Activists disrupt Hick’s piano recital

Governor John Hickenlooper plays the piano at First Congregational Church in Boulder on June 8, while about 20 activists shout opposition to his policies regarding oil & gas development. [Photo by Jonathan Castner]

Governor John Hickenlooper plays the piano at First Congregational Church in Boulder on June 8, while about 20 activists shout opposition to his policies regarding oil & gas development. [Photo by Jonathan Castner]

Oops! Did I say piano recital? Must be that photo.

I meant book event.

That’s right. Governor Hickenlooper wrote a book, I Drank the Fracking Fluid.

No. He didn’t. I was just messing with you.

He did publish a confessional memoir, loosely based on his life, The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics — but he didn’t actually write it. He told it to his senior media adviser and speechwriter, Maximillian Potter and that guy wrote it.

During a book promotion event at the First Congregational Church in Boulder on Wednesday night, Hickenlooper’s sermon was interrupted by activists from the Colorado Community Rights Network.

Anti-Fracking Protesters Crash Colorado Governor’s Book Event, Cause Mayhem

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.

So he sort of accompanied the activists while they were shouting. But not in this video.


It’s unclear why the Boulder Book Store chose a church setting to sponsor the event but it’s certainly true that the governor sings the praises of fracking in his book, even though he worships the false gods at the altar of oil & gas. But Congregationalists do tend to be open-minded toward people of other faiths.

Hickenlooper on why he supports fracking from The Opposite of Woe … :

“Early critics of mine were right about this much: my background as an oil and gas geologist did influence my perspective. I understand the evolution of hydraulic fracturing. I knew that the innovations in technology, everything from the hydraulic fracking systems to the fluid, had become so advanced that it was a remarkably safe extraction method. ” [pg. 276]

“Based on experience and science, I recognized that fracking was one of our very best and safest extraction techniques. Fracking is good for the country’s energy supply, our national security, our economy, and our environment. ” [pg. 277]

Hickenlooper’s on what fuels anti-fracking activism from The Opposite of Woe … :

“It seemed to me at the time that the way some media and activists were going after fracking was reminiscent of the early twentieth century, when the media skewered the oil and gas industry, personified by John D. Rockefeller. Only in our era, it was often bloggers wedded to a particular agenda who led the charge, cherry-picking some shreds of truth, or untruths, to make popular but inaccurate stories.” [pg. 279]

Like the article says, the activists were probably reacting to those statements in his book. However Hickenlooper’s views on oil & gas are nothing new.

It’s even more likely that these activists seized the opportunity to draw attention to Governor Hickenlooper’s cozy relationship with the oil & gas industry.

For example on March 31, at a luncheon organized by the Colorado Petroleum Council, an arm of the national American Petroleum Institute (API), the governor condemned the ballot initiatives and downplayed the growth of wind and solar energy, even though Colorado is ranked in the top 10 for solar jobs and installed solar capacity.

“We won’t transform the energy supplies of our nation overnight; there’s been rapid growth in solar and wind, but we’re a long way from saying we can walk away from hydrocarbons and not do significant damage to our economy,” Hickenlooper said.

“The number of people in Colorado who want to ban hydrocarbons is probably a small minority.”

Then the governor dropped a grenade and said he wants the EPA to halt its plan to tighten ground-level ozone limits from 75 ppb down to 70 ppb.

“So, I think it would be a great idea if they suspended the standard,” Hickenlooper said. “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.”

How’s that for leadership? Since we can’t possibly attain 70 ppb we shouldn’t even have to try.

And all of this he said whilst seated on the throne of oil & gas with API chief Jack Gerard.

A couple weeks later on April 20, the American Lung Association released its annual assessment. Of all U.S. cities, Metro Denver ranked 8th most-polluted with ozone and Fort Collins ranked 10th, caused by persistent emissions from vehicles and industry. The ALA handed out failing grades to 9 Front Range counties from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins. On the West Slope, Garfield, Mesa, and Rio Blanco counties also received Fs.

Since the Denver Post article didn’t bother to mention that the ALA report made Hickenlooper look like a fool, the activists at the church were just pointing out how disgraceful it is that the governor continues to put the health of his fellow citizens at risk on a daily basis, rather than support the necessary steps it would take to get his state into ozone emissions compliance.

Looking at the demonstration as performance art, perhaps they were asking the question of the ages. Which is worse — the sinner or the sin?

If Hickenlooper was seeking forgiveness for his sins by preaching to the choir on Wednesday night, that’s not what he was blessed with. Instead his cup runneth over with mayhem and chaos, as the article further reveals:

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.”

BTW, Randy Hildreth is this guy.

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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3 Comments on “Activists disrupt Hick’s piano recital”

  1. Says:

    As I understand it, it’s important to have a book about yourself if you want to be invited to run for vp or appointed a member of the US cabinet !

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Elizabeth K. Burton Says:

    Should one rely on the journalistic integrity of a newspaper where the copyeditors apparently don’t know the word is “unfazed,” not “un-phased”?

    Good for the activists. The biggest problem in this country right now is that too many people are comfortable and thus feel free to ignore reality. The more uncomfortable they become, the better.

  3. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Agreed. The media actually promotes the notion that demonstrations are bad, and it doesn’t matter what the activists are protesting, they are doing it wrong. It’s perfectly fine for Trump to stand behind a podium and spew hatred and incite violence like a school yard bully but civil demonstrations are dismissed as “counterproductive” to their message. It’s because the media has become so untrustworthy that we need more demonstrations.

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