Environmental activist Bill McKibben’s anti-fracking rally in natural gas-dependent Colorado drew a small crowd Saturday and actually managed to repel state legislators once allied with the anti-fracking movement.
The Break Free 2016 event in the Centennial State, which featured McKibben, advocated the state move away from fossil fuels, and natural development in particular, and move toward fully renewable energy sources.
Prior to the event, Break Free 2016 claimed the rally would be the largest mass mobilization for climate action ever in Colorado.
“It is part of a global wave of powerful grassroots actions. Here in Colorado, we are taking action to defend our communities from the dangers of fossil fuel extraction on our lands,” the website exclaimed. “We are sending a strong message to our state leadership that we must break away from fracking our public lands and communities! Together, we can be a powerful voice for the just transition to a 100% clean energy economy!”
Break Free 2016 boasted in media accounts their intention of bringing more than 1,000 people to the event.
But the rally attracted little attention, Randy Hildreth, the Colorado director of Energy in Depth, noted on the Energy in Depth website. Hildreth, who attended the event, told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Monday that the supposedly historically large rally attracted less than 100 people.
“It won’t come as any surprise that leading Colorado elected officials from either party were nowhere to be seen at the Break Free 2016 political stunt. Bill McKibben’s anti-fossil fuel agenda is simply too extreme for our state.”
He went on to note that lawmakers predisposed to support anti-fossil fuel movements kept their distance, including Democratic Rep. Jared Polis, a one-time supporter of McKibben’s anti-fossil fuel campaigns.
Polis has blasted the fossil fuel industry in the past, telling activists at a rally in 2011 that people with vested interests are using “misleading rhetoric” to trick people into supporting fossil fuels.
“That’s why your efforts today are so important,” Polis said at the time.
Energy analysts warned McKibben and his environmental crusaders, particularly anti-fossil fuel group 350.org, that Colorado is highly supportive of natural gas development and energy creation in general.
Simon Lomax, an energy analyst at the Colorado-based Independence Institute, for example, told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday that McKibben has tried in vain for years to get the state to jettison its fossil fuels.
“Anti-fracking activists has been flailing their arms for years,” Lomax said. “But they are sorely mistaken if they think flying in an East Coast activist like Bill McKibben will help their cause.”
Colorado’s Supreme Court decided on May 3 to allow state officials, not voters, authority over hydraulic fracturing authority. It essentially forbids city ordinances banning natural gas development.
A Harris Poll conducted for the American Petroleum Institute found that “majorities of Republicans (95 percent), Independents (84 percent) and Democrats (69 percent) say that producing more oil and natural gas here in the U.S. is important to them.”
The poll surveyed 604 registered voters in Colorado and had a +/- 4 percent margin of error.
McKibben’s anti-fossil fuel group, 350 Denver, was forced to nix a protest at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s fundraiser in Denver due to a lack of supporters. Despite attempts to advertise the rally on Facebook, it was only able to attract two protesters to the rally.
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