A recent Denver Post story quoted Russell Mendell of Frack Free Colorado (FFC). It was curious to see Mendell back in the fray, because he all but disappeared after people started asking questions about who he was really working for during last year’s local “ban fracking” campaigns.
To recap, after Energy In Depth sounded the alarm that national environmental groups were running those local political campaigns against the oil and gas industry, Mendell forcefully denied the charge to the news media. But Mendell had a problem, because he was sent to Colorado from New York by Water Defense, an East Coast activist group that joined with Yoko Ono’s Artists Against Fracking and Food & Water Watch to create FFC. Even Local Control Colorado, another self-proclaimed grassroots organization that has signaled they would be willing to work with Congressman Jared Polis, should he decide to fund a ballot initiative campaign this fall, has been found to be a creation of the same groups.
The solution to Mendell’s problem was deleting all references to Water Defense on the FFC website, and at the same time scrubbing the rest of the site of FFC’s connections to all those local campaigns. But Complete Colorado caught FFC red handed literally trying to rewrite history, and blew the whistle. More than that, Complete Colorado also found evidence that strongly suggested FFC’s chief media spokesperson was another Water Defense operative, and she was based in New York City. After a bit more digging, it was revealed that Mendell was a veteran of the Occupy Wall Street movement who was deeply involved in anti-energy campaigning in New York. Worse, Mendell had espoused that that Occupy and anti-fracking groups have the same goals.
After that, we didn’t hear much from Mendell. Eventually, we figured that the money behind FFC realized that an Occupy Wall Streeter and veteran of the anti-fracking campaign in New York probably wasn’t the best spokesman for a campaign that claims to be authentically Coloradan and part of the state’s pragmatic political center.
But now Mendell is back to remind us all who’s really behind the “ban fracking” campaign in Colorado – East Coast groups like Water Defense and political operatives from extreme anti-business campaigns like Occupy Wall Street.
It’s good to have you back, Russell.