Election 2018EnergyTrending

Group behind oil-and-gas setbacks measure cancels rally, citing threats

Author: Joey Bunch - October 16, 2018 - Updated: October 17, 2018

Colorado oil and gas
(Photo by Andy Colwell/Colorado Politics)

Colorado Rising, the group backing Proposition 112 on the November ballot, has cancelled a rally in support of the oil-and-gas setbacks measure that had been planned in Greeley Friday, Oct. 19, saying that tempers are running too hot and some of its supporters are being intimidated.

Proposition 112 would bar oil and gas operations within 2,500 feet of homes, businesses and schools. Opponents said that would virtually ban the industry from working on privately owned lands in Colorado, cost the state and local tax  bases about $1 billion a year and seriously hamper a major employment industry in the state.

> RELATED: Oil & gas industry focused on fighting setbacks, not Colo. governor’s race

In canceling the rally, Colorado Rising on Tuesday cited these incidents:

  • Greeley City Council member Stacy Suniga reported a telephone threat to “watch her back” the day before the council voted to a position on 112. Suniga was the only member to vote in support of Proposition 112.
  • A Greeley volunteer reportedly received an anonymous letter telling him he was “loony,” among other insults, for supporting the setbacks.
  • Other supporters have “received countless harassing messages on social media that have increased in frequency and severity since 112 has qualified for the ballot,” Colorado Rising said.
  • Petition gatherers said they were harassed by opponents they suspected were supported by the oil and gas industry.

“Fear and intimidation tactics are nothing new to volunteers in support of better health and safety protections from oil & gas development,” Colorado Rising spokesperson Anne Lee Foster said in an email to reporters Tuesday.

When Colorado Politics asked about the situation, Dan Haley, president and CEO of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, said this via email: “Death threats are absolutely inappropriate and cross a very serious line. We need a return to a high level of civil discourse and civil dialogue in this state.”

The organizer of the pro-Proposition 112 rally, Megan Meyer, said she was one of those who has received threats.

“It was going to be a family event, and now I just don’t want anyone to get hurt,” she told the Greeley Tribune newspaper. “I think tensions are just a little too high in Weld County right now.”

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.