‘Ban Fracking’ Activists Take the Day Off While Regulators, Local Officials Talk Substance
Colorado state regulators today held the second in a series of outreach meetings to gather input on how to best implement upcoming rulemakings arising from recommendations of the governor’s oil and gas task force. But noticeably absent from the meeting were activist organizations and vocal opponents of the industry who were a constant presence throughout the task force process.
In his overview of the event, Matt Lepore, Director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) said:
“The roadshow is something new for the COGCC. We want the opportunity to get input from local governments for a rule making is for local governments.”
The local outreach meeting brought together city and town officials, mayors, planning and public safety officials, emergency responders and state legislators with representatives of the COGCC to gather feedback and input on how to best implement two recommendations referred to the commission by the task force. During the meeting, attendees were afforded the opportunity to present their priorities for the commission to take into account as the rule-making process progresses.
The lack of protestors and activists is a departure from the oil and gas task force meetings where they staged protests and attempted to flood public comment periods. But as EID has previously observed, once task force meetings moved on to discuss substance, activists and vocal opponents of the industry were noticeably absent.
But the fact that activists protesting Colorado’s oil and gas industry are seemingly uninterested in taking part in substantive policy discussions is not new. Earlier this year Washington D.C.-based Food and Water Watch even launched a campaign dubbed “Don’t Frack Denver,” despite state record showing that no oil and gas development was planned within the city and county limits. Perhaps that is why, the Denver Post editorial board quickly concluded: “Denver should ignore fractivists.”
That trend was also evident earlier this week as a group of protestors gathered at the entrance of the Denver mayor’s inaugural address chanting slogans and waving signs. Activists gathered there despite the lack of focus on oil and gas issues as an apparent ploy to glean on to media coverage of the event.
As activists grow increasingly desperate to breathe life back into their losing campaign to “ban-fracking” in the state of Colorado and the nation, their tactics have gravitated toward PR stunts and staged media events over actual engagement on the issues.