Oops, turns out Denver Archdiocese didn't endorse oil & gas ballot measure

This Feb. 26, 2015 photo, shows an oil well on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation near Mandaree, North Dakota. U.S. officials announced plans Thursday, July 28, 2016, to speed up permitting for oil and gas drilling on federal and American Indian lands to reduce delays, as applications were projected to be down amid an ongoing price slump. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)

The Archdiocese of Denver showed up on Colorado Rising’s list of those endorsing Initiative 97, the ballot measure to increase setbacks for oil and gas operations from homes, schools and businesses.

That was news to the archdiocese.

Spokesman Mark Haas said the archdiocese has no record of O’Grady and had authorized no one to make an endorsement. He also noted that “archdiocese” was misspelled on the Colorado Rising website.

Colorado Rising removed the endorsement Wednesday morning after being notified by Colorado Politics.

The organization allows organizations and individuals to submit endorsements online. The archdiocese endorsement was submitted by Cathy O’Grady, who indicated she had authority to do so.

Colorado Rising leaders said they didn’t know O’Grady and provided her contact information. O’Grady said she got confused by the online form and meant to only offer her personal endorsement, not that of the archdiocese.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association questioned to Colorado Politics whether the endorsement as credible Tuesday evening but wasn’t sure.

Asked fo a statement Wednesday, COGA president and CEO Dan Haley said it was the latest in a series of problems Colorado Rising has encountered, including trouble with contractors collecting its ballot petitions.

The anti-industry cause turned in about 170,000 petitions on Aug. 6 to qualify for the November ballot. The Secretary of State’s office has to  certify at least 98,492 as valid signatures from registered voters.

“Missing ballots, unpaid workers, found ballots, secret recordings, lawsuits, finger-pointing and now this,” Haley said. “Coloradans can’t trust this group. You don’t have to be a person of faith to know that lying about the Catholic Church is a bad idea.

He added:

“To mislead Coloradans into thinking the Catholic Church, one of the largest religious denominations in the state, was supporting this job-killing, private property-grabbing initiative is a new level of dishonesty. You have to wonder how many other fake endorsements they’ve used to try and win over voters when they were out there gathering signatures.”

The archdiocese includes parishes in Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Jefferson, Larimer, Logan and Weld counties.

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