Chants from anti-fracking activists nearly drowned out Gov. John Hickenlooper’s remarks at today’s March for Science in Denver. The rally was part of a global day of activism calling on elected leaders to fund scientific research and take its findings seriously.
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.
Amplifying their voices with bullhorns, protesters then chanted, “Science says fracking kills.”
Watch video of the entire speech here.
Hickenlooper, a former geologist for the oil and gas industry, has been questioned about his commitment to climate action since rolling back the pioneering statewide climate plan set by his predecessor. Former Gov. Bill Ritter’s plan called for a reduction in state greenhouse gas emissions, using a 2005 baseline, by 20 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. It also urged investment in clean coal technologies, created an agricultural carbon offset program and made it mandatory for big polluters to report their emissions. Hickenlooper’s climate plan significantly scaled back those goals and has been criticized for being vague and unsubstantial.
Image: Activists pose on the stage in Civic Center Park before Saturday’s March for Science. Many of the same people took to the stage during Gov. Hickenlooper’s remarks later in the day. Photo by Kelsey Ray.