On July 22, 2017, friends of Kaye Fissinger gathered in Longmont, Colorado, to celebrate her life, her legacy and her lasting impact on those who were lucky enough to know her. To honor Kaye, we wanted to recognize her powerful, visionary and invaluable contributions to the movement to ban fracking in Colorado, and across the country.
We first got to know and work closely with Kaye when she took the lead on running the historic ballot measure to ban fracking in Longmont, Colorado, the first such measure in the state. Those who knew Kaye, especially her opponents working on behalf of the oil and gas industry, knew that she was a fearless leader and an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. This unprecedented and historic fight garnered national media attention and ignited the movement to ban fracking across the rest of the state. Though the Longmont ban has since been reversed due to the political maneuvering of Governor Hickenlooper and his friends on the Colorado Supreme Court, it held off fracking in Longmont for nearly four years, and along with the campaign to ban fracking in New York, helped make fracking a national issue.
With a long-term vision to always think big, fight hard and never compromise, Kaye became one of the founders of Americans Against Fracking in 2012 -- a small group of activists that grew into a national coalition with over 300 organizational members calling for a ban on fracking. Whether it was speaking up at city council meetings, testifying at legislative committee hearings, holding elected officials accountable or leading bi-weekly coalition calls, Kaye was one of the most fierce and active advocates for protecting our air, water, land, health and safety from the harms of oil and gas development. Anyone who worked closely with Kaye knows that she was a brilliant strategist, had an unwavering sense of justice, and did not shy away from pressuring those who were unwilling to step up to join the fight. Kaye’s commitment and dedication to the work was never more apparent than when she continued to participate in coalition calls, and found ways to support the movement, even while battling cancer. Yet through it all, Kaye always remained a sweet, loving and generous soul.
At a time when we mourn her loss, and as the Senate is attempting to pass a big dirty energy bill that would promote gas exports and fast-track the approval of more pipelines, we have no doubt about what Kaye would be doing right now. She’d be giving Senators Bennett and Gardner hell, she’d be mobilizing communities across the Front Range of Colorado, and she’d be calling on the larger environmental groups to not sit on the sidelines and to join her and her grassroots allies in the fight to protect our planet.
Kaye’s voice will always be missed, but her leadership and ability to touch the lives of those that knew her will ensure that her life will continue to have a lasting impact as we continue to build these movements in her memory. Her contributions will never be forgotten, her legacy will always live on, and we will always be forever grateful. If you can, please contribute to the Kaye Fissinger Memorial Fund here.