Tisha Schuller recently announced that she’s leaving her position as executive director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the state’s largest trade organization for the energy industry. She sat down with Bente Birkeland to talk about the future of the industry and why she decided to leave her position after 5½ years.
Here are excerpts from the conversation.
On being at the helm during a tumultuous time, with several front range communities voting to ban fracking, subsequent industry lawsuits, proposed ballot initiatives and new rules to govern energy extraction. What’s the biggest challenge?
“I think the fact that the industry is in a state of constant evolution and we’re in an environment that’s constantly changing. So the expectations of communities have shifted radically over the last five years,” said Schuller.
What do you tell people who don’t think fracking is safe and don’t want it near homes and communities?
“The most important thing is to really be listening and learning about those concerns, because they shift and they vary depending on what your experience with oil and gas is,” said Schuller.
Do you think the question of local control over oil and gas drilling will eventually go before voters in a statewide vote?
“I don’t think so. I think that this is the conversation we’re having right now, these six months. But five years ago we were talking about hydraulic fracturing disclosure, after that we were talking about ground water monitoring, and after that we were talking about air emissions,” said Schuller.