Tom Rutledge is a senior landman with Laramie Energy, a natural gas drilling company that specializes in extracting gas reserves from "unconventional" geological sources in the U.S. Rockies. "Unconventional" reservoirs refers to sands, coal beds and shale.
On Saturday, June 6, 2009, Rutledge attended an event put on by the National Association of Royalty Owners event in Parachute, Colorado, where he persistently criticized a state legislator over new state rules regulating the oil and gas industry, without disclosing his industry ties. The fact that he worked for the industry was exposed later, in online blog postings.
State Representative Kathleen Curry (D-Gunnison) also attended and spoke at the meeting. Rutledge protested to Curry that the new rules, which are supported by Governor Bill Ritter, a Democrat, and the state's Democratically-controlled Legislature, will prevent development of his minerals beneath his North Park ranch land, which he said was declared off limits to drilling for the sake of wildlife protections. Rutledge, however, failed to mention at the meeting that he had ties to the oil and gas industry. He was later accused of being an industry "plant" at the meeting.
- Laramie Energy About Us/Business Focus, accessed June 10, 2009
- Laramie Energy biosketch of Tom Rutledge, accessed June 10, 2009
- Dennis Webb, Grand Junction (Colorado) Daily Sentinel Energy worker weathers criticism for remarks at royalty owners meeting, June 10, 2009