Great news everybody, Mike Littwin is still writing. The former Rocky Mountain News legend known for his rumpled look, up yours attitude, and call ‘em as he sees ‘em style continues to practice his fine art over at the Colorado Independent. (I know, it’s so easy to forget they’re over there…)
I’ve always been impressed by how accurately Littwin calls balls and strikes in the world of Colorado politics, and his recent piece summarizing the Great Colorado Fracking Wars Compromise was no exception.
I know many liberals are discontent with the compromise. I certainly have a hard time swallowing a “deal” that Frank McNulty boasts is a “victory.”
And I know some of Jared Polis’s constituents were upset enough to protest and call him a sell-out. Which is, of course, stupid. Jared was, and probably still is, the best, if not only, hope the anti-fracking crowd has in their long-shot battle to stop fracking. It’s here to stay people, whether you like it or not. Don’t be like the Republican Taliban. Get over it.*
Governor John Hickenlooper – labeled Lucky John by Littwin – is an upbeat and hardworking pro. He knows you create your own luck.
Give the guv some credit here. The fracking compromise was a brilliant move from a purely political standpoint. And it never hurts to reassure the business community.
The bottom line is this – while the outcome of those anti-fracking initiatives was hard to forecast, there was no doubt that the oil and gas industry was poised to pour millions of dollars into Colorado, and not just for TV, but for an Obama-style GOTV effort. And that would not have helped any Dems on the ballot, including important races like Senator Mark Udall, which could be the balance of power in the US Senate, Andrew Romanoff, one of the few pick-ups the national party realistically has a shot at in the US House, and, of course, the Governor’s race. Where Lucky John just created some more good luck for himself.
As for Congressman Polis, you have to respect the fact that he was gearing up for a fight shaping up to be Jared Polis v. The World. Yes, he’s safe in his liberal district with Boulder at its heart. But Jared has larger ambitions – as he should – and he really took a bold and somewhat risky stance here. He got the lawsuit dropped against the city of Longmont, which will save the taxpayers there countless thousands, no small sum for a small town. Most of all, he showed us he’s unafraid. Jared Polis is one of Colorado’s best Democrats. All true blue liberals owe him a huge thanks.
* I don’t want this to be a post about fracking. I’ve been accused before of being a pro-oil Republican dressed as a Dem for not being all-in on the anti-fracking movement. Let me be clear – I think the idea of smashing up the Earth to save a few pennies per BTU is somewhere between risky and lunacy. Also, the amount of water they use is unimaginable. And they can’t leave it down there – it would only further increase the risk of earthquakes. So when they bring the water up it’s poisoned and has nowhere to go. Again, risky to lunacy. Fracking certainly feels shortsighted and unsustainable.
But it’s here to stay. At least until they’ve fracked it all up. It creates jobs, and believe it or not, the people who work those jobs aren’t gun toting criminals. They may own firearms, but they’re good honest people, just like those of us who oppose fracking. They have families, they pay taxes, and I refuse to refer to people who work in the oil and gas industry as “the enemy.” That’s stupid. Friends and neighbors is more like it.
We have to pick our battles. Natural gas is 50% “better” (less worse is more accurate) than coal on CO2, and something like 100% better on mercury emissions. My numbers here are rough, not scientific, but the point is made. We need energy, and natural gas is better than coal. It’s better than gasoline too. Electric motors can’t propel 18 wheelers over your standard issue Rocky Mountain. Natural gas can, making it the perfect complement to a primarily electric car nation. Which is where we need to go. Electricity that can be generated by renewable sources like solar and wind with, as a stabilizing supplier, natural gas.
Now, I realize the ballot initiatives were about local control. Those ballot initiatives could have passed, and if nothing more happened, if no locality passed any new laws, nothing would have changed. In other words, the initiatives themselves weren’t the threat, just the possible repercussions. But it certainly would have put the legal department of any oil and gas company into overdrive. And they were gonna fight tooth nail first to keep the status quo certainty any business prefers. And that would have made this election even worse for us Dems. We’re already in choppy seas here. We didn’t need this.