by Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As Appearing in the Daily Sentinel
Is the Western Slope paranoid? During the decade I served as president of Club 20, I was often confronted by Front Range leaders accusing us of unfounded distrust.
“No one here is ignoring the Western Slope,” they assured us. We encountered the same charge in Washington, D.C., when a top federal official said, “You always act like the poor picked-on stepchildren.” Once even a California official told Club 20’s board, “The Western Slope always thinks someone’s trying to steal its water.” The accusation of paranoia was so common that I had a standard response: “Well, we have long memories.”
Western Colorado leaders have spent generations defending their interests against threats from elsewhere. It’s not that state and national leaders dislike our region (they often include beautiful West Slope pictures in their own tourism promotions). It’s just that people generally put their own interests first. Realistically, we must acknowledge that rural and urban interests often differ significantly. Should decisions be based on population or land area? On the supply of water or the demand for water? On miles of road or traffic counts?