Written by Dominic Dezzutti

I am proud to say that this week marks my five year anniversary of becoming a blogger for CBS4. The station asked me if I would like to blog about politics and the experiences of a debate producer in 2008, and ever since then, I’ve been humbled by the different people who have read and commented on my entries.

I cannot say if my writing has improved over the last five years, but I can say that I have learned quite a bit about Colorado and how politics in our state tend to work in my time as a blogger.

One of the most important lessons I have learned about the political scene in Colorado is that like our weather, scenes may change quickly, but an overall routine becomes fairly predictable.

In a nutshell, if you wait long enough, everything old becomes new again.

The best example of this idea this week is what is happening around the flood damaged oil and gas wells in northern Colorado. At the time of this writing, 10 oil and gas wells have been reported as damaged and have leaked into the environment.

The reaction to this significant issue has shown that Colorado is still struggling with the same issues surrounding energy and the environment.

On the one hand, this is definitely a significant environmental problem. However, some environmental and anti-fracking activists have reacted as if this is an historic environmental catastrophe. This overreaction will not serve their side of the debate well.

The facts are that two large oil spills have spilled nearly 20,000 gallons of oil into two different rivers at this point. That is indeed a big deal. However, the reaction to the problem has been more about fracking and possible contamination from fracking sites, which hasn’t been reported at all.

Making the situation about fracking when it’s really about something completely different doesn’t advance the fracking argument and mutes the other important issues.

On the other hand, the fact that it has taken so long to find out if there are more problems with oil and natural gas wells shows that many Coloradans may not quite understand just how committed our state is to the oil and gas industry.

I think most people may have figured that Weld County has a high number of wells. But I know I was surprised to learn that Weld County has over 20,000 well sites. When you consider that Boulder, Broomfield and Larimer counties have less than 700 wells combined, you can see that number in Weld is significant.

We cannot pretend that the oil and gas industry’s growth in Colorado doesn’t matter and as citizens of this great state, we must stay aware of what that impact may mean to all of us. We cannot afford to simply ignore it or take it for granted.

So, like it has been since the first coal mine was dug over one hundred years ago, energy and environmental politics in Colorado remains complicated. Whether it is an overreaction on one side, or an under appreciation for the true impact on the other, oil and natural gas issues are a long way from finding a true middle ground.

I imagine that when people far smarter than I are writing about politics in Colorado fifty years from now, there will be fresh energy issues complicating the political scene. We can be optimistic that we might figure it out by then, but if the past is any type of guide, we’ll likely be just as polarized as we’ve ever been.

About The Blogger

– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here usually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.


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