Kolbenschlag: Strategic lawsuits against public participation

Post Independent (Glenwood Springs): The public lands rise above where I live, from the town and from the orchards, farms, ranches and wineries for which the North Fork Valley is known. I have long been involved in the shared work here to build a vibrant community and to support our transition to a diverse economy no longer so tightly lashed to fossil fuels.

I accept the urgency of climate change, and I am a proud advocate for our public lands. Many here agree with me, and together we have stood up to limit oil and gas development from expanding across the national forest and BLM lands. But this is not about oil and gas development. It is not my story at all.

But it is about what my experience can do to help inform the conversation around HB 1324, the “Anti-SLAPP” bill recently introduced in the Colorado House by Reps. Lisa Cutter and Shannon Bird. This legislation would afford better protections for free speech and our right to “petition the government.”

For now, powerful or vindictive parties can level spurious charges and tie individuals up in court for years, taking their time and money, causing business uncertainty, and imposing financial duress.

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