A slew of anti-fracking protesters turned a book event by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a proponent of natural gas development, into utter chaos Wednesday night.
Protesters from a group called Colorado Community Rights Network chanted slogans such as, “We the people of Colorado hold you in contempt,” “We are not going away,” and “No fracking way,” at full volume while parading around the book event at the First Congregational Church in Boulder, Colorado.
They even toted a large banner that read: “Frackenlooper Overturns Democracy.”
The protesters were likely reacting to passages in Hickenlooper’s book “The Opposite Of Woe: My Life In Beer And Politics,” where he writes, “based on experience and science, I recognized that fracking was one of our very best and safest extraction techniques.”
Hickenlooper appeared un-phased by the circus-style event, eventually jumping on the church’s piano to play a little ditty while the green activists trotted around. He was finally able to continue his speech more than an hour later, accompanied by two security guards, in addition to the four police officers at the church.
Hickenlooper said in an April talk in Denver that the Environmental Protection Agency should halt its new overarching regulations on ozone levels.
“So, I think it would be a great idea if they suspended the standard,” the governor said at the time. “I mean, just with the background [ozone emissions], if you’re not going to be able to conform to a standard like this, you are leaving the risk or the possibility that there will be penalties of one sort or another that come from your lack of compliance.”
One female protester claimed she was assaulted after a person in the audience hurled a cell phone at her face. Both the protester and the woman who chucked the cellphone were issued tickets and charged with physical assault. Another female protester claimed the woman with the cellphone approached her, grabbed her wrist, and told her to “get out of here.”
Most of the audience members thought the protesters’ behavior was disrespectful, both to the governor and to the audience members. They called the protesters antics “counterproductive,” and said they felt “ripped off” by the activists’ presence.
The audience was also dismayed the protesters were totally unwilling to express their views in an orderly fashion. The activists did not talk or negotiate, despite offers to speak with Hickenlooper about his support for natural gas.
Energy analysts are not surprised by the protesters actions.
“With Governor Hickenlooper and Democrats across the country embracing fracking for its economic and environmental benefits, ban-fracking activists are resorting to the most extreme tactics to drum up attention,” Randy Hildreth, Colorado Director Energy In Depth, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
He added: “Of course, these activists are outnumbered by the overwhelming majority of Coloradans who support oil and gas development, and their campaign has been rebuked by Colorado’s elected officials, business leaders, and editorial boards across the state.”
One of the audience members, a Boulder resident named Elisa Browsch, said the evening was a huge disappointment and not what she was expecting. “It was worth the $10 to watch the event unfold,” she added.
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