Out-of-State Activist Groups Descend on Denver in Effort to Reboot Failing Anti-Fracking Campaign
Activists with “Stop the Frack Attack” March on Denver
National “ban fracking” groups descended on Denver this afternoon to protest oil and gas development as part of the “Stop the Frack Attack National Summit.”
For anyone still wondering if this was a Colorado effort, EID was on hand to note that when a speaker asked the crowd, “How many of you are from out of state?” attendees erupted into cheers. And while the group managed to draw roughly 100 participants, judging from the cheers of out of state folks, we’re guessing the showing was pretty sparse from Colorado (which, of course means they all got into planes and cars burning fossil fuels to get here).
While these groups have often claimed to be for stronger regulations, in today’s protest, they seem to have dropped any pretense of that, now parading around signs with such over-the-top sentiments as: “Rule Are Not Enough! No More Sacrifice Zones!”
EID noted sparse attendance at the Summit over the weekend
Colorado’s Struggling ‘Ban-Fracking’ Campaign
While numerous national organizations have struggled to gain footing in their campaign to end energy development in Colorado, the decision to hold the “2015 National Stop the Frack Attack Summit” in Denver appears to be an attempt to refocus those efforts ahead of the coming election cycle.
But on the eve of the summit, the stumbling campaign to ban shale development in Colorado was shaken up again with the launch of yet another statewide coalition promising to support ballot initiatives targeting oil and gas development.
The group launched under the moniker of Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development (CREED), states they are “moving forward with ballot measures aimed at protecting Colorado from the dangers associated with fracking operations.” And despite billing itself as a “grassroots organization,” one of the group’s founders quoted in the announcement has deep ties to national ‘ban-fracking’ organization, the Sierra Club. With the inclusion of Lauren Swain, who has even been quoted in media reports as “communications coordinator for the Beyond Oil and Gas Team of the Sierra Club’s Rocky Mountain Chapter,” it is possible that the launch of this latest organization represents an expansion of the San Francisco based national organization’s efforts in Colorado’s anti-energy campaign.
CREED’s announcement comes even as a number of Colorado’s other ‘ban-fracking’ networks have failed to build momentum for their cause. Perhaps the most widely known is Washington D.C. based Food & Water Watch’s Coloradans Against Fracking and offshoot Don’t Frack Denver Campaign. Both efforts have failed to gain traction after a series of embarrassing missteps.
The Community Environmental Defense Fund (CELDF), the group behind the Colorado Community Rights Network (COCRN) campaign is also targeting the state’s oil and gas industry. But that group has recently come under fire for threatening local communities with bankruptcy and even filing a motion to intervene in a lawsuit on behalf of the ecosystem. And more recently, attorneys with Colorado’s Legislative Council have questioned the legality of the proposed amendment, as part of the process required to put the issue before the state’s voters on the 2016 ballot.
With the current disarray within the ranks of Colorado’s ‘ban-fracking’ activist community, the city seems like an odd choice to host a summit for the purpose of strengthening their movement. And while Colorado is no stranger to national ‘ban-fracking’ activist organizations, it remains to be seen how the launch of one more group or a national summit could possibly help them achieve their desired outcome.
The launch of this latest organization and summit may be the latest attempt to reboot a campaign that has led to a Denver Post editorial proclaiming “Denver should ignore fractivists,” but it appears that they still have a long way to go. And the fact remains that Colorado’s top Democrat and top Republican agree: National “ban fracking” groups are losing.