With the Canada Pension Plan’s biannual public meetings under way this week, people from across Colorado have put together a series of video messages asking Canadian pension holders to stop funding fossil fuel companies—particularly Denver-based Crestone Peak Resources, a company 95% owned by the CPP.
“Whether you know it or not, you’re one of 20 million Canadian workers and retirees that benefit from the Canadian Pension Plan,” says one unidentified Coloradan, one of several who rotate through the narration on the five-minute video produced by 350 Colorado and Fossil Free PERA. “Unfortunately, your pension savings are being invested in ways that pollute our air, our water, harm the health of our children, and even influence our elections to benefit the oil industry.”
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It might surprise Canadians to learn “that with you savings, the Canada Pension Plan owns a high-risk fracking company called Crestone Peak Resources that is forcing a massive increase in oil and gas drilling all over Colorado,” the narration team adds. The company’s operations have produced more than 1,000 public complaints, more than twice as many as the next five Colorado fossils combined. “In fact, Crestone is so unpopular that in Colorado, two counties voted to ban all new fracking projects. Nearly every single elected official in these counties opposed the residential drilling plan proposed by Crestone,” a proposal that put some fracking wells within 120 feet of occupied homes.
Late last month, the Globe and Mail reported that Crestone spent more than US$607,250 to shape the results of state elections in Colorado in 2018, supporting “pro-business” candidates and political action committees bent on blocking tougher regulation of controversial oil and gas fracking operations in the state. “Nearly half, $300,000, went to the pro-Republican Senate Majority Fund, while $200,000 went to Better Colorado Now, in support of Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, a member of the Bush political dynasty,” the paper said at the time.
“Canadians don’t want this,” Adam Scott, director of Toronto-based Shift:Action, told The Energy Mix. “They don’t want their pensions invested in companies that are causing harm, both to the climate and to communities, and the more they learn about the behaviour of CPP in its investments, the more they’re speaking out against it.”
Read The Energy Mix’s feature interview with Adam Scott here.
Now, Shift:Action is supporting Coloradans’ bid to turn up the heat on CPP. “Communities in Colorado are suffering from poor air quality, toxic fumes, poisonous gas leaks, loud noises, earthquakes, explosions, and health problems and illnesses caused by Crestone’s fracking operations,” the Toronto-based organization writes in an action alert this week. “Parents, teachers, community groups and health advocates in Colorado were so concerned about Crestone’s harmful fracking operations that they took the company to court and forced local governments to protect their communities from Crestone’s toxic fossil fuel pollution”—which was when Crestone made its big donations to try to influence the state election and shift the political balance in its own favour.
“Not only is this wrong, but Crestone is likely a bad financial investment for Canadian pensioners,” Shift:Action writes. “Fracking companies everywhere are losing money, as local resistance to their toxic pollution and the global fight to tackle the climate crisis accelerate the decline of oil and gas.
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