Talisman Terry, the Friendly Fracosaurus, has been officially suspended from his duties as an unconventional gas mascot. The cartoon dinosaur was used to narrate Talisman Energy’s company coloring book which described the dangerous process of unconventional gas extraction as safe, clean and patriotic.
Talisman Energy decided to shelve the promotional material after numerous reports criticized the company for engaging in child-directed propaganda. The coloring book, called “Talisman Terry’s Energy Adventures,” portrays gas drilling processes in simplistic and euphoric terms, giving the impression that these controversial drilling techniques, which are connected to numerous instances of air pollution and water contamination, are environmentally beneficial. The 24-page book features images of drilling sites with smiling wildlife and overarching rainbows.
Talisman Energy has been cited for numerous environmental violations and has one of the worst drilling records in Pennsylvania, a fact the children’s book made no mention of.
The controversial book became national news after it was reported by Stephen Colbert on Monday. “The Colbert Report” created its own Fracosaurus parody, showing Terry depressed and killing himself in a methane explosion after lighting a cigarette in the shower. Similar incidents have occurred across the States when methane contamination of domestic water supplies creates a highly explosive build up in confined spaces, like bathrooms.
Soon after the spoof, Talisman Energy announced on Fox News that they had stopped distributing the material. Company spokesperson Natalie Cox tried to downplay the tide of criticism by saying that “there’s two sides to every story.” The company is “not going to continue to dispute the intent of a children’s coloring book,” she said, adding, “we’re going to take our company’s focus to where it should be.”
The coloring book has also received some negative response from U.S. Representative Ed Markey, D-Mass. Markey, at a recent Energy and Mineral Resources and Agriculture Joint Subcommittee hearing, referred to Talisman Terry as a “loveable dinosaur” who “playfully promotes the benefits of natural gas and paints a picture of a magical world filled with smiling rocks and grinning animals.” The problem, he says, “is that unless you are a ‘FRACK-A-SAURUS’ named ‘Talisman Terry,’ this world doesn’t exist.”
Communities suffering the effects of unconventional gas extraction, he continues, suffer “contamination of water supplies, loss of property value, deteriorating health conditions, dead livestock, and destruction of pristine forest and agriculture lands.”
When Talisman spokesperson Cox says the company is prepared to ‘take their focus where it should be’ we can only hope she means to address these concerns for community and environmental health.