Knock knock. Who’s there? Not Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones, because she doesn’t live here. That’s what happened early Sunday morning when anti-fracking activists staged a nearly hour-long protest at the wrong house in Boulder, Colo.
This comes as a surprise since Jones is well known as an anti-fracking Boulder County Commissioner, and to have “Keep It In the Ground” groups target her is a misnomer for the movement. Progressive leaning Colorado Pols had a lot to say about the recent anti-fracking cannibalism taking place in Boulder.
A new round of news reports details the ban-fracking activists who dressed up in hazmat suits and rolled prop oil barrels down the street in an attempt to give a wake-up call to Jones at what they thought was her home.
Source: Denver Post
The Denver Post reported on details of the protest such as the skit the anti-fracking groups put on in front of the house where they mistakenly thought Jones lived:
“The event included one demonstrator posing as Jones and another posing as a Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission executive.”
Source: East Boulder County United Facebook. Click here for the full video.
The anti-fracking groups sent out a news release giving more details on the events of the failed protest:
“Before the protesters arrived at Jones’ house, local community members dressed in business attire, acting as a Democrat and a COGCC executive, walked up to Madam Jones’ house to present her with a Greenwashing Award.”
Source: East Boulder County United Twitter
The anti-fracking groups’ news release further explains nuances of the skit:
“To give context, according to Oxford Dictionary, greenwash is ‘disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image’ — which was emphasized on the award prepared for Madam Chairman Jones. Knocking on Elise Jones’ door to no avail, one community member played the role of Elise Jones, using a makeshift mask another community member had made. The faux Elise Jones happily accepted the Greenwashing award and trophy, talking about how eager she was to continue working on her environmental campaign in collaboration with Colorado Oil & Gas.”
After the “faux Elise Jones” accepted the award, the protesters gathered on the lawn where they drummed on the oil barrel props and demanded Jones “recuse herself” as county commissioner. The entire protest ran its course without any of the protesters figuring out that the reason Jones wasn’t answering the door was because she doesn’t live there. It wasn’t until much later on after the protest ended that they realized that they had been at the wrong house the entire time.
In a video posted by anti-fracking activist group East Boulder County United, Willmeng is shown knocking on the wrong door saying, “That’s your political future knocking.” Having twice knocked with no answer, the activists questioned whether or not Jones was home, but never once thought they had the wrong house during the protest.
Source: East Boulder County United Facebook. Click here for the full video.
The Denver Post reports the “Keep It In the Ground” groups’ reaction to the news that they had the wrong house:
“Cliff Willmeng, of East Boulder County United, one of the groups with members at the Sunday demonstration, acknowledged on Monday afternoon that they’d thought Jones lived at the address in the 700 block of Marine Street but discovered after gathering there that she does not. That wasn’t mentioned in East Boulder County United’s Facebook posts about the demonstration. But he countered on Monday that even if Jones no longer lives at the Marine Street house, ‘She owns it.’”
The Boulder Daily Camera reported that one of the activist groups’ leaders, activist Cliff Willmeng, acknowledged the misstep in targeting Jones and offered the following defense:
“He said that ‘if community members mistake an address, we can always go back and fix it,’ but if the county commissioners and the oil and gas industry make a mistake, ‘homes blow up and people die.’”
The Times Call reported on Jones’ email response to reporters:
“Happily, no one was at home, but as you might imagine, the current residents were very confused when they came home to find an oil drum in the driveway and threatening chalk messages drawn up and down the sidewalk and the steps to the house,” Jones wrote. “I went over to apologize and to try and clean everything up,” she said. Jones said on Monday that while “we all object to fracking” — the process of injecting a mixture of sand, chemicals and water to free up underground oil and gas deposits — she objected to anti-fracking demonstrations that trespass onto private properties.
Wait, so Jones just said that she too subscribes to the same anti-fracking philosophy as the group who sought to protest at her home early Sunday morning? Why would anti-fracking groups attempt to protest at the home of a fellow anti-fracking enthusiast? The answer has a lot more to do with what happened in May of this year when the five-year fracking moratorium in Boulder County ended, and now anti-fracking activists are seeking to pin the blame on Jones and a few other members of the Boulder County Commission.
In the news release put out by the anti-fracking groups following the “wrong door” protest, the groups explain their opposition to Jones:
“Elise Jones is ‘politically compromised’ because it appears that she has collaborated with oil and gas corporations, intending to turn Boulder County into an oil and gas field, behind the backs of her constituents. This is corruption and misuse of her office.”
The Daily Boulder Camera reports on Jones’ response to the anti-fracking activists claims:
“Jones said: ‘It’s my policy, and always has been as an elected official, to meet with anybody who asks.’ She said she’d had one meeting with oil and gas industry representatives in the past year and met 20 times with people opposed to fracking.”
Contrary to the anti-fracking groups’ laments – Jones’ extreme anti-fracking stance in Boulder County led to what Energy in Depth reported earlier this year as the “legal quagmire” the Boulder County Commission found themselves in when Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman filed a lawsuit against Boulder County over its series of moratoria.
The dissent between Jones and her fellow anti-fracking brothers and sisters began when the anti-fracking group East Boulder County United and the Community Environmental Legal Fund approached Jones to propose a “Climate Bill of Rights” for Boulder County. An op-ed published in the Boulder Daily Camera, quotes Jones’ response to the proposal and her strategy to comply with the anti-fracking groups’ overall goal to ban fracking:
“Commissioner Jones outlined the county’s contrasting strategy: delay and pray. The county’s regulations and permitting process (which supposedly make the drilling safe) and any resulting litigation will delay the process long enough to elect a new governor, pass state ballot initiatives, and/or push forward with renewables.”
During the “wrong door” protest on Sunday, the “faux Elise Jones” responded to activist questions with “delay and pray.”
There’s a clear division in the anti-fracking movement that is keeping them in a holding pattern. But with or without the divide, anti-fracking groups will continue to keep on “knocking on the wrong door” when it comes to their attempts to ban responsible oil and natural gas development. This failed media stunt adds to the long list of mistakes on these Colorado anti-fracking groups’ rap sheet. At the end of the day, the law is the law and as it currently stands, trespassing on private property is unlawful and so is a ban on fracking in Boulder County.