Groups tell Bennet, Hickenlooper: boycott COGA Summit

Groups call on Bennet, Hickenlooper, and their staff to boycott COGA Energy Summit

Denver, CO – Today, Colorado-based and national environmental groups are calling on the offices of Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper to publicly boycott the annual Energy Summit, which will be hosted by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) this week.

Both Bennet and Hickenlooper have participated as panel speakers at past COGA Energy Summits, most recently appearing as speakers in 2017 and 2018 respectively. Clips from these presentations have recently been used in promotional materials by COGA.

“We are worried that our Senators won’t be able to glad-hand with oil bosses one day and vote to repeal fossil fuel subsidies the next,” said Maryah Lauer, Colorado Grassroots Organizer for Friends of the Earth. “Publicly committing themselves and their staff to a boycott is the least that Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper can do.”

COGA president Dan Haley donated to Bennet’s campaign in 2016. The following year, Bennet can be seen at a climate panel in front of Big Oil logos and posing with Haley during the Energy Summit. 

Hickenlooper also has a long history with COGA, voicing a PSA-style radio ad sponsored by the organization in 2012, and telling COGA Energy Summit attendees in 2011 that he and his administration were “absolutely committed to working through whatever problems come up” and that “your potential…your best days are still ahead of you, there’s an awful lot of natural gas still out there.”

COGA’s Energy Summit in Denver takes place just days after wildfires super-charged by fossil fuels were responsible for Denver reporting the lowest air quality of any city in the world. 

Meanwhile, Congress is negotiating an ambitious $3.5 trillion infrastructure package. This legislation could potentially close $121 billion worth of fossil fuel tax loopholes to help fund investment in renewables and other priorities. Several sponsors of the Energy Summit are actively lobbying to protect these taxpayer-funded handouts. 

“Colorado’s Senators must choose a side,” the letter reads. “We fully expect you to boycott COGA and redouble your efforts towards ending Big Oil’s billions in special interest handouts.”

Communications contact: Brittany Miller, (202) 222-0746, [email protected]

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