Washington, D.C.-based Food & Water Watch has told the news media it did not recruit high-school students to take part in a “ban fracking” rally outside last week’s Colorado oil and gas task force meeting in Greeley. But these denials are undermined by the group’s history of using children in its campaigns.
Food & Water Watch Western Region Director Sam Schabacker told the Greeley Tribune the involvement of the students was “completely spontaneous.” Despite talking to a school teacher about the rally well in advance of the task force meeting, Schabacker claims the students were only supposed to attend as observers. But this does not square with Schabacker’s track record, which includes training children to lobby the Colorado state legislature for a statewide ban on oil and natural gas development.
As this “Lobbying For Kids” video clearly shows, Schabacker has no problem using children to promote Food & Water Watch’s political agenda, which calls for national and statewide bans on hydraulic fracturing and the energy production it makes possible. He even tells the children there isn’t much difference between a moratorium and a permanent ban on energy development:
“Whether it’s a statewide ban, or a statewide moratorium, those things are pretty complementary, right? One is a permanent stop to drilling; one is a temporary stop to drilling.”
Another video captures Schabacker leading a “Kids Against Fracking” lobbying trip to the state legislature, during which children are clearly pictured holding the same “Ban Fracking Now” signs that were used at the Greeley rally.
Was this “completely spontaneous” too?
When Food & Water Watch coaches children on how to lobby, takes those children into the offices of state lawmakers to push the group’s agenda, gives them “Ban Fracking Now” signs to hold on the steps of the State Capitol, and then makes two videos about it, Schabacker’s denials about recruiting high-school students to attend his Greeley rally are strange to say the least.
Schabacker’s track record clearly shows he believes it’s perfectly acceptable to recruit children as active participants, not just observers, in Food & Water Watch’s campaign to shut down energy development across Colorado. One wonders why Schabacker doesn’t just tell news reporters what he really believes. Then again, as we have detailed many times at Energy In Depth, “ban fracking” activists hiding their true real agenda is pretty much standard operating procedure in Colorado.