Anti-fracking crusaders mob Colorado

Colorado’s home-grown “ban fracking,” anti-natural gas campaign had already alarmed Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper with its secretive out-of-state funding and activism – including Yoko Ono’s surreal New York City “Artists Against Fracking” – when things suddenly turned immeasurably worse.

Millionaire Congressman Jared Polis, Democrat representing the Boulder district, threatened to bankroll two anti-hydraulic fracturing measures for the statewide ballot in November. News reports said his initiatives would legalize local drilling bans and quadruple the minimum distance separating houses and oil and gas wells from 500 to 2,000 feet.

Hickenlooper quickly calculated the impact and called the measures thinly veiled bans that “would drive

Rep. Polis and Gov. Hickenlooper

Rep. Polis and Gov. Hickenlooper

oil and gas out of Colorado.” Polis’ threat mobilized a bipartisan coalition of business and industry groups, major environmental groups and the state’s Democratic political establishment to stop him.

The coalition ramped up pressure on Polis, who was ready to file 200,000 petitions to put his measures on the ballot, but he gave in at the last possible moment. He withdrew his initiatives in return for Hickenlooper’s agreement to create a task force of 18 members to discuss regulations to minimize conflicts over the siting of oil and gas facilities, allowing “local control.”

The task force instantly became a strategic battleground for Colorado “ban all fracking” groups, which had rebranded themselves as “local control” advocates.

Michael Sandoval, investigative reporter with Denver’s Independence Institute, obtained proof that the rebrand was a calculated lie: he received the audio of a national anti-fracking strategy conference call dubbed “Join the Call to Ban Fracking,” convened by Americans Against Fracking. On the audio, Kaye Fissinger, activist with Local Control Colorado, admits that the group is looking to ban hydraulic fracturing in the state.

Laura Fronckiewicz, a leader of Local Control Colorado, subsequently told the Denver Post, “This isn’t about banning fracking, it is about giving communities the ability to put some controls on development.”

Hickenlooper – knowingly or not – appointed an implacable foe of all fossil fuels as co-chair: Gwen Lachelt, a La Plata County commissioner who came straight from the No Dirty Oil and Gas (NoDOG) coalition of the rabidly anti-fossil fuel group, Earthworks.

Paul Brainerd

Paul Brainerd

Seattle software millionaire Paul Brainerd’s foundation (2013 assets $45.6 million) created Earthworks in 1988 by funding the merger of the Washington-based Mineral Policy Center with Lachelt’s Oil and Gas Accountability Project, which she founded in 1999. Brainerd, a founding member of anti-corporate Social Venture Partners, funded groups “focused on changing market conditions and dynamics” of the type that could destroy the fossil fuel industry.

Brainerd’s strategic wealth and power are dwarfed by the money behind an anti-fracking applicant for Colorado’s task force (from Ithaca, New York): Anthony Ingraffea, engineering professor at Cornell University. He’s an anti-fracking rock star – with speaking parts in Josh Fox’s two Gasland fake-a-thon anti-gas movies – because of big funding by Ithaca’s Park Foundation (2012 assets $366.4 million).

Ingraffea and Cornell ecology professor Robert Howarth co-authored a Park-funded study claiming that natural gas (methane) has a “greenhouse-gas footprint” from drill to end-user significantly higher even than coal-fired power.

Three Cornell professors in the university’s departments of earth and atmospheric sciences and chemical and biological engineering said, “Their analysis is seriously flawed.”

Ironically, another Park-funded green group, the Environmental Defense Fund, worked with the University of Texas on a fracking study with industry help to measure emissions directly at many of their well sites. The UT/EDF report – all data public and peer reviewed – concluded real emissions were much lower, and helpfully identified areas for improvement.

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About the Author: Ron Arnold

Ron Arnold

Ron is a free enterprise activist, author, and newspaper columnist. He pioneered methods to expose the money and power of Big Green in nine books and hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles. He mentors promising activists and writers as a civic duty.

  • Tesla_X

    It is now understood that these anti fracking activists accept money from Venezuela and Abu Dhabi, among others.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/us/politics/foreign-powers-buy-influence-at-think-tanks.html?_r=0

    They have not registered as foreign agents, are clearly spreading damaging anti US economic propaganda and are probably breaking the law.

    When will they be held to account?

    • ewv

      When will the entire viro movement of anti-private property nature-worshiping misanthropic nihilists be held to account? They are all power-seekers hiding government imposed social controls behind a phony “anti pollution” mask.

      • Your1Friend

        The Oil and Gas Mafia thanks you both.

    • Your1Friend

      Nonsense.

      • Tesla_X

        You Sir, are a useful idiot.

        Get out of your cave and read more about those who betray our nation.

        http://www.jlcny.org/site/index.php/gasland-the-movie/490-josh-fox-working-with-venezuelan-and-subverting-american-natural-gas-efforts

        • Your1Friend

          N.B. The Oil and Gas Mafia has long been running, ruining, and betraying our nation.

          But soon –very soon– all the accessible fossils fuels will be used up, and all over the world new technologies are being developed.

          The fossil fuels you worship –your fuel gods– will soon be disposed by better technologies. Your namesake would know precisely what I am talking about; even many schoolchildren know this! Why don’t you?

          You can’t stop change, Tesla.

  • lumindanu

    Nicely done, I wonder when Americans will stop being so gullible… oh wait… .maybe it will be when our schools actually teach children…

  • gaelwolf

    I understand that the Farmer’s Almanac has us slated for an extraordinarily cold winter in much of the country. Cold for Europe, too. Last year’s winter resulted in hypothermia and death for more than the usual number of old-age pensioners in the UK who could not afford to adequately heat their homes. We saw a severe shortage of natural gas last winter, with the associated huge spike in prices that were passed along to consumers.

    I just wonder . . . where are all these anti-frackers going to be when energy supplies drop to a point where elderly and poor Americans are forced to go without adequate heat in the upcoming or subsequent winters?

  • tke265

    Why has Vladimir Putin higher a lobbying firm in Washington DC to stop fracking in the USA…? Why hi he and the United Arab Emirates Funding the anti’s. The answer is simple the want to control the worlds energy.

  • EcoAnalyst

    These actions further underscore how out of touch these eco-imperialists are with
    reality, honesty, and the needs of American poor, minority, elderly and working
    class Americans. Polis, Steyer, Loco Yoko Ono and their Hollywood comrades have
    always hated fossil fuels and the health and living standards they bring to average people all over the world. They are incensed that the fracking revolution has demolished their absurd claims that the world is rapidly exhausting its petroleum, and that a large majority of Americans no longer buy their “manmade climate cataclysm” nonsense.

    As a former long-time Colorado resident, I am saddened that so many Centennial State residents are so easily swayed by the anti-fracking propaganda. Thank goodness Michael Sandoval and Ron Arnold are uncovering the truth about these miscreant misanthropes who are concocting so many absurd claims about hydraulic fracturing. Hopefully the voters are listening.

  • Meghan

    Umm.. you are crazy. In NO WAY shape or form was our group funded by out of state activists. We are HOME GROWN….yes, most of us born and raised in Colorado. Your lies are sad and desperate. When the majority of the people vote for a fracking moratorium, the government should listen. Our books have been transparent, which is more than I can say for the millions that the Oil and Gas industry poured into fighting the fracking moratoriums.