COGA apologizes for ‘misunderstanding’ in fracking petition

FORT COLLINS — Mistakes were made in gathering signatures from area businesses for a petition opposing a ban on hydraulic fracturing in Fort Collins, the president of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association said Friday.

“We feel our contractors were clear in their intentions, but if there was any misunderstanding, we are deeply apologetic,´ said Tisha Schuller, president of the industry group.

“If any signature has unintentionally led to a misrepresentation, they will be removed from the petition,” she added.

The statement from Schuller followed a report in the Coloradoan newspaper that the petition COGA presented to Fort Collins City Council earlier this week inaccurately represented businesses. The council gave preliminary approval to a fracking ban Tuesday night.

The newspaper contacted 55 of the businesses listed as having signed the petition. The owners of 22 businesses said that their inclusion on the list inaccurately represented their business, the Coloradoan reported.

“We are concerned about the allegations presented in the (Coloradoan) story and acknowledge that mistakes were made,” Schuller said in email to the Northern Colorado Business Report. “We are conducting an internal audit to assess the process and ensure greater clarity in the collection of signatures.”

EIS Solutions, the COGA contractor, gathered signatures from Fort Collins businesses for the petition. That document read, “Vote NO on the Fort Collins ‘FRACKING’ ban.”

The signature gatherers went door to door, asking businesses for their support, whether the people they contacted had the authority to represent the business and whether they felt comfortable with their business’ name being used for promotional proposes, Schuller said. Some businesses allowed photos to be taken while they signed the petition.

“We sincerely appreciate those individuals and businesses in Fort Collins that support Colorado’s oil and gas industry and will ensure that we positively and correctly represent them in the future,” she added.

To read the Coloradoan story, click here.

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