Democrat State Senators Mary Hodge and Lois Tochtrop, two respected voices who have urged their party to moderate after turning hard left in 2013, effectively dismantled the arguments made by Cliff Willmeng and the anti-oil and gas wing of the Democratic Party in The Denver Post yesterday afternoon.

ICYMI, Willmeng and liberal Boulder Congressman Jared Polis have been the chief spokespersons against hydraulic fracturing in Colorado.  With The Denver Post‘s environmental coverage reading more like a radical enviro pamphlet of anti-oil and gas propaganda, Willmeng and Polis’ demagoguery has been good for plenty of headlines.

But there is more to the story.

In their op-ed, Hodge and Tochtrop actually stare-down the Willmeng-Polis wing of the Democratic Party.  Wait for it, the two Senators actually argue that oil and gas development is something other than evil. An excerpt:

Few issues in our state need a common-sense approach more than energy policy. Unfortunately, some in the public discourse have lost sight of the vital role that oil and gas plays in a balanced energy policy, and the unequivocal fact that Colorado has passed — and continues to develop — the toughest, most comprehensive, and environmentally protective energy regulations in the country.

Unfortunately, some are now distorting the facts in order to push aside the common-sense, statewide framework of oil and gas regulation and replace it with a crazy quilt of regulations that vary widely from one community to the next. A group of respected business leaders recently called this demand for a patchwork approach to regulation “an invitation to regulatory chaos.” We agree.

If we refuse to see the vital benefits of responsible oil and gas development, we won’t. If we can continue to produce natural gas safely, and if natural gas is the cleanest, most effective form of back-up power for wind and solar, why on earth wouldn’t we embrace a sensible approach to natural gas development in this state? The truth is, we should and we are.

…As this debate moves forward, we believe policymakers should keep their eyes on the prize: a balanced and common-sense energy policy. We join business leaders across Colorado who support a consistent, comprehensive, statewide approach to energy regulation as the best means to secure public safety, protection of our environment, and a predictable business climate.

There is an important public policy issue to discuss here.

Mr. Polis, exactly how do you expect us to keep the lights on when the sun isn’t out?  We know you hate coal, and since about all natural gas is now developed through fracking, how would you propose we back up wind turbines when the wind isn’t blowing?  (Idiot.)

But, the political question for Democrats is, will they be the party of sensible moderation – the party of Mary Hodge and Lois Tochtrop?  Or, will they be the party of Cliff Willmeng and Rep. Jared Polis, a party of environmental quacks attacking the jobs of working families that Democrats used to claim to represent?

With the matter headed to the ballot this year, Democrats up and down the ballot will be forced to choose — Willmeng or Hodge, Polis or Tochtrop?  In time, we will know where everyone from Mark Udall to the Democratic candidate for dog catcher comes down.