E-mail letters, Aug 5, 2010

Water estimates will drop
as oil shale technology improves

Thank you to The Daily Sentinel for the recent article on oil shale. It shows that water-use
estimates for oil shale continue to drop as companies invest in research and new technologies.

It is a fact: Oil shale production will use water, and water is a huge issue here in the Intermountain West.

The new study mentioned in the article estimates needing about 1.7 barrels of water for
every barrel of shale oil. Previous estimates were as high as 3 to 7 barrels of water per barrel of oil. There are even some companies now developing technologies that use almost no water.

As we debate oil shale in America, we need to keep in mind that companies will continue to invest in technologies that will use less water. So, it should be safe to assume that water-use
estimates for oil shale will continue to drop. We also need to keep in mind that the study discussed in the article assumes a 1.5 million barrel-per-day oil shale industry. That would be a large industry that, today, would make us about 25 percent less dependent on imported oil.

However, this size of industry will not come into existence overnight. It will start small and develop in a slow and methodical manner. Even if we started today, getting to the point that we are producing 1.5 million barrels per day would likely take a couple of decades. In those years, research will continue, new technologies will be developed, and new water-saving techniques will be deployed.

It is becoming clear that water for oil shale can be managed. Now, the question has changed
into whether we should use a portion of our water to decrease our dependence on foreign oil. Only you can decide.
Curtis Moore, Executive Director
Environmentally Conscious Consumers for Oil Shale
Grand Junction

Locals made things better
during a difficult visit

A card of thanks to people we met on our recent visit to your beautiful city of Grand Junction while our brother, Ralph Romero, was at Saint Mary’s Hospital ICU.

Not only the doctors and nurses were performing exceptional duties in this best of hospitals, but we from out of town extend appreciation to the hospital’s security manager, Corey, for his friendly help to locate parking and showing us the way to ICU unit.

Also, special thanks to Clarion Inn Receptionist, Deb and the staff, who graciously helped not only us but all the Romero family from out of town. They made our stay very pleasant and
A. Gene and Patty Vigil

McCain appearance drives
voter away from Norton

As a conservative Independent, I often vote Republican by default. Such was not the case in 2008 when I could not in good conscience vote for John McCain.

I read in The Daily Sentinel that McCain will stump for Jane Norton in Grand Junction. If there was ever an example of a RHINO who is the antithesis of tea party sentiment, it has to be John McCain.

Thank you, Republicans. In your primary, I now can vote for non-establishment candidates with certainty. And please, save the lecture. Democrats may be unacceptable, but wolves in sheep’s clothing are worse.
Dana Isham
Grand Junction

Will we hold parents, students
as accountable as teachers?

I just read in the Aug. 5 Daily Sentinel that School District 51 will be formulating goals for improving instruction and meeting student achievement goals within the next five years.
In the article, it said that the School Board members suggested during a retreat Tuesday that a “non-negotiable” list for teachers should include items such as making sure all students can demonstrate basic math and read at a level appropriate for their intended career when they graduate.

My question is, “Would the responsibility of making sure all students are at the same level at graduation fall on the high school teachers, or all the teachers along the way?”

As a veteran educator here in the valley (primarily the east end) I feel I need to educate people on the realities of a typical classroom.

First, all kids do not come out of the same mold, learning and achieving the same way at the same time. My fourth-grade classes consistently started off the year with achievement levels varying from first-grade abilities to sixth-grade abilities. I differentiated my teaching accordingly and everyone grew, but they did not all magically achieve proficiency in fourth-grade subjects at the end of the year, as measured by the CSAP.
I like the analogy of comparing kid’s academic level to climbing the Grand Mesa. At the beginning of the year, my students are not magically at the same elevation. Some have to start off in Palisade. Others come in further along and get to start from Collbran or Mesa. The year I have these kids, the kids that started in Mesa make it all the way to Skyway (let’s say that is
where NCLB, CSAP, and the politicians say they should all be). Meanwhile, I am celebrating because my Palisade kids made it all the way to Powderhorn. They actually gained more elevation than the kids that started in Mesa. I should be punished because they didn’t all make it to the top? We hiked during the summer, and some even got extra help but still didn’t make it.

The problem is accountability. Research in the 1960s said retention was bad for kids, lowered self-esteem, increased drop-out rate, etc. I wonder what the research says about kids comparing themselves to their classmates year after year.

When I was growing up, the fear of retention motivated kids and their parents to encourage learning in the home as well as school. As it is now, everyone wants to blame the teachers.
All kids and families are different.

Teachers differentiate and individualize instruction all year according to the needs of a child.
Testing all of them with one measure at the end of the year (CSAP) and expecting them all to be at the same place is insane. All it has done is stressed everyone involved to the point where education is not fun anymore.
How about some “non-negotiables” for students and parents?
Gary Conklin
Grand Junction


Romanoff is not beholden
to any special interests

Not all members of Congress are bums, but since they only have an 11 percent approval rating, 89 percent probably fit that category and need to be retired. As one currently serving U. S. congressman put it, “We are all incompetent and who are the 11 percent which think we are doing a good job?” Must be relatives.

The biggest problem is they cannot vote their conscience because they have sold out to special interests. The drug companies, the big banks, the oil companies, etc., contribute billions for one reason only, to buy their vote.

Andrew Romanoff, who is running in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, has pledged not to accept money from PACs. Michael Bennet, on the other hand, who has been in the Senate for less than two years, has already received over $1 million from PACs. That includes $617,000 from the banking industry.

Sen. Bennet voted for the recently passed bank-reform bill. This bill, for the most part, has been approved by the banking industry and does nothing to correct the causes of the 2008 economic collapse. In fact, experts who have reviewed this bill stated that even if it had been in effect in 2008, it would not have prevented the collapse of our banking system and it will not prevent the next one.

Speculation in derivatives and credit default swaps and leverage of bank capital (30 or 40 to one) creating huge debt were two principal causes of the 2008 economic collapse. Under the bank reform bill, the big banks can continue this practice. It should be noted that members of the Senate Finance Committee, of which Bennet is a member, received over $41 million from the banking industry.

This is the question: Do you want a U.S. senator beholden to special interests or one who is independent of the lobbyists? Sen. Bennet is part of the problem, not the solution.

We need a senator who will be part of the solution. That is Andrew Romanoff. He deserves your vote.
Bill Barnes
New Castle





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