Since news broke that Wyoming Oil and Gas Supervisor Tom Doll had said some ill-advised things at a conference of state regulators in Canada, I’ve heard a lot of stories and questions about what he said and where he said it.
Generally all the talk I’ve heard has boiled down to one basic claim: Tom Doll got snookered by a reporter, EnergyWire’s Mike Soraghan, who originally reported Doll’s derogatory comments about an EPA water investigation and Pavillion-area residents with water concerns.
Here’s the range of what I’ve heard: Doll didn’t make the comments, he was misquoted by the reporter, he was off the record, he was overheard talking to others and the comments were private.
Doll submitted his resignation June 14 after he apologized for his comments and they were disavowed by Gov. Matt Mead’s office. In most cases like this, those aren’t the kind of reactions you get if someone thinks they’ve been misquoted.
After receiving yet another phone call, I emailed Soraghan, the EnergyWire reporter. I asked: Where and when did Doll make the comments?
“Mr. Doll made those comments during a presentation he gave on the final day of the mid-year meeting of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission in Vancouver,” Soraghan wrote. “I would say a ‘public’ session, but it was in another country and I believe non-media had to pay to attend. But there wasn’t a bouncer at the door or anything.”
Folks, Doll’s were not private comments, nor were they off the record.
Soraghan said he did talk to Doll after the presentation, but his quotes from Doll were from the supervisor’s presentation. In his June 7 report on Doll’s apology for his remarks, Soraghan expanded on the key part of Doll’s comments about the Pavillion-area residents:
“I really believe greed is driving this,” Doll said. “They’re not happy with the state. They’re not happy with the governor of Wyoming. And they’re not happy with the EPA at times. They’re just not happy people, and they’re just looking to be compensated.”
Doll spoke before a packed room of oil and gas regulators of varying rank and industry employees. One attendee commented on Doll’s attitude during the presentation, Soraghan reported in an article about Doll’s resignation:
“His irritation showed to the point that one of his colleagues later chided him by asking, ‘How’s your blood pressure?’”
Doll’s presentation wasn’t recorded, IOGCC Communications Manager Carol Booth told me.
If you’re reading this online, links to the IOGCC meeting agenda, Doll’s PowerPoint presentation and Soraghan’s articles with Doll’s comments are attached to this article.
If you’re reading this in print, call me at 307-266-0623 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll help you find those files.
Working back through the situation isn’t to kick the man when he’s down. Clearly Doll’s already paid dearly for his comments: He lost his job.
Yet I hope Soraghan’s clarifications will help those who want to believe Doll got railroaded by a reporter whose work I respect and tamp down some of the rumors I keep hearing about Doll’s remarks.
People will always talk. but let’s try to get the facts straight, especially if a shield of rumors serves as an excuse.