Environmentalists Hyped False Fracking Fears Ahead of Elections
Environmental activists ginned up false fears about flood-induced contamination from hydraulic fracturing operations in Colorado shortly before voters in the state weighed in on moratoria on the practice, a new report from state regulators shows.
According to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), flooding in the state last year did not contaminate water in the area by damaging oil and gas drilling equipment.
“Early on, there were widespread fears that public safety was threatened by damaged oil and gas equipment,” the commission said in a report released last week.
“Those fears later proved to be unfounded, but they attracted nationwide attention nevertheless,” the report found.
Environmental activists in the state sought to highlight the supposed environmental dangers posed by fracking ahead of referenda in four Colorado towns that had proposed fracking bans. Three of the bans passed.
The same environmental activists are now gearing up for a statewide ballot initiative to ban fracking in Colorado, and are still touting environmental dangers that the COGCC says never existed.
“People are familiar with this issue, all around the state. They’re doing their own research and talking about fracking and local control. … It’s in the news,” said Laura Fronckiewicz, a Colorado anti-fracking activist who pushed a ban in Broomfield, Colo., and is now working on the statewide effort for a group called Local Control Colorado (LCC).
LCC is backed by a number of large out-of-state environmentalist groups, including 350.org and Food and Water Watch, which are headquartered in New York City and Washington, D.C., respectively.
Fronckiewicz recently received support from MoveOn.org to supplement her anti-fracking work in the state.
Supporters of the practice say fracking is “in the news” due to work by Fronckiewicz and others who falsely inflate environmental risks.