Hall resigns from oil, gas association

Former Mesa County Commissioner Kathy Hall has left her job with the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, but a spokesman for the industry group says she wasn’t asked to resign after comments she made in a new documentary.

Hall’s departure as the group’s Western Slope representative comes after she said in the movie “Split Estate” that she had tasted hydraulic fracturing fluid without ill effect.

“I’ve had it in my mouth. I’ve tasted it, and I’m just fine,” a smiling Hall said in the documentary, which featured Garfield County residents who contend they have suffered health effects as a result of natural gas development near their homes.

Association spokesman Nate Strauch said Hall resigned of her own accord and wasn’t asked to step down. He said she didn’t specify a reason for leaving in her resignation letter.

Hall couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

Strauch declined to elaborate further on Hall’s departure, other than to issue a written statement from the association saying it appreciated Hall’s support for those working in the industry and wished her success in her future endeavors.

Leslie Robinson of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance said she was surprised to hear Hall had left the Colorado Oil & Gas Association and wondered if the movie had anything to do with it.

“Who knows about that, if that’s coincidence or if it was something that her performance for COGA wasn’t up to speed for that movie. I just don’t know,” Robinson said. “… For her to claim that she drank a glass of fracking fluid was pretty outrageous.”

Robinson’s organization is backing congressional legislation that would force disclosure of chemicals used in fracturing, which involves pumping fluids down wells under high pressure to increase oil and gas production. Industry representatives say the practice hasn’t contaminated drinking water wells, and any chemicals in the fluids are highly diluted.

Donna Gray, a spokeswoman for Williams Production, said she couldn’t speculate about why Hall left, but added, “Kathy’s been a wonderful champion of the oil and gas industry, and we just always appreciated the work she’s done for us.”

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