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  • County to Boost Security After Anti-Fracking Activist Threats, Intimidation

    The Boulder, CO, County Commission has been forced to revise its security plan in the wake of disruptive and threatening actions by environmental activists at a recent Commission hearing on the use of public land for natural gas extraction.

    At a hearing on Tuesday, a group of activists shouted down speakers and tried to prevent dissenting voices from being heard, according to a release from the Commission and news reports from the hearing.

    The Commission condemned the “mob harassment” of activists who “came to disrupt the public hearing on proposed Land Use Code regulations for oil and gas development in unincorporated Boulder County.”

    As a county, we have a long history of respecting the First Amendment rights of all, and as a Board we greatly respect and appreciate the opinions and information which was brought forth at the hearing and for the respect and conduct of the majority of attendees once the hearing was underway.

    The troubling activities last night included the disruption at the beginning of the hearing by a group of individuals intent on overpowering anyone in the room with an opinion different than their own; the jeering of a spokesperson from the oil and gas industry during her testimony – and mob harassment, cursing at and intimidation of the same representative and her colleagues as they left the building and walked several blocks to their cars; a bullying atmosphere in and around the hearing room; and outbursts of cheering for threatening rhetoric aimed at quashing opposing opinions.

    Suppressing alternative comments and shutting out voices through intimidation and fear is not part of the democratic process we hold dear. As your publicly elected officials, we strive to create a safe environment for people of all opinions to come forward and provide input and feedback in our public hearings.

    According to the Commission, activists even attempted to “threaten and intimidate” a public speaker as she walked to her car.

    While activists warned of the potential environmental dangers of hydraulic fracturing, a technique used to extract oil and gas from shale formations, most observers note that the risks are minimal.

    “There have been tens and thousands of wells in Colorado,” noted Governor John Hickenlooper (D) earlier this year, “and we can’t find anywhere in Colorado a single example of [hydraulic fracturing] that has polluted groundwater.”

    “[T]here has been no verified instance of harm to groundwater caused by hydraulic fracturing in Colorado,” according to the state’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commissioner.


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    3 Responses to County to Boost Security After Anti-Fracking Activist Threats, Intimidation

    1. skspls says:

      I'm not sure about Colorado, but in MT and ND in the Bakken Formation the hydraulic fracturing occurs at about 11,000 feet below the surface. The possibility of ground water pollution is nearly zero. That does not, however, eliminate the possibility of mishandling the chemicals on the surface. The real problem with oil development is the rapid influx of a large transient population.

    2. I can't believe how they are blowing the protestor comments way out of proportion. There is video showing there was not harassing – there was voicing of concern! Fracking IS NOT safe. It CANNOT BE MADE SAFE. No amount of regulations will stop it from poisoning the air, the water, wildlife, crops and people near it. And in the last two paragraphs above clearly both the Oil and Gas Conservation Commissioner and Hickenlooper are LYING. This is dangerous people. Wake up!!!!! Instead of being concerned with "mob harassment" you should be more concerned with mob government/fossil fuel company liars ruining Colorado.

    3. sHANE says:

      Non-violent direct action and civil disobedience are historically effective methods to assert and claim our rights. They have played a vital role in our democracy, securing fundamental rights we enjoy today. The oil and gas industry, and the state working on their behalf, is trampling our rights. The peaceful direct action that occurred at the December 4, 2012 Boulder County Commissioners' hearing was democracy in action against a system of oppression that must be dismantled.

      -Shane Davis, Fractivist.com

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