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Video: Fracking protesters disrupt energy conference with balloon alarms

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Photos, video below.
If you're looking for a crash course in how to be annoying, you could do worse than study the guerrilla tactics of Colorado Extraction Resistance, a group of activists bent on chafing the thick hides of energy interests who rely on hydraulic fracturing methods to drill for oil and gas. The group infiltrated a major industry gathering in downtown Denver last week, to noisy effect -- generating an online account of the affair that concludes, "It was much easier than you might think. All you need is fancy clothes, a few days for planning, and a little bit of raw nerve."

The Platts Rockies Oil & Gas conference annually attracts some of the biggest players in western energy production -- including Hess and Noble, Anadarko Petroleum, Bill Barrett and Continental Resources -- to talk about infrastructure, market outlook, supply chains and related issues. But this year's confab at the Grand Hyatt Denver also brought out Colorado Extraction Resistance's "Balloon Bloq" team, disguised in business attire to blend in as much as possible.

According to the group's own blustery account of its subterfuge, the first order of business was "reconnaissance of the hotel layout," followed by an effort to place "modified industry art" in bathrooms and on display tables, giving messages like this one time to sink in:

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Here's another one:

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Then the Balloon Bloq team headed for the conference ballroom, equipped with bunches of helium balloons tied to cheap personal alarms, available for a few bucks "online and at many hardware stores." They were intercepted by off-duty police providing security; but while one member of the group was being cuffed, another reportedly was able to release his balloons -- and shrieking alarm -- into the ballroom, temporarily halting the proceedings. (The arrested protester was charged with disturbing the peace and released a few hours later, the CER site reports.)

A more conventional rally and protest was then held outside. The group, which claims to be drawing inspiration from recent actions by the Tar Sands Blockade in Texas, vows to stage similar protests in the near future. Here's a video of last week's action:

More from our Environment archive: "Fracking moratorium in Boulder County extended to June, residents placated -- for now."

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17 comments
RHytonen
RHytonen

 cowildcatter BackOffImStarving And they're also the reason we pay SO much for gasoline.

Or did you think that Coal, O&G are produced to STAY in our country and to keep our prices DOWN? Wrong. It's produced using as few jobs as possible (and fewer every year,) regardless of the damage those methods cause to the infrastructure, economy, and resources of THIS country.

As for plastics, they're also the reason for our cancer rate, polluted environment, dwindling wildlife and ecosystem, low quality nondurable goods, and most of all, the reason those cars no longer last a lifetime as they did when they were steel.

As for heat and electricity, we in WV -where they claim the coal comes from- have seen our monthly utility bills (ALL three, "level billing," identical avg. usage) TRIPLE over the past 6 years, while paying roughly HALF what they pay in neighboring OH, where they've formed local co-ops.

Dylan Garrett
Dylan Garrett

Their just like any large corporation. Their interest lies in the share holders, not the average citizen. But there is something to be said about people who aggressively protest an industry they benefit from on a daily basis.

Chad Kautzer
Chad Kautzer

Yes, Westword readers, let's do what ever the energy companies want. They have our interests in mind, right? They would never put profit before public health and safety, so any of these little whipper snappers who speak truth to power and try to draw attention to fracking should be condemned. These protests also so boring anyway, because Westword photographers have no nearly-naked women to take pictures of and call it reporting.

Eric Jaggi
Eric Jaggi

Yet they sure like to drive their suv's around and a nice warm home. Hahahah idiots

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

Because cheap distractions and over-hyped doomsday scenarios are way more effective than logic and reason.  I wonder how many of those hippies woke up that day in a house heated by natural gas, drove to the event in an SUV covered in and comprised of synthetic parts, and blogged about how awesome they are on their computers and smartphones that have many, many petroleum-based products...

RHytonen
RHytonen

This is why, irrespective of the expensively produced propaganda people finally begin to see through, you will soon see a majority of "those green vests" in the White House and Congress. Corporations WILL be stopped. Don't believe it? Look again at all the national polls ON THE ISSUES (such as Tax The Rich, Pass Single Payer Health Care, Jail War Criminals and Recession-Engineering Banksters, STOP energy extraction, Regulatory Capture and global speculation, and END KXL, Fracking, The MIC and PIC, etc.) - Then actually READ the Green Party positions, again; ON THOSE ISSUES.

www.jillstein.org/issues

http://greenshadowcabinet.us

dianep
dianep

@Eric Jaggi No that's you, idiot

Indistinct
Indistinct

@BackOffImStarving "I wonder how many of those hippies woke up that day in a house heated by natural gas, drove to the event in an SUV covered in and comprised of synthetic parts, and blogged about how awesome they are on their computers and smartphones that have many, many petroleum-based products"

Only because viable alternatives (solar, hemp, etc.) have either been suppressed by industry or indirectly suppressed via government subsidies to Big Oil since President Carter was removed from office.

cowildcatter
cowildcatter

@BackOffImStarving The balloons filled with Helium used in protest happens to be a product of natural gas production also used in cooling of MRI machines (only gas used to cool MRI machines) Crude oil is used in the manufacture of cancer medication among others. These people fighting against O&G make my day.  My response to them is get an education FIRST then debate what is good and bad.  Until then hide they can behind their BS and ride off into the apocalypse with the rest of those green vest wearing folks downtown.

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@dianep Nu uh, YOU are...  Did that devastate you?  Are you in the fetal position on the floor after that scathing comeback?

RHytonen
RHytonen

@BackOffImStarving @cowildcatter A corporatist accusing "PROPAGANDA?"

Look at what the extractionists spend on it, and lobbying, and regulatory and judicial "capture," and lawyers to evade punishment for ignoring safety and environmental regs...

are you REALLY suggesting a nonprofit environmental org., or a group of individual "hippies," can come CLOSE to that?

I doubt anyone 'buys' that - or ever will.

The day will come that votes count again over dollars - even if those votes have to be in the streets. It always has.

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