Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Peace is at hand! Peace is at hand!

After years of hearing that a breakthrough was imminent in the seemingly endless water war between Colorado Springs and Pueblo over the SDS pipeline project, only to be disappointed, I now believe it's possible.

Why? Because the Pueblo Chieftain is bitter: editorial.

The paper's editorial page has been a tenacious -- and that might be an understatement -- critic of both the pipeline project and Colorado Springs, serving as a major obstacle to mutual understanding, fair negotiations and cooperation on the ground. And the fact that it seems to be conceding defeat, at least on permitting for the pipeline, is the strongest evidence I've seen that a bona fide breakthrough is at hand.

More study is needed before we can know for certain how much in "concessions" Colorado Springs gave up in order to gain (or is it "buy") the support of Pueblo city, county and water board officials. My suspicion, based on the stories I've seen in the Chieftain -- and the reference in today's editorial to having "squeezed about as many concessions as possible from Colorado Springs Utilities" -- is that Pueblo's cooperation isn't coming cheap. Maybe this will be the subject of a later blog post.

But Colorado Springs Utilities nonetheless deserves credit for persevering in the face of so many obstacles -- many of which were erected by The Chieftain's pit bull-like editorial page.

That a paper's prerogative, of course. There's something admirable about tenacity in defending one's position. And I always had a grudging respect for the way the Chieftain held its ground, even when I believed it was slowing the project, costing CSU ratepayers a lot of money and poisoning relations between cities that should be better partners. But perhaps we'll see a tempering of tone if the permitting is approved and the project moves forward.

The Chieftain will continue to watchdog the project, no doubt. That's as it should be. But maybe with a little less of its biting and snarling, the two cities can heal their divisions and move forward on some mutually-beneficial endeavors.

Peace between Pueblo and Colorado Springs? It now seems possible. Maybe there's hope yet for settling that Arab-Israeli thing.

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