efforts to enact stricter regulations on fracking, the industry’s strategy of delaying climate action has driven up the bill for costly climate impacts. Extreme heat, worsening wildfires, and dangerous air pollutants from fossil fuels threaten the environment, health, and homes in the state, with disproportionate impacts on communities of color and low-income communities. All the while, the industry expects the public to pick up the tab.”

ExxonMobil, Chevron, and the American Petroleum Institute are among the major players in Colorado’s oil and gas industry. Their CEOs and those of other major fossil fuel industry interests will reportedly testify before Congress next week.

“The disinformation tactics documented in this report are some of the same strategies that are the subject of the House Oversight Committee’s investigation—and a preview of what may come to light in the House hearing,” said Kathy Mulvey, UCS climate accountability campaign director and a report co-author.

The report’s examination of fossil fuel industry efforts to weaken, delay, and block science-based policymaking is also relevant as Congress considers climate action as part of the Build Back Better plan and ahead of the annual U.N. international climate talks, also referred to as COP26, which are set to take place in Glasgow, Scotland next month.

For additional information, see Ullman’s blog post “Colorado’s fossil fuel industry wants to buy your friendship. Don’t be fooled,” which explains how the oil and gas industry has targeted Colorado with a concerted campaign of climate deception, how people and democracy are harmed, and what communities are doing to hold the industry accountable.