For Immediate Release:
Contacts: Micah Parkin, email@example.com, 504-258-1247
Anne Lee Foster, firstname.lastname@example.org, 757-870-5102
OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY IS USING SECRET PAID ACTORS TO POSE AS PROTESTERS AND TO HARASS AND INTIMIDATE COLORADO RISING BALLOT INITIATIVE SIGNATURE GATHERERS
DENVER – The Colorado Rising ballot initiative campaign will hold a news conference Wednesday at 10am to expose secret “astroturf” tactics, a deceitful strategy cropping up nationwide whereby powerful corporations such as the energy industry use paid actors to pose as protesters or harass citizens, and now being deployed here in Colorado.
The Colorado Rising initiative campaign seeks to create 2500’ safety zones between oil and gas operations and occupied buildings, such as homes and schools, playgrounds and water sources. Its campaigners will present video, audio and imagery of these paid actors harassing signature gatherers in various places around Greater Denver.
In multiple cities across Colorado, the secretly paid harassers are specifically targeting petition circulators for Colorado Rising at public events and locations. They then call in other harassers who stand uncomfortably close to the petition circulator and follow them around holding signs with messages like “Would you trust this person with your info?” and yell at people not to sign the petitions. The harassers are typically large males whose behavior is clearly intended to intimidate both potential signers and petition circulators alike.
In 2016, oil and gas companies funded similar “Decline to Sign” efforts through front groups like CRED (Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development), Protect Colorado and Black Diamond to block the democratic process and keep ballot measures designed to protect communities from fracking from qualifying for the ballot. Insider sources have told Colorado Rising volunteers that these same groups are responsible for this year’s harassment as well. And we know Protect Colorado has already amassed a $8.4 million war chest to try to defeat these common sense protections for our communities. At the news conference, Colorado Rising will expose these big money bully tactics to the public and will deliver a log of the harassment to the Secretary of State’s office in a plea for help to stop what the campaign believes are illegal actions to affect Colorado’s democratic ballot initiative process.
- When: Wednesday, June 20, 10am start -10:15am finish
- Where: Secretary of State’s Office, 1700 Broadway, Denver – speakers will gather outside
- Who: People who are circulating the Colorado Rising ballot initiative for 2500’ safety zones from fracking will speak about the harassment they have experienced or witnessed.
- Why: The Colorado Rising campaign for safer setbacks wants to expose and put an end to these dirty and possibly illegal secret industry harassment tactics.
- Visuals: Photographs of the harassment in action, plus video footage will be made available to the press.
More information is available at www.corising.org.