Texas Observer: The Lite Guv and the Frack Master

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Chris Faulkner brings his brand of bravado and lots of cash to the Texas Capitol. So, what’s he really after?

CNN International host Richard Quest strides across the studio and extends his hand to his round-faced, goateed guest. “Breitling Energy is a U.S. company that goes into fracking in a big way,” Quest says. “We have the man who’s called the ‘fracking master’ because you do so much of it.” And so continues Chris Faulkner’s seemingly endless series of TV interviews.

Faulkner is CEO of Breitling Energy Corp., and during the last three years he has become the media’s go-to voice from Texas in favor of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. His 45-minute Powering America show and one-minute “Oil and Gas Today” spots were heard all last year on KRLD, the CBS radio affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth. As Quest got almost right, Faulkner goes by the moniker “Frack Master.”

Outlets that have turned to the Frack Master for news and commentary include CNBC, Bloomberg TV and the BBC. The New York Times cited him eight times in 2014. He’s quoted by reporters for Reuters and in stories by The Associated Press.

He’s sharp and snarky with an impressive memory for facts and figures. And he’s unusual in the energy industry; while most executives dodge the press, Faulkner is happy to appear on a chat show to discuss the latest in oil prices or rig counts.

Faulkner alternates between Rush Limbaugh-style self-righteousness and sympathetic acceptance of criticism. He says people have a right to worry about noise, earthquakes and mysterious fracking fluids. But he says that fracking can be done well, and that it should be.

“These environmentalists have done a hell of a job educating folks on fear,” Faulkner said in an interview for this story. “And I think no one in this industry is willing to stand up and take that target, and I’m willing to do so.”

Faulkner is many things: tech entrepreneur, TV star, publicity genius and international fracking advocate. He also is passionate about standing up for himself in court, whether against a competitor who accused him of defamation or against a Dallas zoning board.

Read the whole thing

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About Steven Bodzin

Steven Bodzin is a reporter. He blogged when he was a freelancer.

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