Gas driller halts distribution of coloring book

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Talisman Terry, the "friendly Fracosaurus" star of a coloring book published by Talisman Energy, will no longer explain the natural gas drilling process to youngsters after the company announced plans today to stop distribution of the controversial children's book.

"Talisman Terry's Energy Adventure" was a 24-page booklet that explained natural gas drilling in kid-friendly fashion and could be downloaded from the Calgary-based energy company's website. It had been distributed at community fairs in northeastern Pennsylvania through the company's Good Neighbor program. Talisman Terry's message is overt and unapologetic: drilling for natural gas in formations like the Marcellus Shale is smart, safe and American.

In the coloring book, the same plot of land doesn't look much different in the "Before Drilling" and "After Drilling" illustrations. If anything, the "after" image seems more pastoral: new trees have been planted, a bald eagle soars over the hill, a rainbow has appeared.

"We're going to take our company's focus to where it should be," said Natalie Cox, spokesperson for Talisman Energy USA, to Fox News. "We're not going to continue to dispute the intent of a children's coloring book. There's two sides to every story, but it's not something that we're going to be disputing . . . it's an activity book for young children."

The Post-Gazette reported on the coloring book last month, and the book's rosy view of the controversial industry was lambasted by critics as dishonest propaganda.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., referenced the Fracosaurus in prepared remarks critical of the natural gas industry's environmental record.

"The loveable dinosaur playfully promotes the benefits of natural gas and paints a picture of a magical world filled with smiling rocks and grinning animals," said Mr. Markey.

And on Monday, Terry was treated to a vicious lampooning by comedian Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report." Mr. Colbert presented doctored pages he said had gone missing from the book, the last of which showed a depressed Fracosaurus lighting himself on fire in the shower.


Erich Schwartzel: eschwartzel@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1455.


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