Mountain States

Anti-Fracking Groups’ Colorado Tantrum Reveals East Coast Influence

In response to the withdrawal of ballot measures targeting hydraulic fracturing in Colorado, national “ban fracking” organizations are revealing themselves as the real force behind state and local anti-energy campaigns in Colorado.

Nobody less than Gasland director Josh Fox himself is flying from his home in New York City to rally with “ban fracking” activists in Boulder this afternoon, demanding that Coloradans join his cause to shut down Colorado’s energy economy. A hero to the national anti-fracking movement, Fox calls the withdrawal of the ballot measures a “disturbing development,” and accuses Boulder Congressman Jared Polis (D) of making a “backroom deal.”

Fox sent out an email this morning that was far from rhetorically benign. It reads in part:

“If politicians continue to steal democracy as they have done in Colorado, many other states will be doomed by the fracking industry’s agenda.”

Meanwhile, Washington, D.C.-based Food & Water Watch sent out its own press release decrying the development as a “secret deal,” compiling quotes from three “local” activist groups. The release strips away any pretense that these campaigns were local grassroots movements, and proves what EID has blown the whistle on before: the anti-fracking groups in Colorado are being directed by national organizations, headquartered in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Although these extreme, anti-energy organizations are coming out of the woodwork here in Colorado to decry the withdrawal of those economically destructive ballot measures, consider us skeptical that there is any real schism between Congressman Polis and the nationwide effort to ban fracking everywhere. As we showed last week, he’s got a long history of working with Fox and other “ban fracking” activists:

Josh Fox and Polis

“Ban fracking” activist and Gasland director Josh Fox speaks at a 2011 press conference in Washington, D.C. alongside Congressman Jared Polis (D-Colo.). Photo: Earthworks

So it’s going to take a lot more than a conveniently staged protest to prove there’s much difference between the agenda of Rep. Polis and the demands of fringe environmental groups like Food & Water Watch. The angry reaction to Rep. Polis pulling back his ballot measures is even harder to take seriously when you consider Food & Water Watch’s subsidiaries in Colorado withdrew their own anti-fracking initiative back in May, presumably because they knew it was destined for defeat this year. That’s right – by pulling down his ballot measures, Rep. Polis is doing the same thing “ban fracking” groups did months ago, without a word of dissent from anti-energy ideologues like Josh Fox.

Regardless of how much sound and fury that Josh Fox is able to whip-up today in the friendly confines of Boulder, the real story is that this 11th hour tantrum on the part of “ban fracking” activists has only provided more evidence that East Coast interests are pushing Coloradans to shut down oil and gas development, which supports tens of thousands of high-paying jobs and helps provide Colorado families with some of the lowest energy prices in the country.


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