Mountain States

Fox/Steingraber Show Prop 112 is Really About Banning Fracking

How do we know that Proposition 112 is really about banning fracking? Just look at which two national anti-fracking celebrities Colorado Rising has hosted in just the past two weeks: Josh Fox and Sandra Steingraber.

Fox, director of the thoroughly debunked “Gasland” documentaries some have credited for sparking the national anti-fracking movement, brought his “The Truth Has Changed” one-man play to Boulder last month. Steingraber, who is co-founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking and is described by that group as being “a central voice in the fight against fracking,” was in Denver last Thursday to promote her new documentary “Unfractured,” which chronicles her efforts to ban fracking in New York.

Suffice it to say, Fox and Steingraber didn’t fly into Colorado to push “common sense” setbacks, as Colorado Rising director Anne Lee Foster has disingenuously claimed Prop 112 would impose. Both are interested in banning fracking altogether, plain and simple. And both are cognizant of the fact that Prop 112 would essentially do just that in Colorado, as evidenced by remarks made during their respective appearances.

Fox stated during his recent Boulder “performance,” “Let’s do this! Let’s ban fracking in Colorado!” and then tweeted the following at Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis following the show,

“Hey @jaredpolis– These great folks in Boulder last night at THE TRUTH HAS CHANGED want you to support the truth and vote yes on the fracking #proposition112 to keep our kids safe! #frackingharms. @RepJaredPolis @ColoradoRising @OurRevolution,” wrote Fox.

Steingraber encouraged those in attendance during her Denver appearance last week to draw inspiration from her “heroic” efforts to ban fracking in New York, including her willingness to get arrested repeatedly,

“I want you to know you’ve captured the whole nation’s attention.”

“What you’re doing here now is being watched by everyone… That’s what we discovered in New York – that when you act heroically, you break a spell of other people who are so caught up in their self-defeatism and despair. And they begin to realize you only have one life – why not be the super hero that our kids think that we are, right?”

“What I discovered is I’m willing to go into jail.”

Steingraber is perhaps most infamous for failing to disclose her conflict of interest during her role as a “peer reviewer” of the report used to justify New York’s fracking ban, which goes against at least four different codes for scientific research. But she is also known for saying energy development only creates jobs for women as “hotel maids and prostitutes,” which the more than 200,000 women employed in the oil and gas industry would no doubt dispute.

The extreme rhetoric from these national ban-fracking celebrity activists directly contradicts the more measured and reasonable tone Colorado Rising has been portraying in the press. As the Denver Post recently reported,

“But Anne Lee Foster, who heads up Colorado Rising, said she and her allies aren’t trying to run oil and gas operations out of the state. There are more than 50,000 active wells in the state today, she said, that wouldn’t be subject to the 2,500-foot setback. Foster said people just want reasonable limits when it comes to drilling close to neighborhoods. They worry about the health effects, the noise, the dust, the lights, the vibrations, the ruined views.”

But make no mistake – Colorado Rising’s goal, much like the national “Keep It In the Ground” activists bankrolling its campaign and the national anti-fracking celebrities is parachuting into the state – is to ban fracking.

Fox and Steingraber’s recent appearances are just the latest reminders that the effort to pass Prop 112 is being largely spearheaded by outsiders. As EID has previously noted, while national activists advocate for a 2,500-foot buffer zone, Colorado voters should be concerned that the campaign is being run out of a Food & Water Watch office approximately 1,600 kilometers away.

In contrast, you won’t find many Prop 112 supporters within the state. Both gubernatorial candidates, no fewer than 44 mayors across the state – including top officials from all 10 of the state’s largest municipalities – all but one of the state’s major newspapers and the commissioners from Colorado’s top oil and producing county have all rejected the measure.

For good reason.

Prop 112 could wipe out new development on 85 percent of non-public lands, and a recent report finds that financial losses associated with the measure could top $141 billion from 2019 to 2030. Considering the state’s oil and natural gas industry supports 232,900 Colorado jobs and contributes $31.4 billion in economic impact every year, Fox, Steingraber and Colorado Rising’s ultimate objective – a de facto fracking ban – is something Colorado simply can’t afford.

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