Come, Exploit, Leave

I’ve resided in Longmont since 1986; in the same house north of Lake McIntosh. My kids have gone to school at Hygiene and Westview; with one now at Niwot.

I’m also an avid skier, to put it mildly; my wife would tell you it is more like addicted. So, I’m am keenly aware of the situation in the central Colorado mountains (Summit county especially) in the winters.

One excellent source for information about the snow pack in Colorado is the “snotel” site maintained by the Department of Agriculture folks in Lakewood – Snowpack Summary graph. It is one ski industry standard sources of data about the status of the snowpack in the state. It is updated every federal business day.

I had the April 17th graph. It showed the average, that of last year (which was a record big snowfall,) and that of this year – which is a record small snowfall. The percentage of normal, as of that date, was 40%.

Since then, that has fallen to something in the 25% to 27% range. That situation has already triggered Denver Water to issue restrictions. Boulder might soon. I know a City of Ft Collins planner who is very concerned about the impact in Larimer county.

In considering the regulation of fracking, which consumes significant amounts of water, the availability of water is a major concern!

From year to year, now days, it seems that the variability in snow pack, and so water, has become large; frighteningly so Some years may be OK, a few great, and some, like the snow season we just didn’t really have.

It is really kind of like a flood plain risk. In the case of water, what are the odds of two or three tiny years in a row? At what point is there not enough water for the residents, and everybody the City of Longmont water servers?

Who knows, Longmont itself may well have to end up going on water restrictions before the summer out. This could, sadly, get fairly ugly quickly.

The other point I made to Council was that Longmont is home to major high tech companies; it has been since IBM moved in down The Diagonal in the 1965. If the situation with the water is adversely impacted by fracking, that is not good. If the fracking causes air pollution that ruins the quality of life, that is not good(!) Part of what makes Longmont very desirable to high tech is the quality of life here; it is both a brand, and a lived reality.

Longmont could end up trading a set of long term, high paying jobs for a set of temporary, not that high paying jobs.  (and make no mistake, the oil industry is a “come, exploit, leave” kind of deal!)

That’s would be a simply stupid choice!

  1 comment for “Come, Exploit, Leave

    May 8, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    You got the slogan wrong. It’s “rape, ruin, and run.” The 3 R’s. Perhaps we’ll finally learn whether Americans’ cars mean more to them than drinking, eating, or breathing. I wouldn’t bet against that Jeep if I were you. The only thing that might come close is the cell phone. If Apple could make one that is edible, voila! There we’d have it!

    You are so right about tech companies. Longmont gained one job each ten days during the first quarter of this year. If the “atmosphere” (by this I don’t mean air quality) is ruined for a sickeningly long time, to what might the citizens who stay point as the catalyst for Longmont’s demise? And where would the money gained at the expense of that city then be?

    No wonder Rick Perry thought he could be President. It all seems so easy.

    I recommend watching an old Spencer Tracy/Clark Gable movie about oil booms and busts. It’s called “Boom Town.” Then think again of the REAL “Three R’s.”

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