Drilling protest planned for weekly Glenwood Springs concert

Two Carbondale men making a documentary they say will examine the threat of natural gas development to watersheds are planning to stage and film a quasi-flash mob event tonight in Glenwood Springs.

The event is scheduled to occur during the weekly Glenwood Springs Summer of Music concert at Two Rivers Park, as part of a film to be titled “The Water Handler.”

“This event is going to be the climax of our film and will be representing a symbolic act of our water being contaminated by irresponsible industrial energy practices,” the filmmakers say at http://www.thewaterhandler.com.

The film focuses in part on Aaron Milton, a Glenwood Springs man who worked in oil and gas and then quit and went public with health-related concerns about the industry.

Hamilton Pevec, who is making the documentary along with Austin Lottimer, said tonight’s event is more accurately a community action event rather than a true flash mob because it’s not being staged as a complete surprise. The filmmakers are using Facebook to spread the word, and expect perhaps 150 people to participate.

They are being asked to wear blue pants and a blue shirt beneath a red one, and will be led through a routine that will alternatively display the two colors.

“The blue signifies the purity and the red signifies the contamination,” Pevec said.

Organizers didn’t notify the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts, which organizes the free music series, center executive director Gayle Mortell said.

She found the planned event “interesting” and said she’s fine with a peaceful demonstration, as long as no one gets hurt. She noted that lots of children run around the park during the festival.

The event is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., at the start of the concert. Pevec said it should be over within 15 minutes, and involve taping the routine probably three times. He said it will occur away from the stage, “but still in the park area so that people can still see it.”

Pevec said the film focuses on the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing and on the potential for water contamination throughout the gas development process.

David Ludlam, executive director of the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association, said a niche industry has grown up around films critical of the industry’s technological innovations. He said the films are generally “heavy on rhetoric and demagoguery and light on facts.”

“From our perspective if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all,” he said.


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