Thursday, August 25, 2011

Colorado energy-policy protesters, counter protesters find common ground

Left and right call for end to oil industry subsidies

Colorado Independant
By John Tomasic | 08.25.11

LONGMONT– The right and left protesters and counter-protesters gathered here off a sprawling suburban four-lane road and around a wall-less field house at the Boulder County Fairgrounds agreed on at least two things: that the group hosting the gathering, Americans for Prosperity, is suffering an image problem and that government subsidies to oil and gas companies have got to end.

“I don’t think we’re really fighting here about energy. These [counter protests] are about something else,” Sean Paige, AFP deputy state director, told the Colorado Independent. “I think we actually might share common ground on a lot of these issues but it never gets to any level of detail. They have something against our group. There’s anger and disruption. It’s politics. That’s what’s going on across the nation.

“The fact that our group draws attacks, it just shows that we’re being effective.”

AFP is bankrolled by conservative politics string-pullers Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who run blockbuster oil and gas company Koch Industries. The Kochs have spent millions over the last decade battling government regulations on business and have become well-known as the political fights they have chosen have become nastier and as the media focuses increasingly on their influence. They played a key roll through AFP in the battle against health care reform last year and in the battle to break public employee unions in Wisconsin this year.

AFP’s “Running on Empty” tour is making stops throughout the Colorado Front Range this week, arguing that high prices at the gas pump are tied to over regulation of the oil and gas industry in the Obama era.

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