“New” Anti-Fracking Group Just a Relaunch of Old So-Called Local Campaign
A pair of Washington D.C. based political activist organizations appear to be rebranding their Colorado anti-fracking campaign by launching a “new” group called the League of Oil and Gas impacted Coloradans, or LOGIC. Put simply, LOGIC is just the latest attempt by nationally focused groups, Clean Water Action and the Clean Water Fund, to put a “Colorado” face on a national agenda.
A report from Complete Colorado provides the details on how these groups are simply relaunching their old campaign, “Fracking Front Lines”, (an effort to pressure Colorado’s oil and gas task force), under a new name. From Complete Colorado:
“Today, heading into the 2016 election, the Fracking Front Lines campaign has relaunched under a new name: The League of Oil and Gas Impacted Coloradans (LOGIC). It is led by Sara Lu – also known as Sara Lu Loflin – the same Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund operative who was in charge of Fracking Front Lines. As you might expect from a newly launched anti-fracking group in Colorado, LOGIC immediately denied being anti-fracking. “We are not pro-or anti-fracking,” LOGIC declared in a statement and again in an interview with The Colorado Independent. Clearly, anti-fracking activists in Colorado must be hoping public officials and the press can’t remember what happened two years ago.”
Despite Loflin’s claims to be neither “pro-or anti-fracking,” her history shows that she may be taking a more aggressive stance against fracking as LOGIC’s executive director than she is letting on. Writing in a Spring, 2014 Clean Water Action newsletter, Loflin said:
“Right now, the oil and gas industry is spending a fortune on TV and radio ads, trying to convince Colorado voters that fracking is safe and necessary for Colorado jobs and ranchers, when the truth about this water-intensive, polluting practice is something else altogether.”
Later, Loflin was a key figure in the “Fracking Front Lines” campaign that was launched to counter overwhelming support for oil and gas development from citizens, civic leaders and the business community during hearings of Colorado’s oil and gas task force. Arguing that “fracking is infringing on our freedoms and disrupting our lives,” the campaign’s website featured nine personal stories, and urged the public to “[t]ell our lawmakers some things shouldn’t be fracked.” Now, it appears that LOGIC plans on deploying similar tactics. From LOGIC’s website:
“The League of Oil and Gas Impacted Coloradans (LOGIC) seeks to elevate the voices of Coloradans around the state living near current and proposed oil and gas operations”
But with close ties to national organizations, LOGIC’s attempts to appear local may backfire because the Clean Water Fund is obviously a national group with headquarters in Washington, D.C. Further, the Clean Water Fund and its affiliated group, Clean Water Action, have taken a hit to their credibility after they joined other “ban fracking” activists in playing politics with Colorado’s historic floods in 2013 by making misleading statements to the media in an attempt to scare the public about the impact of oil and gas operations in the flood zone. They were even singled out by Denver Post editorial page editor Vincent Carroll who wrote in a column titled “The shameless use of Colorado’s floods to attack drilling.” Carroll writes:
“[A]nti-fracking groups swiveled into combat mode almost immediately, raising alarms about the quality of planning by regulators and energy companies. It would be inspiring to see representatives of Clean Water Action and Earthworks, who were quoted in a Denver Post article, offer constructive ideas for the next epochal deluge if their credibility weren’t undercut by pervasive anti-drilling bias. Clean Water Action, for example, has supported fracking bans or moratoriums in several states as well as anti-fracking events here. Its idea of sound planning is apparently an industry shutdown.”
Yet even as LOGIC is seeking to refocus and expand their interests in the state, they may find that a majority of Coloradans overwhelmingly supports oil and gas development. In fact, recent polling commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute and the Colorado Petroleum Council found that, in Colorado, 95 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Independents, and 69 percent of Democrats consider “producing more oil and natural gas here in the U.S.” important to them. And with the industry continuing to provide significant economic benefit to the state, logic says that Colorado LOGIC has a lot of work to do.