Doe, an advocate for Loveland’s Question 1, which would impose a two-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, defended himself in a Monday letter to the Loveland Reporter-Herald after an uproar over his article insulting Nikkel in the left-wing website Counterpunch.
His letter came several days after Loveland councilor Hugh McKean described the remarks as “obscene” and called for apologies from Doe and Protect Our Loveland, the group behind Question 1.
Doe urged those “interested in the truth” to read his June 13-15 article, “Lies, Damn Lies, and Fracking Lies.”
“I called no one a trained dog or a Nazi as Nikkel has claimed and McKean is keen to capitalize on,” said Doe in the letter.
Articles in the Colorado Observer and the Denver Post say that Doe “described” Nikkel as a “trained talking dog” and “compared her” to a Nazi. Neither report says that he “called” her either a dog or a Nazi.
Nikkel has responded to questions initiated by reporters about the Doe article, but she did not bring the comments to the attention of the Colorado Observer.
Doe wrote the following after hearing Nikkel speak at a rally: “For some reason after Nikkel and her folks got done speaking, I kept thinking of Hitler’s Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels and how big lies gain acceptance.”
He also wrote: “Finally, among the many whoppers dutifully trotted out like a trained talking dog, Nikkel reminded the audience that fracking is perfectly safe because it has been around since the 1940s.”
Sharon Carlisle, spokeswoman for Protect Our Loveland, criticized opponents of Question 1 for highlighting the controversy in a full-page ad in the Reporter-Herald over the weekend, but also made it clear that Doe doesn’t speak for the campaign.
“Protect Our Loveland has once again been smeared with baseless accusations by the oil and gas industry,” said Carlisle in a Monday statement to the Reporter-Herald. “Mr. Doe is not a member of the POL campaign team, nor is he a spokesperson for our organization. As an American citizen, he is free to communicate in any venue he chooses with no obligation to consult with POL.”
Protect Our Loveland has hosted Doe and Wes Wilson at several events in the past year, referring to them on Facebook as “two esteemed experts in the area of hydraulic fracturing.”
At an April 21 forum hosted by the Centennial Institute in Lakewood, Wilson compared the economic benefits of oil and gas development to those of slavery.
Simon Lomax, Denver-based spokesman for Energy In Depth, an industry-backed research and advocacy group, wasn’t persuaded by Doe’s denials.
“So in the world of anti-energy activism, it’s okay to compare a woman to dog and a Nazi if you disagree with them? Good to know,” said Lomax.
“Seriously, do these angry political activists sound like the kind of people you want running the state economy?” said Lomax. “Because the national groups behind these local ‘ban fracking’ campaigns have a very clear agenda for Colorado: An effective ban on oil and natural gas production across the state, huge job losses, a massive hit to the economy and much higher energy bills for working families.”
In his June 18 letter to the Reporter-Herald, McKean said Doe’s comments crossed the line from civility to obscenity.
“I would call on Protect Our Loveland and Phil Doe to immediately apologize for such unacceptable remarks,” said McKean. “There is simply no place for this kind of rhetoric in this election in Loveland and to allow even a suggestion of this kind of incivility betrays the good nature of our community.”