Mountain States

Leader of National Ban-Fracking Campaign Calls on Activists to Ignore the Law and “Fill Up Jails”


CELDF founder Thomas Linzey appears on Days of Revolt to urge his supporters to fill up jails

The leader of a national activist organization behind ban-fracking campaigns in Colorado, Ohio and elsewhere is calling on activists to “ratchet up” civil disobedience and begin “filling up jails.”

The comments are from Thomas Linzey, founder of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) in an interview he did with Chris Hedges’ Days of Revolt. From the interview:

HEDGES: “Well, you have talked about it as a kind of military operation. Explain what it would look like.”

LINZEY: “Well, I think it means thinking about civil disobedience differently than we’ve thought about it before. So it’s not just to make a moral or ethical statement; it’s actually aimed at stopping the project itself. And that means, I think, successive days. It means rotating people through. It means bringing people in from other places. It means filling up jails.” (emphasis added)

Linzey went on to suggest that the law isn’t really important here:

“I mean, our resistance has to ratchet up, the opposition has to ratchet up our stuff to a point where it’s actually actively interfering with these projects, because if you don’t do that and you rely entirely on the legal process and the legal process is so stacked against you in terms of what municipalities can and can’t do, that at that point you have no other option but to engage in that type of action.” (emphasis added)

This is not the first time Linzey has made controversial statements. He has previously threatened communities with bankruptcy – a call that was later taken up by the head of his Colorado campaign, Cliff WIllmeng. As reported by Reuters:

“And if a town goes bankrupt trying to defend one of our ordinances, well, perhaps that’s exactly what is needed to trigger a national movement.”

EID previously highlighted Linzey and CELDF in an online video shedding light on just how extreme his organization has become.

And Linzey may not be acting alone. According to a new report, a coalition of anti-fracking groups, including Greenpeace, and others, plan to launch a global civil disobedience campaign targeting oil and gas development in the new year.

Linzey’s rejection of due process afforded by the legal system echoes comments made last week by another national activist organization, Food & Water Watch. As the group rallied supporters ahead of a Colorado state Supreme Court hearing on local control issues, spokesman Sam Schabacker indicated that his campaign to ban fracking would press on, regardless of how the court decides. Schabacker said:

“This fight is not over no matter what the court decides.”

As EID pointed out then, these activists don’t seem to be too worried about silly things like “the law” – they’re going to proceed with their anti-fracking agenda even if it means “filling up jails.”



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