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The return of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s annual Energy Summit this week comes just a couple weeks after one of the largest gatherings in our industry’s history and what was a powerful showing of a more than three-thousand oil and natural gas workers. That event was largely overlooked by local media, which we hope is not repeated this week.

It was truly a remarkable afternoon in early August when more than three thousand oil and gas workers – and their families – made their way down to the Colorado State Capitol to rally in support of jobs and contributions to the state.  Energy workers and advocates stood out in coordinated t-shirts as they walked down the 16th Street Mall. The shirts expressed clearly what the event was all about: from “Energy Proud” on the front to the listing of “Top Ten Reasons to Love Oil and Gas” on the back.

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Importantly, oil and gas workers had the chance to hear from officials from both sides of the aisle. State Rep. James Coleman (D-Denver) put it best when he told the crowd, “There are over 200,000 people in Colorado that work in the energy industry, many of which are here today. And I’m proud to say that when I think about my grandfather, and when I see all of you, I don’t see blue, I don’t see red, I see hard-working Americans, hard-working Coloradans.”

Former Interior Department Secretary and former Colorado Attorney General Gale Norton called the workers “revolutionaries” for their transformative technological efforts to build American energy independence. “It’s not often that I get to speak to a crowd of revolutionaries. That’s exactly what you are because you have accomplished a revolution.”

“Today we no longer are hostage to foreign countries controlling our oil,” she said. “Today we control our own destiny. You should truly be energy proud,” said Norton.

The event was a huge success, featuring speakers who promoted the importance of the industry support in the community.

“The Colorado oil and gas community is our number one financial supporter,” said Ned Breslin, CEO of the Tennyson Center for Children, which works with families dealing with trauma from abuse and neglect, to heal, stabilize, and reintegrate children.

“You’re also the number one volunteers and mentors for the kids who come through the Tennyson Center. You’re showing them proper relationships with adults. You’re helping them advance,” Breslin added.

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And not to go unnoticed, the oil and gas community made sure to clean up after itself and leave the capitol grounds better off than how they had found it.

The energy rally – a feel good story for sure – didn’t receive the media coverage that happens when activists try and place blame on the industry. Our Western Wire team was on location and report on the event. The Denver Business Journal wrote up a story, too. And Kyle Clark at Denver’s 9News showed footage of the event when interviewing Western Energy Alliance President later in the week.

Ironically, the event came just days after a few anti-energy activists in the state expressed their outrage with Starbucks Coffee for their latest coffee mug that featured three pump-jacks on its Colorado mug. The rally that featured prominent policymakers and community members also came exactly one week after a handful of relatively unknown anti-fossil fuel activists gathered for a press conference at the very location at the Capitol to make accusations of intimidation and heckling against the industry.

To be clear, these voices should be heard and reporters should cover these stories. But it’s also important to remember the contributions of more than 100,000 energy workers in Colorado doing their best every day to help move the state’s economy forward. In the midst of Keep-It-in-the-Ground campaigns by activists to shut down oil and natural gas development and candidates running for statewide office who support policies that would put people out of work, we would hope the media could cover both sides equally. Journalists can’t provide coverage for opponents and allow claims of distractions of other news to keep them from covering a large rally a week later, attended by officials from both parties and thousands of workers.

Perhaps the stories about Starbucks’ mug and activists are exactly why it’s so important for oil and gas workers to rally. As a Colorado native whose family has spent decades working in the energy and mining sector, it was a welcome moment to remember just how much our larger energy family has done. Colorado and natural resources industries balance responsible development with environmental protections, allowing us to build economic growth and jobs in resource development while ensuring we protect the environment for future generations.

We hope that these highlighted accomplishments, as well as the conference events and speakers themselves, will earn the media coverage it rightly deserves.