Mountain States

McKibben to Visit Colorado amid Failing Ban-Fracking Campaign

Anti-fracking activist Bill McKibben will be visiting Colorado this weekend in what appears to be an attempt to breathe life into the failing ban-fracking campaign.

McKibben will be accompanied by a number of national activist organizations also travelling to the state under the banner of Break Free 2016 for two protests they are touting will be one of the “largest mass mobilizations for climate action in the history of Colorado” with the event on Saturday featuring a talk from McKibben himself.

While McKibben may succeed in transporting activists from out of state, he hasn’t had much success with actual Coloradoans.  McKibben’s trip comes on the heels of a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that local government fracking bans and moratoria are “invalid and unenforceable.” The ruling served as a major setback for activists behind a series of ballot initiatives to ban fracking in the state. In a further sign that the state’s media understands how extreme McKibben’s positions are, the Denver Post  editorial board wrote that the “Colorado Supreme Court gets it right on fracking.”

That’s not all. McKibben’s push for higher education institutions to divest their holdings in fossil fuels has been rejected by college campuses across the state including the University of Colorado. University of Colorado Regent John Carson told the Boulder Daily Camera:

“We’re not going to start picking and choosing investments based on people’s political views,” he said.

McKibben’s “Keep-It-In-The-Ground” (KIITG) movement hasn’t gotten much attendance in Colorado, either.  His own Colorado campaign arm, 350 Denver, actually had to cancel a protest at a Hillary Clinton fundraiser in Denver due to a lack of “people power.” After several posts on their Facebook page attempting to rally support, they were only able to get two protesters to commit.

To put the icing on the cake, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) has consistently debunked McKibben’s claims, recently pointing out that the increased use of natural is the “only realistic way” to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

But even without his baggage in the state, it is not likely that Coloradans would be receptive of McKibben’s extreme anti-fossil fuel message where oil and natural gas development supports more than 110,000 Colorado jobs, almost $30 billion of economic activity, $1.6 billion in tax revenue and is a big part of the reason why energy bills in the state are 23 percent lower than the national average. Recent polling has shown that “majorities of Republicans (95 percent), Independents (84 percent) and Democrats (69 percent) say that producing more oil and natural gas here in the U.S. is important to them.”

So with activists set to put on yet another publicity stunt at a Bureau of Land Management lease auction on Thursday, May 12, followed by an all-day event in Adams County on Saturday, May 14, featuring a speech from McKibben, it is likely that Coloradans can brace for more of the same as these groups desperately try to reinvigorate their failing campaign to ban fracking in Colorado. The only question is whether anyone with any credibility is willing to appear alongside McKibben’s dwindling Colorado crusade.


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