FEEDBACK: Requiem for a lobbyist; water, and more

Author: Dan Njegomir - October 19, 2017 - Updated: October 20, 2017

Legendary Colorado lobbyist Wally Stealey on his farm in Nicaragua. (Photo courtesy Morgan Smith)

Wally Stealey’s last roll call

Thank you for your coverage on the passing of Wally Stealey.  I’m one of the last, standing partners who worked closely with Wally in his practice.  As you report, Wally is famous for his efforts to launch many a politician, and even played a pivotal role in the career of Ted Trimpa.  Not just a king maker, Wally shaped Colorado’s legal fabric — perhaps more than any elected official.  Here’s a short list of some of his work:

  • Eliminated the Front Range “Brown Cloud” by advocating the U.S.’s first mandate of ethanol fuels.
  • Small and independent banks were protected in Colorado — the last state to adopt branch banking.
  • Helped reverse a Federal Court Order to ensure an environmentally sound clean-up of the Idarado Mine, effectively preventing a “Gold King” style disaster between Ouray and Telluride.
  • Established independent liquor stores’ exclusive right to sell wine and alcohol.
  • Blocked numerous attempts on the part of developers like Marvin Davis to siphon public funds for spurious real estate schemes, and preserved the Colorado Convention Center and Union Station.
  • Assisted establishing the Cherry Creek Mall.
  • Conceived the creation of a national coalition of mining communities that stopped EPA’s environmental red-lining, and brought (some) rationality to the agency’s lead policies.
  • Helped run one of the only campaigns in the history of the U.S. that defeated a proposed tax increase on tobacco.
  • Orchestrated the only successful override of a gubernatorial veto since WWII, creating the Colorado Lottery and over $2.5 billion for parks and recreation, and over $0.5 billion for state construction projects and schools.

In retrospect, one way or the other, we’ve all been “students” of Wally Stealey.

Mark Gibson


Water: Conservation alone won’t cut it

Every candidate running for governor on either side of the political spectrum talks about actively working to grow the economy in rural Colorado.

I appreciate that and the attention to our future.

However, unless you’re willing to actively support the Northern Integrated Supply Project and about six more just as big, your words ring hollow.

Colorado expects to add another 2.4 million people to our state by 2050.  We are adding nearly 100,000 a year.  I’m all for water conservation, but you can’t conserve your way to enough water for a state population of 8 million.

If we don’t build more water storage soon, all the farms in eastern Colorado will be dried up and the rural economy with them.

Greg Brophy
Former state senator from Wray, CO


68.7 million missed opportunities

The Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust settlement offers Colorado a golden opportunity to deliver significant nitrogen oxide (NOx) emission reductions. But the Department of Public Health Environment’s plan ignores the greatest good this $68.7 million cash infusion could accomplish.

By excluding diesel technology and minimizing funding for equipment and locomotives, Colorado’s VW Settlement plan means Coloradans won’t get the most clean air for their dollar, and won’t get it very fast either.

A myopic focus on electrification asks Coloradans to place a bet on clean air benefits at some future point based on the promise of technologies not widely available or not available at all. The result: communities forced to endure higher NOx emissions and ozone levels, waiting another five, 10, 15 years or more for cleaner air.

Which contributes more to air quality: one passenger car at 15,000 miles/year or a delivery truck traveling 60,000+ miles/year? Large-engine sources account for 32% of Colorado’s NOx emissions. Plus, the U.S. EPA says one ton of NOx may be eliminated by investing, on average, $20,000 in clean diesel technology versus $1,000,000 in alternative fuel infrastructure.

Colorado should take the funds and invest in the cost-effective solution that immediately reduces NOx emissions: clean diesel.

Allen Schaeffer
Diesel Technology Forum, Washington, DC


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Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.