Senior Director of Political Affairs, Pac/West Communications: 2016-present
Director of Operations and Coalitions, Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED): 2013-present
Senior Account Manager, Pac/West Communications: August 2013-January 2016
Western Issues Specialist, National Association of Conservation Districts: 2011-2013
Government Affairs Associate, Pac/West Communications: 2009-2011
CRED worked on city council elections to assure pro-fracking leadership (including flipping Denver council)
“Even more of a preemptive strike in Fort Collins, looking at electing a “pro” city council, and making sure that the right city council members got elected to the city council to stop a potential fracking ban. And finally in Denver, this was kind of a one two punch. In February we had some op-eds and editorials go out, John Fielder who does beautiful Colorado landscape photography I’m sure many of you have seen it. He did an anti-fracking rally on the steps of the city council. We countered that and took the wind out of their sails in about a total of seven days. Including two meetings with the editorial board at the Denver Post, and a subsequent editorial saying this is ludicrous. We then also elected a pro city council, a pro-energy city council 7-6 on the conservative count, my count is like 9-4 in our favor for Denver City Council. To try and push something through there, which the opposition was trying to do, is now very difficult. So we have been very very (inaudible). And We’ve been able to keep municipal ballots and municipal ballot measures off in every city and county across Colorado in 2014.”
Truax's group CRED has a massive (3.9 million) database of voters
“We have scored 3.9 million Colorado voters in our databases, on their opinion of fracking. Everything we do then gets fed back in to this database. So that we can use it at a later time. We’ve knocked on 1.7 million doors, we’ve done 9 statewide surveys, we have done extensive phone research, and mail research, all of that information if I ever have contact it’s fed back in to that file.”
Mark Truax supportive of Raise the Bar initative that attempts to re-write state ballot measure process to stop anti-fracking measures:
Have you had any discussion about changing the actual ballot process itself?
“Yes, we are in the process of evaluating that right now, including working with the greater business community because there also a movement afoot in the greater business community, a number of long time Colorado leaders who are increasing the number of signatures required. Right now we are 5% of the Secretary of State, it takes 94,000 signatures to get on the ballot in Colorado, and there is no requirement for it to be diverse according to geography, so I can go camp in downtown Denver and get 94,000 signatures and be done. There is no proportion requirement by Congressional district or by county. So looking and seeing how all those (inaudible)”
Mark Truax explains how they “inoculated” against questions about their funding
Just a followup to that, Have you have had to deal with the opposition saying you are funded by oil and gas? (Question from audience)
“We took that head on, on day one. Our press release said this organization is funded by Anadarko and Noble and why wouldn’t two companies in Colorado with thousands of employees each want to make sure that Coloradans know what they are doing? And with ten of billions of dollars of capital expenditure going to be happening in Colorado, we want to make sure we educate Coloradans. So we able to inoculate that attack very very quickly.”
Coordinated with COGCC head Matt Lepore: (Matt Lepore is a government official and the top oil and gas regulator in the state of Colorado)
“This is why we have to spend time, and Mr. Lapore and I have had this conversation multiple times, how do we change these numbers? And flip the number heard up into the favorables. So we have people that know and have a favorable opinion of the COGCC. How do we really drive this home? We have now spent, now that we’ve built the level of understanding with fracking, and our fracking techniques and tools and processes, now we need to talk about regulations. Everything we’ve done, since about February of this year, has really has home that regulations (inaudible). We’ve highlighted that engineers in our tv and radio ads. Hey I’m an engineer, this is what I do. Let me tell you about my job, let me tell you what I spend 40 hours a week at Andarko or Noble or SM Energy doing. We absolutely have to drive that point home. And I share this with you to make sure that you all as regulators in this room and folks that work with regulatory industries, and agencies, drive this point home man. Talk about this. Make sure we are able to combat this. Without this, this is where we are going to have the biggest issues.”
“So 2014 victories, I encourage you to also take a look at this, this is Protect Colorado, which is kinda the political arm we work with, the political entity, CRED stays strictly educational.”
“On the CRED side that’s a 50/50 joint venture between Noble and Anadarko. And I will tell you that their investment in the last 2 years has been north of 8 figures. They have invested considerable resources.
On the Protect Colorado side, there has also been considerable investment, not as much as the CRED side. Seeing as we didn’t have a ballot initiative and legally that is the sole purpose of that organization, to advocate for and against certain ballot measures. And we have supporters from 100 dollars to larger contributions from ¼ of a million dollars to a million dollars. And Protect Colorado – Whiting, PVC, Pioneer CalFrack, Phase Water Exploration, Black Hills, Bill Bearant, about 15 total operators have a seat at the table and have contributed.
“So CRED, again started by Noble and Anadarko, we are a 501c(6), very similar to a trade association, I’ve learned more about 501c tax law than I care to know about, and we are here, we are not designed to be based on election cycles. A lot of these types of efforts, Wednesday after election day, go into the office, clean out your desk, turn off the lights, make sure the office is tidy and go home. We are a continual multi year education effort. And we started CRED and started our research on August 1st, we actually launched on September 5th 2013.”
In 2015, Mark Truax gave a presentation to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) about Pac/West Communication's strategies to oppose oil and gas regulations. In that presentation, Truax explained how CRED made “a preemptive strike in Fort Collins (Colorado),” which involved “making sure that the right city council members got elected to the city council to stop a potential fracking ban.”
Truax runs the front groups CRED and Protect Colorado. These groups, which are funded by the oil and gas industry, aim to prevent regulation of the fracking industry, and counter criticism.
The firm that runs Protect Colorado and CRED, PAC/WEST, met with COGCC head Matt Lepore to discuss their pro-fracking campaign.