Schrader: Anti-fracking activist’s Facebook post is not libel

The Denver Post: Social media has become a dumping ground of falsehoods and fake news intended to persuade or enrage, so when a Texas-based oil and gas company files suit against a Colorado environmental activist over an erroneous comment on Facebook, it’s a dispute worthy of examination.

First, here’s the post that sparked a lawsuit from the owners of SG Interests, an oil and gas company operating in western Colorado:

“While SGI alleges ‘collusion’ let us recall that it, SGI, was actually fined for colluding (with Gunnison Energy Corporation) to rig bid prices and rip off American taxpayers. Yes, these two companies owned by billionaires thought it appropriate to pad their portfolios at the expense of you and I and every other hard-working American.”

Paonia resident Peter Kolbenschlag wrote that comment on a news story that had been posted on Facebook by the Post Independent. The story was about the 2016 decision by the Bureau of Land Management to cancel leases SGI had purchased in the Thompson Divide. After the decision was made, SGI accused the Obama administration of colluding with environmentalists for a predetermined outcome and filed suit to stop the cancellations.

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