Mountain States

National ‘Ban Fracking’ Groups Hiding Behind ‘Local’ Talking Points

Colorado’s “ban fracking” activists have been scrambling to rebrand their statewide anti-energy campaign as a fight for “local control.” But a series of recent media reports shows the agenda of the activists has not changed at all – they still want to ban oil and gas development across Colorado.

According to the conservative news outlet Complete Colorado, activists with the newly formed group Local Control Colorado (LCC) were recently caught making completely contradictory statements to the state’s largest newspaper and to national “ban fracking” groups. While LCC – which is pushing a statewide ballot measure – told the Denver Post its campaign “isn’t about banning fracking,” here’s what LCC said on a conference call organized by Americans Against Fracking:

“Those of us who are working to ban fracking will be excited to hear that under the name of Local Control Colorado, a coalition of grassroots groups has moved forward to create a statewide ballot measure.”

The LCC activist on the conference call, Kaye Fissinger, identified LCC’s founders as Our Longmont, Boulder County CCR, Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins and the statewide umbrella group Frack Free Colorado (FFC). Complete Colorado further reported that FFC has described itself as “a peoples [sic] movement that aims to ban fracking in every city, county and the State of Colorado.”

At the end of the conference call – organized by Americans Against Fracking, which supports a national ban on hydraulic fracturing – the moderator even asked everyone on the line to chant “Ban Fracking Now!” Although, according to the Daily Caller, “[t]he result was 170 people yelling unintelligibly at once.”

In a separate report, the Daily Caller noted Washington, D.C.-based Food & Water Watch (FWW) is another founding member of LCC. FWW is famous in activist circles for demanding national and statewide hydraulic fracturing bans, including here in Colorado. Strangely enough, FWW is also a founding member of Frack Free Colorado, along with Yoko Ono’s Artists Against Fracking and Mark Ruffalo’s Water Defense. In fact, according to The Colorado Statesman, FWW is one of the “major players behind the anti-fracking movement” and “played a key role in supporting initiatives to ban or delay fracking in local communities” at the ballot box in November 2013.

Suddenly, the LCC campaign is starting to look not very local and, despite their claims to the contrary, very much about banning fracking.

But, in the wake of these media revelations, the conservative political blog Colorado Peak Politics has noted that LCC’s activists are still sticking to their misleading talking points, with one of their members recently telling Bloomberg News: “I’m not anti-fracking.”

This prompted Peak Politics to observe “either they don’t understand what they’re pushing or are willfully misleading Coloradans.” Based on Energy In Depth’s experience with FWW and the groups it sponsors, we’re betting on the second option rather than the first.

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