Fracking presentation at Gov. Hickenlooper’s ag forum canceled

DENVER – A presentation by Colorado State University researchers on the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing has been withdrawn from the schedule for this Thursday’s 2014 Governor’s Forum on Colorado Agriculture, the event’s chief organizer said.

CSU, a sponsor of the forum, had announced Tuesday that the fracking presentation would be given, though it did not appear on an ag forum schedule.

Cancellation of the fracking presentation comes as controversy over hydraulic fracturing continues in Front Range cities. Fracking involves pumping high-pressure fluid into a drilled hole to release oil and gas from tight shale formations. Last week, a coalition of activist groups submitted language to the Colorado Legislative Council for a constitutional amendment to give local governments authority to regulate oil and natural-gas development.

Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, chairman of the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Program, which is organizing the forum, said the presentation was canceled along with another panel on restaurant consumer preferences. He said organizers wanted to include the fracking session as “one of those topics of concern,” but it was canceled because it was not prepared in time.

“We have to eliminate a number of those sessions to make everything fit right, and this was one of the slowest ones coming together,´ said Sonnenberg, R-Sterling. “So both of those got axed.”

Jens Blotevogel, a research assistant professor with CSU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering who planned to give the presentation, declined to comment. CSU officials referred comment to ag forum organizers.

Sonnenberg said that the fracking presentation was mistakenly included in CSU’s announcement.

“We didn’t do a very good job communicating,” he said.

The foum is a one-day conference focusing on ensuring the success of the state’s agricultural industry.

Speakers include Consulate General Shanghai Keith Schneller of the U.S. Agricultural Trade Office, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar, Alan Reed of the Western Dairy Association and faculty members of Colorado State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Sessions at the ag forum include:

• A 2014 weather outlook with State Climatologist Nolan Doesken;

• A presentation on consumer preferences for beef by Dale R. Woerner, assistant professor in CSU’s Department of Animal Sciences;

• A consumer preferences and agricultural literacy presentation by Michael Martin, assistant professor in Agricultural Education at CSU.

The ag forum also is held in conjunction with the Farm Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame induction ceremony, held Thursday night at the Denver Renaissance Hotel.

Les Hardesty, Cleon Kimberling, Don Svedman and Norman Dalsted will be inducted in the Agriculture Hall of Fame and Mr. John Adent will be recognized as the “Rising Star,” according to the Colorado FFA Foundation.


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