‘I Wouldn’t Have A Problem With A Sniper Shooting One Of The Workers,’ Says Colo. Anti-Fracking Activist
The author of a Boulder Daily Camera letter to the editor that called for violent attacks on oil and natural gas workers and facilities is standing by his controversial comments, telling one media outlet yesterday that he “wouldn’t have a problem” with the murder of industry workers.
Andrew J. O’Connor “unapologetically reiterated his hardline stance on fracking” in a phone interview with Colorado Politics.
“I wouldn’t have a problem with a sniper shooting one of the workers” at a well site, O’Connor told Colorado Politics. “I believe fracking is murder.”
The Daily Camera published O’Connor’s letter to the editor last week that encouraged state residents to act violently against oil and natural gas workers and facilities. “If the oil and gas industry puts fracking wells in our neighborhoods, threatening our lives and our children’s lives, then don’t we have a moral responsibility to blow up wells and eliminate fracking and workers?” O’Connor wrote in the letter published April 19.
The letter was edited the following day to read “don’t we have a moral responsibility to take action to dissuade frackers from operating here?” The edited letter still contains violent rhetoric, claims “fracking equals murder,” and says using violence against the oil and gas industry would be the “intelligent” move for Colorado residents.
O’Connor “is not threatening violence himself or calling on anyone to engage in it,” Colorado Politics wrote.
Local TV news station 9 News also interviewed O’Connor and reported last night, “When he wrote about eliminating workers, he says he meant putting them out of work, not hurting them.”
O’Connor’s comments have triggered enhanced security measures at state meetings concerning oil and natural gas development, including an upcoming meeting regarding a ballot measure O’Connor is driving to double state taxes on oil and natural gas production.
“Those workers are the same people who will be in the room at the title-setting process,” Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert told 9News. “From this point on, that will be a security precaution that we are obligated to take.”
“That meeting would normally happen in this downtown building that houses the Secretary of State’s office,” 9News reported, “but Staiert says they have to delay this meeting now and find a space in a secure building with metal detectors because of what O’Connor wrote.”
“The Secretary of State is being ridiculous drama queens,” O’Connor responded.
Yesterday, Colo. State Rep. Chris Hansen (D) condemned the letter on the House floor, calling the rhetoric “simply out of bounds in Colorado.” In an op-ed published in the Denver Post this morning, Colorado Oil and Gas Association President and Chief Executive Dan Haley urged discussion over inflammatory rhetoric. “We understand that some Coloradans have issues with oil and gas development and have concerns about safety and health and proximity,” he wrote. “So let’s continue to have that discussion.”
“Colorado is already a leader — let’s be a leader in how we talk about oil and gas development as well,” Haley continued.
Daily Camera Executive Editor Kevin Kaufman defended publishing the letter by arguing that environmental activists could justify committing violent actions the same way President Trump justified his decision to strike a Syrian airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed civilians.