OLD Media Moves

Energy reporter claims industry got him fired

August 21, 2014

Posted by Chris Roush

John Colson, who covered the energy industry for the Glenwood Springs Post Independent in Colorado, claims the companies operating in the area got him fired from the paper, reports David O. Williams of Government Executive.

Williams writes, “‘I focused to a large degree when I first started covering oil and gas on the people that it was affecting, the people who lived near oil and gas facilities and were getting sick and dying in one case,’ Colson said, adding he increasingly clashed with management over corporate influence at the paper.

“The allegations by Colson come amid a growing debate about local government control of oil and gas drilling to curb potential health impacts. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper recently struck an 11th-hour deal to avert a costly political battle over two controversial ballot initiatives that would have increased county and municipal control over drilling.

“Several Colorado cities last fall voted to impose hydraulic fracturing bans, prompting lawsuits from the industry and the state, which maintains ultimate regulatory authority. Judges have recently sided with state and industry, but public health concerns persist.

“Trési Houpt, a former Garfield County commissioner whom incumbent commissioner Tom Jankovsky ousted in the 2010 general election, said there is a pattern of the current three-member board bending to the will of the oil and gas industry.

“‘John [Colson] did a tremendous job of bringing that investigative reporting back to the Post Independent,’ Houpt said, ‘and it’s a huge loss for him to be gone. I’m not only disappointed in the Post Independent, I’m appalled that any type of media outlet would buckle to that type of pressure.'”

Read more here.

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