Jeffery Hildebrand

Position: 
Founder, chairman, and CEO of Hilcorp Energy
Biography: 

Hilcorp's business is oil and gas exploration and development, including fracking operations in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions.

Hildebrand is Hilcorp Energy's sole shareholder. According to Forbes, his estimated worth is $5.5 billion, making him the 56th wealthiest American.

In 2012 the Denver Post reported that Hildebrand planned to fix up his 203-acre Snowmass, CO estate with polo grounds, a horse barn, stables, a ranch managers's house, a pool house and a 10,300-square-foot residence. 

 

 

Evidence: 

Hilcorp has circumvented landowners' resistance to fracking in Pennsylvania through a legal strategy called "forced pooling," which forces those holding out to lease their land to join others that have given their consent.

Ohio authorities shut down one of Hilcorp's fracking operations in March, 2014 after it was linked to magnitude 2.6 and 3.0 earthquakes.

Hildebrand sold his company's stake in the Eagle Ford (TX) shale play to Marathon Oil for $1.4 billion in 2011, using the money to invest in the Cook Inlet, Alaska oil fields. In an apparent rush to profit from its new investments, the company soon ran afoul of the law, later paying a $115,000 civil penalty for failing to notify the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission about changes to its drilling plans that were not in its permit. "The aggressiveness with which Hilcorp is moving forward with operations appears to be contributing to regulatory compliance issues," the commissions said in its 4/10/13 order.  Meanwhile, fishermen concerned about decreasing salmon stock due to "the loss and degradation of freshwater habitat" accused the state's Department of Fish and Game of illegally giving the company permits to fill a critical habitat area called Redoubt Bay as part of its oil storage operations.

In 2012 EPA fined Hilcorp $26,100 for "failing to address secondary containment for spilled gasoline and collection of oil discharges from its Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana offshore drilling operations.

During the 2011-2012 election cycle, Hildebrand gave nearly $700,000 to federal candidates and super PACs, including a $450,000 contribution to Mitt Romney's Restore Our Future super PAC. He was also a big supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign.