Fractivists Roll “Frackenlooper” At Denver March For Science

Again via the Colorado Independent’s Kelsey Ray, we’re obliged to give the treatment Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper received at yesterday’s March for Science in Denver a mention–navigate to 13:00 in the video above to watch what happened:

As soon as the Governor took to the stage in Civic Center to address a crowd of thousands, a group of at least a dozen protesters marched up the steps with anti-fracking signs and banners, chanting, “Frackenlooper, don’t frack our future.”

Event security attempted to remove the protesters from the stage but most remained, partially blocking the crowd’s view with large banners.

Hickenlooper, who was introduced to both applause and boos as having “endeavored to make Colorado the most pro-business state with the highest environmental and ethical standards,” upheld the message of the March for Science.

“Science doesn’t need to be political, and politics doesn’t necessarily need to drown out other voices,” he said, through the chants. “I think the agenda that we’re facing in Washington now is trying to prevent science from getting the facts in the first place, and they’re looking at an unprecedented rollback of laws to protect our air and water.” He spoke about the importance of funding climate research and upholding the Paris Climate Accord.

Let’s be perfectly frank: Gov. Hickenlooper’s support for fossil fuel development in Colorado, especially natural gas as a so-called “bridge fuel” to renewable sources and as a means of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, is very likely the most divisive issue amongst Democrats in our state today. Hickenlooper’s attempts to make peace between the energy industry and the coalition of environmentalists and local communities threatened by drilling have not succeeded and sometimes backfired–and this will likely go down as the greatest failure of his administration.

With that said, there is a huge difference between Hickenlooper’s nuanced position on energy development, which fully acknowledges the reality of climate change and sees renewables as the long-term solution, and President Donald Trump’s utter disregard for climate science–and contempt for anything other than science in pursuit of profit. This is much like the criticism Sen. Michael Bennet and gubernatorial candidate Mike Johnston come in for on education from the left, deserved even in the context of their own opposition to radical education policies espoused by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Bottom line: there’s room for disagreement among overall allies, but it shouldn’t even be in the same ballpark as the greater common enemy on any of these issues. You might have fundamental disagreements with Gov. Hickenlooper on energy policy, but you can’t deny that as governor, he’s taken plenty of actions in support of remediating human-caused climate change too. He’s not the environmental left’s ideal champion, but he’s no Rick Perry either.

With all of this in mind, we”ll turn it over to readers: did Hickenlooper deserve to get drowned out yesterday?

36 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. PKolbenschlag says:

    #ProtectSpeech #DefendScience – Got to tell my story to lots of national media at DC March for Science

    • Andrew Carnegie says:


      You defamed someone and now you have to pay the piper.

      Perhaps next time you will be more careful before you accuse someone of a crime.

      • MichaelBowman says:

        Oh, those pesky radicals…

        So KornJoloio, there exists an allegation of defamation and unless I missed something this has yet to go to trial?  Your verb tenses indicate a completely different scenario.  

      • PKolbenschlag says:

        You're funny. But no one is laughing with you. 

        Here’s what a 1st Amendment attorney says

        “This is a classic SLAPP suit — a company suing an environmental activist to retaliate and suppress critical comments. SG Interests will no doubt assert that Kolbenschlag’s comment was false because, to be technical, the Department of Justice did not “fine” SG Interests for bid rigging. Instead, the Department of Justice sued SG Interests for bid-rigging, and SG Interests settled the case for a $275,000 payment and a bid monitoring program, which the government characterized as “requiring” SG Interests to pay money to resolve a bid-rigging claim.

        “SG Interests’ claim is bogus in several ways. First, there’s the substantial truth doctrine. Under that rule, if a statement is substantially true — if the “gist” or “sting” of it is true, and any inaccuracies do not materially alter the impact of the statement — it’s not defamatory even if some details are inaccurate. Here, though technically the Department of Justice did not “fine” SG Interests for bid-rigging, it did file a federal antitrust action against them for bid-rigging, leading to SG Interests paying a $275,000 settlement and consenting to bid monitoring. Now, a civil settlement isn’t an finding of fault or admission of guilt, but particularly given the colloquial flexibility of the term “fine” being used in the Facebook comments to a newspaper article, Kolbenschlag has a very strong argument that his statement was substantially true. That argument is strengthened substantially by the fact that Kolbenschlag linked the Department of Justice’s press release in the comment, so that the reader could immediately see that what he was referring to as a “fine” was actually a settlement. In short, SG Interests’ theory of defamation is highly questionable.

        “Second, SG Interests’ theory of damages is preposterous. Their theory, necessarily, is that even though the United States Department of Justice sued them for antitrust violations for alleged bid-rigging and they settled the suit for $275,000 and the Department of Justice publicized the suit and the settlement, their reputation was harmed when a Facebook comment on a newspaper article — one of only three on the article — characterized that as a “fine.” That’s ridiculous.

        “This is plainly a harassment suit. Kolbenschlag is vigorously defending the suit, as he should — you can contribute a few bucks if you like. A motion to dismiss is imminent. Unfortunately Colorado doesn’t have an anti-SLAPP statute, but the circumstances here are such that Kolbenschlag may well be able to get out on a plain-vanilla motion to dismiss.

        “Perhaps SG Interests had a valid defense to the antitrust suit, and only settled because the cost of defending it exceeded the cost of settling it. It could have said so. SG Interests’ reputation should suffer substantially here — not because of its enforcement history, but because of the thuggish, vexatious, censorious behavior of the company and its attorney William Zimsky.”

        • Andrew Carnegie says:



          You falsely accused a company of illegal conduct.

          You want others to pay the bill for your wrongful action.

          Let me help you.  You will lose at the motion to dismiss stage.  The test is whether Plaintiff can prove any set of facts that would support judgment in its favor. It will cost you a lot of money to defend and you will lose in the end if you are foolish enough to have it last that long.

          Moral of the story.  Don't claim others are criminals unless they are.

          • PKolbenschlag says:

            The anonomous troll that posts pictures of Florida in the summer claiming it is the National Mall in winter fails to impress.

          • Duke Cox says:

            I'm sure you have never accused anyone of criminal activity, you hypocrite.

            You truly have no shame nor conscience, PissAnt. I hope the money is worth the damage to your soul.

          • Genghis says:

            The test is whether Plaintiff can prove any set of facts that would support judgment in its favor.

            Not anymore. See Warne v. Hall, 2016 CO 50, 373 P.3d 588. Of course, given the ongoing love affair between state government and the industry, it's hard to imagine a judge tossing this case on a 12(b)(5) motion. Still, it's worth a shot. Getting a tort case dismissed via 12(b) motion in this state means an automatic award of attorney fees for the defense. 

  2. Zappatero says:

    Why don't you go ahead and stand for something, CPols? Or, if you're afraid it'll hurt your "business ", you can try to convince one of those chickenshit politicians on your speed dial to do it. 

    Maybe you can have your cake and eat it, but it probably tastes  like shit. 

  3. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    The anti-frackers are living in some sort of alternate fact universe, just like the die-hard Trump supporters. The prestigious, alternative energy, think tank, the Rocky Mountain Institute in Snowmass, has estimated that we'll still get up to 25% of our energy needs from natural gas in 2050; the remainder from renewables.

  4. mamajama55 says:

    Plenty of people tried to communicate politely and civilly with Governor Hickenlooper about the following environmental concerns:

    His appointment of Glen Vaad as a public utilities commissioner. Vaad was a member of Koch consortium's ALEC, and had an explicit agenda of promoting oil and gas development, limiting environmental regulation, and suppressing renewables. Hickenlooper ignored a large petition campaign, constituent calls and letters, and legislative questioning to appoint Vaad anyway. Vaad was not only a member of ALEC, but as a Weld county commissioner, a prime enabler of the "frack and drill everywhere" practice, which has made Greeley one of the most intensively fracked residential communities in the country.

    Hick's deliberate misinformation about the number of jobs stemming from oil and gas development. He quoted a dubious Leeds business school study which estimated anywhere from 62,000 to 165,000 oil and gas jobs would be lost by allowing any setbacks or regulation on oil and gas production, let alone a statewide fracking ban. That study is no longer on the COGA site; if I can find the links again, I'll put it up. There were about 27,000 jobs in Colorado directly related to oil and gas production in 2015. Probably, there are fewer now. Hick promoted any regulation of oil and gas as a catastrophic job killer, even knowing that these stats were highly inflated.

    Hick killed the fracking initiatives which voters in several Colorado communities had put onto the ballot. He wanted no setbacks, no regulation, nothing limitiing oil and gas production. So to neuter the grassroots movement to prioritize health over O&G profits, he created the "Blue Ribbon Commission" to study , and What did we get for the commission? Not a goddamn thing. Like 10 more inspectors of wells, a slightly better website, no setbacks, no real empowerment of citizens. He neutered the Longmont lawsuit, thus taking away thousands of citizen voices.

    So yeah, citizens have tried to play nice with Hickenlooper. He has a mostly undeserved reputation as being clean and green, mostly due to other activists hard work on Colorado's limiting methane emissions. Hickenlooper is and always has been a gas and oil geologist.  He cares a helluva lot more about O&G business profits than someone who is breathing methane from the well next door.

    So getting shouted down on Earth Day is a small price to pay for deliberately ignoring and marginalizing citizen voices, and promoting industry propaganda,  for the years he's had the power to do so.

  5. Meiner49er says:

    Politics is not a game of desserts, Pols, but a game of stances. Hick has taken his stand, and the Dem's environmental base is taking another.  Hick uses a gathering like the March for Science to make that stand public, and so too do those who oppose him on this issue. Both parties are well within in the rights outlined by our state and Federal constitutions. Here's hoping the shouting match continues!

  6. Voyageur says:

     Just out of curiosity, how many of those good liberals, after denouncing oil and gas development, drove home in their SUVs?   Did any of them take public transportation?   Can we spell hypocrite?

    • ardy3 says:

      No, a hypocrite is a newspaper man deriding others for exercising their 1st Amendment rights.

      Come on, Voyager. Usually when you don't have an argument, you stoop to being nasty. It's not often you resort to unadulterated stupidity. Is an oil and gas executive who prefers breathing clean air a hypocrite? How about one whose children drink clean water? Is a coal company exec a hypocrite if she brings home nutritious food, instead of chunks of coal?

      You are way smarter than this, Voyageur. Stick to nasty when the facts aren't on your side. Then, at least, you merely come across as old and crotchety instead of old, crotchety, and stupid.

      • Voyageur says:

        I get it.  You drove your SUV to the rally, refusing to take the bus or carpool, now you are furious at learning you are part if the problem.

        Well, you are part of the problem.  

        In the immortal words of Pogo, we have met the enemy and he is us.

        • ardy3 says:

          Nope, Voyageur, you don't "get" it. I was a passenger who arrived in a plug-in hybrid. (Here's some unsolicited advice: Stop trying to psycho-analyze others without a license. You come across, again, as old, crotchety, and stooopid.)

          None the less, I'm no angel. I recognize that I remain a part of the problem. But as an actual practicing scientist, I also know that I am doing my part to provide solutions.

          So, while you are commiserating with Pogo, I'll keep on working for positive change on PK's team.

          • Voyageur says:

            So, you are part of the solution.  You're also an ageist asshole.   But assholes are useful things, if truth be known, so keep on backing PK's play.   But stop believing the first amendment means no one can criticize you.   That's not how it works, camshaft.

            • ardy3 says:

              What? Show me where I said the the 1st Amendment even suggests immunization against criticism.

              Go ahead. I'll wait …




              BTW, it's not ageism to call somebody old when that is the truth. It might be ageism if I claimed old people don't know the difference between hypocrite and hypodermic. But I would never say that. Besides, I'm older than most of the people on this planet.

              Honestly, though, stop with the amateurish psychoanalysis. If you have a strong argument you don't need to stoop to this.

              • Voyageur says:

                Actually, Camshaft, it is swinish behavior to mock people for things they can't control like race, gender, sexual orientation and age.  So, yes, you are an agist pig

                As for the first amendment, you opened your swinish eructation by bellowing that I was criticizing people who were "exercising their first amendment rights,” thus implying that I had no right to criticize them.  As I said, Camshaft, that ain't the way it works.

                • ardy3 says:

                  Actually, Voyageur, I was schooling you on how 'hypocrite' is spelled. 

                  You have every right to criticize anything and anyone. But it seems you thought you could do so sans criticism. 

                  On the other hand, I find it fascinating that it took you an hour to get all butt-hurt about "old," thereby conceding "crotchety" and "stupid." 

                  • Voyageur says:

                    You wasn't schooling, you was just letting your inner bigot run wild.  And unlike you, I don't hang here all day waiting to type a response.  As to your insults, crotchety and stupid, truth is a defense against libel, so fire away Camshaft.
                    Interesting part, the camshaft. Bright and shiny but crooked and bent, all at the same time.

                    • ardy3 says:

                      Do you ever read what you write? I mean for comprehension? 

                      But go ahead and make up a snappy nickname for me. It adds to the allure of your crotchety-ness.

                      And you're right, truth will protect me from any libel accusations? All I'd have to do is show a judge your posts over the last year and she'd declare everyone on ColoradoPols victims of your bad psychoanalysis and ill-humor. 

                    • Voyageur says:

                      Dry your tears, Camshaft.  They will rust the valve lifters.

    • bullshit! says:

      I think Moderatus is some kind of demon who possesses V-ger from time to time.

  7. ardy3 says:

    BTW, Hickenlooper was not drowned out. He was one of the few speakers that knew how to use a microphone and how to deliver a speech. I was there. I was in a position where I couldn't see any of the speakers, whether or not someone was holding a banner in front of the stage. Thus, from my perspective, the demonstrators were ineffective.

    The scientists who had the podium could take a lesson or two from Hick on his abilities. Agree or disagree with his message, Hick knows how to engage with an audience.

    Me … I agreed with parts and disagreed with parts. And I'm OK with that. (Anyone I agreed with 100% of the time would be a total dick, and the world only needs one of me.)

  8. Moderatus says:

    Governor, if you decide these liberal socialist hypocrites are too much, switch parties.

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