The individual who authored a letter to the editor in the Boulder Daily Camera advocating for violent actions against oil and natural gas workers and facilities is reaffirming his contentious statements. In an interview with a media outlet, he indicated that he would not object to the killing of industry workers.
During a phone interview with Colorado Politics, Andrew J. O’Connor reiterated his firm stance on fracking without offering any apologies or retractions.
O’Connor stated to Colorado Politics that he wouldn’t object to a sniper shooting a worker at a well site, expressing his belief that fracking equates to murder.
In his letter published by the Daily Camera on April 19, O’Connor urged residents of the state to resort to violence against oil and natural gas workers and facilities if fracking wells were placed in their neighborhoods, posing threats to their lives and the lives of their children. He questioned whether there was a moral obligation to destroy wells and eradicate fracking and its associated workers.
The letter was revised the next day to state, “don’t we have a moral responsibility to take action to discourage frackers from operating here?” Despite the edit, the letter maintains aggressive language, asserting that “fracking equals murder” and suggesting that employing violence against the oil and gas industry would be a “wise” choice for Colorado residents.
According to Colorado Politics, O’Connor is not issuing direct threats of violence nor urging others to participate in such actions.
According to a report by 9 News, in their interview with O’Connor, he clarified that when he mentioned eliminating workers, he intended it to mean putting them out of work rather than causing them harm.
O’Connor’s remarks have prompted increased security measures at state meetings related to oil and natural gas development, including an upcoming gathering discussing a ballot measure he is promoting to double state taxes on oil and natural gas production.
“Those workers are the individuals who will participate in the title-setting process,” Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert explained to 9News. “Moving forward, this will be a necessary security measure that we are required to implement.”
According to 9News, the meeting, which typically occurs at the downtown building housing the Secretary of State’s office, will now be postponed, and organizers must locate a venue in a secure facility equipped with metal detectors due to the content of O’Connor’s statements.
O’Connor dismissed the actions of the Secretary of State as excessive and exaggerated.
Yesterday, Colorado State Representative Chris Hansen (D) criticized the letter on the House floor, labeling the rhetoric as “unacceptable in Colorado.” In an opinion piece published in the Denver Post today, Dan Haley, President and CEO of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, encouraged dialogue regarding the inflammatory language. He acknowledged that some Coloradans have reservations about oil and gas development, particularly concerning safety, health, and proximity concerns, and emphasized the importance of continuing this conversation.
Haley stated that Colorado is already setting an example in various aspects and should also lead in discussing oil and gas development.
Kevin Kaufman, Executive Editor of the Daily Camera, defended the decision to publish the letter by drawing a comparison to how environmental activists might justify violent actions, similar to how President Trump justified his decision to strike a Syrian airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack that resulted in civilian casualties.