Email letters, April 20, 2012

Heritage Bill undermines long-standing protections

Recently, the House of Representatives passed the Sportsman Heritage Bill. Sounds like a great thing for all us hunters and anglers out there, right? Read it in its entirety and spend an hour or so Googling the actual meaning of the text. While some portions do benefit the hunting and angling communities, certain parts open the door to wholesale undermining of long-standing protections that have benefited those same sportsmen for decades.

Section 104(e) (1) in H.R. 4089 would open Wilderness Areas to motorized vehicles, helicopters, road building and any other tool that is used for hunting or fishing. This would undermine world-class hunting destinations such as the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana, the Frank Church Wilderness in Idaho, and Snowmass-Maroon Bells Wilderness right here in Colorado.

Section 104(e) (2) would allow industrial development of Wilderness areas. Activities such as logging and oil and gas drilling are inappropriate for our nation’s Wilderness areas. Also, there are problems with language under 104(1) (b) and 104(1) (c) that would prohibit adequate NEPA review of management decisions. It would actually result in less hunting opportunity.

In reality, expanding wilderness protection for public lands enhances hunting and fishing and our economy and quality of life. Unfortunately, today only 5 percent of Colorado is designated wilderness. And only 2.5 percent of the lower 48 is protected as wilderness. Although OHV (and other) groups constantly oppose wilderness protection on access grounds, only 8 percent of the National Forest acreage in Colorado lies beyond one mile of a road (only 4 percent for BLM lands.)

The hunting and fishing heritage and the ability to feed our families that we currently enjoy should not be taken for granted. Don’t let covert assaults on that heritage destroy it, despite sympathetic sounding names.

BOB SHETTEL
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Redstone

So some dude, protected, of course, gave some 18 photographs taken two years ago in Afghanistan of lower-ranking enlisted men posing for their friends. Two years ago. those images are not unlike the photograph of the Vietnamese girl running naked and crying down a street in a “land God forgot”  Nobody seems remember who took the photo, but the image is there.

Now we know there were at least two separate incidents. Both seem to involve a single unit of the 82nd Airborne the charge is these photographs are evidence of a breakdown in leadership and in discipline?
I have seen several articles none offer evidence supporting these charges. The liberals back here and within the leadership, i.e Gen. Allen — and Leon Panetta — even the Ambassador Crocker all responded like Marcus Luttrell in Lone Survivor published in 2007 of action involving the Navy SEALS in Afghanistan. Luttrells advice — pp312-313 of Lone survivor is sound.

If you don’t want a war where things go wrong, stay home.The photographs were taken. They show staged events. Young men deployed to a place that ought scare the crap out of any civilian. Where death is common and they are expected to show they are not afraid of death. The enemy the Muslims will use these — or try to to recruit ignorant and useful idiots. But the New York Times and all those newspapers and network news sources that have used this to sell papers are like the soldier who played the role of that guy who did the Wikileaks thing. These and not so much the young men who posed with dead enemy are the ones I am angry with.

ROBERT JAMES BURKHOLDER
Fruita

Legal gun ownership helps keep crime rates low

Jim Ciha in his letter April 18 rightfully suggests we supporters of the Second Amendment put forth better arguments for gun ownership. He cites the thousands of gun deaths vs. self defense lives saved and, as far as that thinking goes, he appears to have a point. But he doesn’t go far enough with the comparison.

Every year many gun owners owe their lives and those of their loved ones to their weapons and their courage to use them against criminal threat of death or bodily harm. And yes, guns, like knives, clubs, axes and frying pans, are at hand in many domestic fatalities, too. There are accidental gunshot fatalities and lawful deaths at the hands of law enforcement. Their are hunting deaths, too. At best, these deaths might number in the low hundreds, however, every year many thousands of innocent and not so innocent people die at the hands of criminals who illegally possess guns.

All states and the federal government have gun laws they cannot enforce against these criminals. It’s just too overwhelming, too big of a task. A much easier target is gun ownership by lawful citizens and to this end Obama and the liberal Democratic establishment has dedicated itself. The national media often headlines stories of gun deaths and alls for the destruction of the Second Amendment. Rarely does the media headline the private citizen who courageously defends his home or the lives of others with his legally owned weapon and call for an armed citizenry.

In all cases where guns were removed from private hands (Australia, for example) crimes against persons and property skyrocketed. In placed where lawful citizens are well armed, crime goes down. It’s a fact. The National Rifle Association will supply anyone with accurate, unbiased, verifiable statistics and case studies of these events. The NRA will also provide anyone with information to correct the lies, false statistics, spins and other propaganda put out by the anti-gun advocates. All you need to do is ask.

I encourage all decent citizens to join the NRA, buy a handgun, take classes in gun safety, gun use and the laws relating to gun ownership. Your local gun store will provide you with information about these NRA approved classes. Or would you rather trust your government to protect you against harm?

TOM STREFF
Grand Junction

Oil and gas drilling not a good match with small farms

The op ed piece about oil and gas leasing in the North Fork of the Gunnison recently was a testament to the rural spirit being alive and well in the towns of Crawford, Hotchkiss and Paonia. The rural community here values going to public meetings. They turn out to hear, for example, about micro-hydro irrigation potential or natural beef cooperative opportunities because they are eager to learn how diverse land-based businesses can stay profitable when much of the rest of rural America has a tough time.

Lately, however, the meetings are about how potential oil and gas leases will affect their valley. North Fork residents have provided the BLM with informed written comments based on knowledge that comes from working hard to make this landscape fit their businesses and lifestyles.

Oil and gas development is not a fit. Even the perception of the threat of air and water pollution jeopardizes the Grand Valley’s contributions to Colorado’s food system. Our customers want pure food from a non-industrialized valley.

The small, family farms that exist here do not need more challenges, especially the truck traffic, dust and ozone pollution, and water pollution their counterparts in Wyoming, New Mexico and now back East are experiencing. The BLM needs to withdraw these leases so these rural communities can get back to their work of fostering innovative ways of maintaining their land and their livelihoods.

MARK WALTERMIRE
VOGA President
ASHLEY KREST
Graduate of the Colorado Ag. And Rural Leadership Program (class I)
Paonia

Profit is essential in any industry

It seems in today’s world, it is a sin or a crime to earn money in life or in a business. Some people think if the oil companies post huge profits, they’re wrong in doing business. These huge profits are most generally put back into exploration land titles, lease holding and the list goes on.

I operate a small, one-man consulting firm. I’m in it to profit. If I wasn’t making a profit, then I would probably be out of business in less then a year. So as far as people attacking industry and individuals for what profits they have made, they should go into business and not make any profit and see how long they last

CURT CLAUSSEN
Grand Junction

Where’s the outrage over our lack of a federal budget

After reading the editorial on recently about the Senate not passing a budget for the third year in a row (1,086 days now), and giving Sen. Conrad credit for trying, I had to pause and laugh to stay sane. The fact that the majority leader Harry Reid and the rest of the Democratic senators will not even vote on a budget, because it is an election year, is the definition of insane.

States, businesses, non profits, and households all have to work within a budget. Republicans did pass a budget and our president presented a budget to Congress that was voted on and rejected by both parties. The fact that Paul Ryan’s budget would not of been accepted by Harry Reid or the president is irrelevant, the Senate has a duty to pass their version of a budget, and the two houses then are required to compromise on their differences in conference.

What is even more disturbing, is that the media, the supposed fourth wing of our government, is not shouting from the mountain tops everyday about this, and holding Harry Reid’s feet to the fire. What a joke we have in Washington, and with our supposedly neutral press.

GARY BAILEY
Western Slope Conservative Alliance President
Grand Junction

Health clinic costs the school district more

The recent article about the School District 51 health clinic saving money is misleading. The headline reads the clinic is saving District 51 money, yet the District ended up paying over $22,000 in March to the clinic for health services for their employees and dependents. Those services would have cost the District employees over $44,000. So it is the employees that are saving money, not the district.

In fact the District spent over $22,000 more than they would have spent under the previous system. At this rate the District will spend over $260,000 more this year for health care paid to fund operation of this clinic.

With the district laying off teachers and cutting programs, this is an unnecessary expense. The district could have simply changed their benefit plan to allow their employees and dependents to see their usual primary care doctor for the same low cost as the clinic.

This model is disrupting long-standing relationships patients have had with their personal physicians and will ultimately cost School District 51, and ultimately taxpayers, more in the long run.

GREGORY REICKS
Grand Junction

 



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