CO Republican: Indians Used to Burn Water for Heat

If Gordon Klingenschmitt is elected to the Colorado state legislature, it seems he may actually not be the dumbest man in that body. His interview with Sen. Randy Baumgardner supports that contention, as Baumgardner claims that fracking is fine because it’s normal for water to burn. In fact, the Native Americans used to burn water for heat. No, I’m actually not making that up.

“I’ve been doing a lot of the fracking seminars,” said Baumgardner, “and if people haven’t been, then they really don’t understand it.”

“They talk about methane in the water and this, that, and the other,” Baumgardner went on, “but if you go back in history and look at how the Indians traveled, they traveled to the ‘burning waters.’ And that was methane in the waters and that was for warmth in the wintertime.”

“So a lot of people,” he said, “if they just trace back the history, they’ll know how a lot of this is propaganda.”

*headdesk* Let’s go to the video:


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  • Chiroptera

    Okay, I can see how Native American legends based on swamp gas igniting could somehow metamorphose into stories about Native Americans burning water for fuel.

    No, wait, I can’t. Sorry.

  • Doug Little

    Wow the native Americans had discovered fusion all those years ago, who knew.

  • Larry

    Where do you think the term “firewater” comes from?

  • Phillip IV

    No, literally no idea where that insanity comes from. My best guess is that he’s referring to hot springs some Native Americans spend their winters near. Hot spring water can contain elevated levels of methane, but it’s not the source of their temperature…so if that’s what he’s on about, he’s mixed up things quite massively.

    But it would be a pretty lousy argument, even if it was true – essentially coming down to “it can’t be harmful if we do this artificially and on a massive scale, because it has been naturally occurring under rare circumstances for a long time”. That line of argumentation has already been used – and debunked – countless times.

  • a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Is Randy from Cleaveland, perchance?

  • nemistenem

    Debunked means nothing to those with an agenda or the dishonest. And when there is big $ involved, even more so. Pitiful, but true.

  • Alverant

    I’m with Larry. He probably heard the term “firewater” and made some huge leaps in illogic.

  • cry4turtles

    I know the Iroquois used oil for torches (among a zillion other uses), but I’m pretty water was used to extinguish the fire if necessary.

  • alanb

    @ Philip,

    Yes, he has clarified that he meant hot springs.

  • Chiroptera

    Is he on the Science Committee? Sounds like he has the proper qualifications.

  • raven

    1. You mean the fire departments have been doing it wrong all these years? I seem to recall they carry hoses and hook them up to fire hydrants and spray water to put out fires.

    2. If the Indians burned water for heat, why aren’t we modern Americans doing the same thing? Did the laws of nature change in a few hundred years?

    A few decades ago, roughly half of all scientists were….Republicans. These days it is 6%. The GOP’s relentless War on Science and Reality is bearing fruit. A lot of which is highly toxic.

  • John Pieret

    “So a lot of people,” he said, “if they just trace back the history, they’ll know how a lot of this is propaganda.”

    And don’tcha know, Billy Bob, that most of that methane stuff in the air comes from cow farts? So a lil methane in your drinkin’ water won’t do you no more harm than standing next to a cow for a day. So a lot of people, if they just trace back the biology, they’ll know how a lot of this is propaganda.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Is Randy from Cleaveland, perchance?

    All right, Ray — you get today’s Cuyahoga Prize.

    I’d offer you an Internet, but Modus hasn’t been around to unlock the storeroom.

  • Modusoperandi

    The Romans mixed Sugar of Lead in to their food, so Tetra-Ethyl Lead is fine in gasoline.

  • Loqi

    …he actually looks like that? On purpose? I’ve been to country music festivals that, in aggregate, didn’t have as much fake cowboyness as that one man.

  • puppygod

    Yes, he has clarified that he meant hot springs.

    There’s going to be so much awkwardness, when the fracking companies financing him realise that by “fracking” he meant geothermal energy.

  • Doug Little

    but I’m pretty water was used to extinguish the fire if necessary.

    Fire 101…

    Never use water on an oil fire.

  • Area Man

    I don’t have much to add, but in Colorado, the airwaves are positively jammed with pro-fracking propaganda paid for by the oil and gas industry. And unsurprisingly, they make themselves out to be the victims of propaganda from the other side, even though I don’t think I’ve seen one single anti-fracking advertizement. One ad, with obvious lack of self-awareness, complains about all the “misinformation” out there, and then goes on to say that if fracking in banned, 60,000 people will lose their jobs. The entire oil and gas industry in the state employs fewer than 20,000 people (less than 0.7% of the workforce). The idea that every one of them will lose their jobs and drag down 2 extra people each is implausible, to put it mildly.

  • thinkingman

    That man is all hat and no cattle…

  • Michael Heath

    He actually contradicts his own argument. On the one hand he falsely describes the history of fracking and the industry defect rate – particularly his false claim that drilling for gas never introduces anything into water reservoirs. And then he immediately argues that methane mixing with water is A-OK.

    I should point out that revealing his idiocy would be by his definition – propaganda. So, he’s a standard-issue modern-day American conservative.

  • felidae

    I think he wears that cowboy hat to cover up the fact that he is a microcephalic

  • dingojack

    I notice Hercules Gryppe-tight-Thinne hasn’t commented here. Must be busy selling fire insurance for those Colorado aquifers…

    :) Dingo


    Yes it’s obscure – look it up.

  • http://dontlinkmebro F [i’m not here, i’m gone]

    All “Indians” (Native Americans) everywhere were just busy zipping to and fro across the continent talking about burning waters. Like all the time. Stopping every day at a burning water station conveniently located right off their highway exits. It’s like they never shut up about it. What a homogenous, single-minded bunch.