Response to suggestion for speaker raises ire at Garfield County Energy Advisory Board
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
The Garfield County Energy Advisory Board is no stranger to controversy, acting as it does as a buffer between local residents and the oil and gas industry in the western end of the county.
So it perhaps was no surprise when a minor spat erupted this week over the EAB’s education program, and whether noted researcher Theo Colborn should be invited to speak.
Colborn, who is president of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange and a professor of zoology, is known as an environmental health analyst with specialty in the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals.
Her work has been cited by some as evidence that practices of the oil and gas industry can be hazardous to human health.
At the suggestion of industry critic and Rulison landowner Marion Wells, Colborn’s name recently was added to the list of potential speakers before the EAB.
But at the Dec. 3 EAB meeting, when Garfield County oil and gas liaison Judy Jordan suggested Colborn’s talk should be accompanied by a “panel” to discuss the issues raised, Wells took exception to the suggestion.
Why should a panel be formed for Colborn’s talk, Wells asked, when industry presentations are accepted without discussion panels?
“I think it’s to give a counter-perspective,” said Jordan, to what the gas industry sees as Colborn’s “very biased point of view.”
Wells, however, remained adamantly opposed and accused the board and its work of being “co-opted by industry.”
Another area landowner, Linda Dixon, seconded Wells’ condemnation of the EAB, calling Jordan’s suggestion “very insulting, and it proves what Marion was saying … that this board is co-opted.”
The others on the EAB did not respond directly to Wells’ accusations, and the meeting ended without any obvious resolution of the disagreement over Jordan’s suggestion.
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