I’ve seen plenty of people kicked out of X Games and other snow sports events for a variety of things. But getting kicked out for energy-related activism is a new one to me.
At the X Games in Aspen, Colorado this week, a group of a dozen young activists brought in anti-fracking signs and held a live, prime-time protest against natural gas fracking operations in Colorado during the men’s superpipe event. The signs read “Rig Free for You and Me” and “Stop Frac’ing Colo.”
If you don’t pay attention to the Winter X Games, it’s the premier event for extreme snow sports like freestyle snowboarding and skiing. In other words, a perfect nationally-televised event for raising awareness about an issue. The Colorado Independent talked to the young “Fracktivists” after their successful protest:
The ESPN Winter X Games provided an ideal venue, the activists said, to educate an extremely large and youthful crowd about fracking — a method of extracting natural gas and oil by breaking rocks with a pressurized mixture of fluids. The protestors specifically sought to raise awareness of the threat of drilling in the nearby roadless area of Thompson Divide and energy plays on the other side of the Elk Mountains in the North Fork Valley.
More than once, private security guards tried to physically remove DeVore and his signs from Buttermilk Mountain, where the Winter X Games were held, but he stood his ground. After the competition was over and the awards ceremony began, Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies approached DeVore, informed him that he was on private property and that he could avoid arrest if he left the grounds immediately. He did. But not before lifting his “Don’t Frac It Up” sign high for all to see.
Colorado has a growing number of activist groups focused on fracking issues, including the Thompson Divide Coalition, which is working to stop oil and gas drilling on federal lands in the Thompson Divide Area in central Colorado. Last year, Colorado passed a law requiring companies to disclose chemicals used in the fracking process.