The Environmentalists’ Human Shields
Ross Kaminsky
by

Who does this describe?

If they win, it will mean worse lives for the living, and death for many. They’re willing to lie about their goals and demonize those who disagree with them. And they employ the detestable practice of using human shields to further their cult-like ambition to impose their will on non-believers.

That’s right: I’m talking about the radical environmental left, headed up by groups like 350.org, the Sierra Club, and the Boulder, Colorado-based Earth Guardians.

It’s something of an incestuous industry. For example, the board of directors of Earth Guardians (which is chaired by a “Chicano activist and folk furniture maker” and features a high school junior) includes — and is likely dominated by — its “co-chair,” a long-time climate activist and community organizer who founded and runs the Colorado branch of 350.org.

These people, who often seem motivated less by love of the planet than they are by hatred of human beings, are on a mission regarding fossil fuels to “keep it in the ground.” They’re of the same mindset as one Barack Obama whose anti-coal crusade had not just as an acceptable side effect but an intended goal that “electricity prices will necessarily skyrocket.”

What was it that took humanity out of a life that was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”? It was cheap power. It was the ability to heat your home AND cook your food, not having to choose between the two, on a modest income. Not filling your lungs with smoke from burning wood or animal waste. Not having to spend back-breaking hours chopping and carrying that wood. Not losing days from your work and years off your life through those poisonous inhalations and hard labor. Cheap power is what made modern life possible. It made everybody’s life better, but especially the poor (which is the case for so many other life-changing achievements of capitalism).

It is truly remarkable that “liberals” and “Progressives” champion the most regressive energy policies imaginable. Higher energy prices generally and electricity prices specifically mean deprivation, hunger, suffering and even death. And it means these things especially for the poor because the rich are, well, rich.

But people like Bill McKibben, the Bernie Sanders-loving founder of 350.org, hate fossil fuels. They want to “keep them in the ground,” in pursuit of which McKibben compares carbon (particularly the truly excellent plant food known as carbon dioxide) to Adolf Hitler, and the fossil fuel industry to zombies which require “a stake through a fossil-fueled world.” Hyperbole much, Bill?

But here’s McKibben’s problem: most Americans get it. Most of us are not willing to double our electricity bills or see gasoline return to $5 per gallon to satisfy the smug condescension of the “you’re killing the planet but if you join us we can redeem you” cult. That’s why Barack Obama, even with a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate, failed to pass “cap and trade” in 2010. And thank goodness he couldn’t; it would have been a policy so harmful as to make Obamacare look like a good idea.

The left has long employed a strategy of using judges who think they’re legislators to create and impose laws that legislatures routinely refuse to pass.

If that’s your plan, what better way than to enlist children as plaintiffs? And so they are, using a handful of brainwashed teens and pre-teens of cult-member parents in lawsuits designed to destroy oil and natural gas production in the United States and, in a particular case, in my state of Colorado.

These radicals and their lawyers are using children as legal human shields, hoping (perhaps with some justification) that judges and reporters will be unwilling to question them aggressively, much less criticize them deservingly, as they bring lawsuits that would devastate the economy of our nation, cause massive unemployment, and destroy the ability of many to cook their food or heat their homes.

The lead human shield in the Colorado case of Martinez v. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (“COGCC” or “Commission”) is a 17-year-old Boulderite named Xiuhtezcatl Martinez who really loves frogs and rivers and stuff. From his handlers running the Earth Guardians website: “His first name is pronounced ‘Shoe-Tez-Caht’ and he’s a 17-year-old indigenous climate activist, hip-hop artist, and powerful voice on the front lines of a global youth-led environmental movement.” Because children are such experts on science and economics.

Naturally, therefore, the group has built a speakers’ bureau for the teenager and his friends. “Xiuhtezcatl — deeply rooted in the Aztec tradition — shares his indigenous wisdom… and how important it will be to return to a sacred way of living on the earth,” says the pitch on the Earth Guardians website.

I assume that this young man truly believes that he is “in love with the world” and that he has a “responsibility to be a caretaker for the land.” The problem is that he’s a teenager, unaware of how little he knows and how much of what he knows is wrong, whose motivation comes from having “learn[ed] about the environmental crisis that was causing some of the greatest collapse that our world has ever seen.” Huh?

Xiuhtezcatl has been in the environmentalist human shield business for much of his young life, including making a “What the Frack” music video (which perpetuates the lie that fracking is the cause of methane in water lines leading to “lighting your tap water on fire”) and angering parents at Evergreen (CO) Middle School by performing the cute-but-ignorant brainwashing rap for their still-rational children. He’s given a TEDx talk (“When I turned six I started asking ‘what kind of world is my generation going to be left with?’”) and been trotted out in front of the United Nations. (I don’t know whether the proper reaction is this or this.)

The case, which has important national implications, began when these modern Luddites proposed a rule to the Commission that they “not issue any permits for the drilling of a well for oil and gas unless the best available science demonstrates, and an independent, third party organization confirms, that drilling can occur in a manner that does not cumulatively, with other actions, impair Colorado’s atmosphere, water, wildlife, and land resources, does not adversely impact human health and does not contribute to climate change.”

This is of course an insane and impossible standard.

The Commission responded that such a rule is impermissible under its authority under the law and that the rule would effectively eliminate the very “balance” that existing law requires. A district court upheld the Commission’s ruling.

However, in a 2-1 vote a three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals, much to its shame, overturned both the COGCC and the lower court by ruling that the Commission cannot make decisions regarding permitting of energy development in Colorado based on a “balance between the development of oil and gas resources and protection of public health, safety, and welfare.”

Instead, the Appeals Court ruled that the wording of the law uses the word “balanced” to describe balance among methods and locations of energy development, but not balance between energy development and environmental and other protections. This flies in the face of the bulk of the COGCC’s enabling legislation and other relevant regulation.

The case was remanded back to the district court but Colorado’s Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, with the support of a unanimous COGCC, appealed the case to the State Supreme Court over the objection of Colorado’s faux-moderate Governor John Hickenlooper. The COGCC’s petition notes that the environmentalists’ proposed rule “would halt all oil and gas production in Colorado” (and all the jobs that are directly and indirectly supported by such production).

If the State Supreme Court does agree to hear the case, which is likely, the issue will not be the Earth Guardians’ proposed rule but rather whether the Appeals Court correctly ruled that the COGCC’s mandate is only to balance types of energy development, not to balance energy development with other societal concerns; instead the latter must take precedence.

This should not be a difficult case for the Supreme Court except that as this case and others have shown far too many judges now view themselves as super-legislators who make the law they want rather than interpret the law as the legislature clearly intended. One also wonders whether the departure of one of the best judges on the Court, Allison Eid, nominated to the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to replace Neil Gorsuch, will impact the result in this case.

You have to hand it to 350.org, the Sierra Club and their ilk. Using children as human shields for their lawsuits is clever strategy. One only wonders whether Bill McKibben and his young victims like Xiuhtezcatl Martinez realize that “success” for them means that energy prices will “necessarily skyrocket” and, along with them, unemployment, poverty, misery, and even death not just in Colorado, not just in other energy-producing states, but for any person or business anywhere in this nation who uses fuel or electricity.

What could be more hypocritical than to pursue such an anti-human agenda by using the very children whose lives and whose families’ lives will be destroyed by it?

Ross Kaminsky
Ross Kaminsky
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