Caught on Tape: D.C. Anti-Fracking Group ‘Working at the Local Level’ in Colo. To ‘Ban Fracking Everywhere’
If there was ever any question about the involvement of national “ban fracking” groups in Colo. as part of their quest to stop oil and natural gas development nationwide, that matter is now firmly settled.
National “ban fracking” groups have historically attempted to create localized chapters, like “Coloradans Against Fracking,” “Frack Free Colorado,” or “Don’t Frack Denver,” to masquerade their efforts as grassroots campaigns and to cloak their agenda in the rhetoric of local control.
But at a rally today on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colo., a representative of a national “ban fracking” group was caught on tape openly admitting its role in pushing the campaign to drive the oil and natural gas industry out of the state. Speaking to a handful of activists today ahead of a Boulder County Commissioners’ hearing, Lauren Petrie of the Washington, D.C.-based Food & Water Watch (F&WW) explained:
“I’m Lauren Petrie and I’m with Food & Water Watch. Many of you might know our organization. …
“Over the past couple of years here in Colorado, we’ve been working at the local level with many partners as well as on the statewide ballot initiatives with a lot of groups here: Frack Free Colorado, Earth Guardians, 350, and so many others to pass bans and moratoriums on fracking across the state. …
“So the county commissioners need to do everything in their power to not work with the industry, but to protect our public health, our safety, and our environment from fracking now into the future. There’s just no room for it. Not in Boulder, not in the state of Colorado, not in the U.S., not anywhere else on the planet. …
“No matter what happens with this county commissioner’s meeting the fight is not over. The fight is not over until we ban fracking everywhere.” (emphasis added)
If that’s not enough, Petrie was introduced by a Boulder “ban fracking” activist this way:
“…for the ballot initiatives, which, we had way too little time and too little money and too little of everything and she just was scrambling, making so much stuff happen and she’s so committed to Colorado and comes to Boulder events from Denver whenever we ask her to and she really supports us and brought in a ton of resources for the campaign. On the ballot initiative – Food & Water Watch – so she’s here to support us and to kind of tell her view from Denver and looking at the larger picture of Colorado.” (emphasis added)
F&WW has been identified by the Colorado Statesman as one of the “major players behind the anti-fracking movement” that “played a key role in supporting initiatives to ban or delay fracking in local communities” across the state.
The rally preceded a Boulder County Commissioners’ hearing on regulations governing oil and natural gas development in the area, and as EID reported earlier today, local elected officials in Boulder themselves spoke out against the “ban fracking” activist agenda ahead of the meeting. For instance, the Longmont Times-Call interviewed Deb Gardner, chairwoman of the board of county commissioners and former chair and treasurer of the Boulder County Democratic Party, and reported:
“Gardner said the commissioners would prefer that the hearing not turn into a resumption of calls for Boulder County to indefinitely extend the series of oil and gas moratoriums it’s had in place since February 2012, or converting the present moratorium to an outright ban.
“Gardner said the commissioners have been advised by their attorneys advisers that under current state statutes and court decisions, a county ban on oil and gas drilling and production — or even a moratorium that’s kept in place longer than needed to craft and adopt regulations that will apply when drilling resumes — aren’t legally possible.”