Anti-fracking activists are planning a major demonstration in Longmont on Saturday, Sept. 22, as part of an international “Global Frackdown” aimed at protesting the practice of hydraulic fracturing.
The Global Frackdown, initiated by Food & Water Watch as a day of action against fracking, will be marked by more than 100 events around the world, as far away as South Africa, according to Sam Schabacker, Food & Water Watch’s mountain west director.
Saturday’s event in Longmont, dubbed “Rally ’Round Longmont,” will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Rogers Grove, at 220 Hover Road. It will feature a host of activist groups from around the state, including Our Longmont, Boulder County Citizens for Community Rights, Erie Rising, East Boulder County United, Commerce City Unite Now, Adams County Unite Now, What the Frack?! Arapahoe County, Denver Community Rights, Lakewood Fractivists, the Elbert County Oil and Gas Interest Group, Occupy Greeley, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-Greeley.
Schabacker, a Longmont area native, says that in addition to hearing speeches, those who attend will be asked to form a circle around the children in the audience as a symbolic way to “reassert our right to protect our state and our families against fracking.”
In addition, the event will serve as a rallying point to recruit volunteers to go door to door asking Longmont citizens to vote for the proposed ban on fracking and related waste disposal (including injection wells) within city limits. That measure, known as the “Public Health, Safety and Wellness Act,” will appear on the November ballot as Question 300.
On Wednesday, anti-fracking activists delivered a petition titled “Declaration of Solidarity against Fracking” with more than 6,000 signatures to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office in Denver. That night, he was scheduled to appear at an invitation-only meeting about oil and gas issues in Longmont. The event, sponsored by the Longmont Chamber of Commerce, was held at Guaranty Bank & Trust.
Schabacker criticized the governor for not holding a true public town hall in a larger forum, saying that Hickenlooper speaks at oil and gas industry conferences but has turned down requests to appear at anti-fracking events like the one being held Saturday. (The state is suing the city over its new oil and gas regulations, saying Longmont is encroaching on territory controlled by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.)
“Holding it at a bank and only inviting your oil and gas buddies doesn’t seem like a genuine attempt to hear what the people of Longmont want,” Schabacker says. “He’s only too happy to keynote industry conferences, but he won’t talk to his constituents. … It doesn’t seem like he’s dealing in good faith with the people of Colorado on this issue.”
When asked for a response, Hickenlooper spokesperson Eric Brown told BW, “The governor can’t attend the Longmont event on Saturday because he will be at the long-planned Pedal The Plains event on the Eastern Plains. We are looking for other opportunities for the governor to meet with people in Longmont beyond the panel discussion on Wednesday night.”