E-mail letters, Feb. 21, 2011

Salazar shows he doesn’t
really support oil shale

On Feb. 15, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that his department and the BLM will be taking a “fresh look” at oil shale regulations. Disturbingly, he gave no timeline for starting or completing this review. He further went on to say there was no urgency to this new review, because commercial production was still many years away. Many, including pro-energy Reps. Scott Tipton, R-Colo. and Jim Matheson, D-Utah, were highly critical of Salazar’s announcement.

A few years ago, research into oil shale advanced steadily under Bush Administration policies. Six research, demonstration and development leases were offered in Colorado and Utah. Draft regulations were issued. These actions offered energy companies a path to turn their research investments into commercial production, as long as they met strict
environmental standards. In other words, companies were given some “regulatory certainty.” A second round of RD&D leases were in the works when President Bush left office.

Enter President Obama and Secretary Salazar. The second round of RD&D leases were withdrawn. The draft regulations were repealed, and are now being given a “fresh look” at some undetermined future date. Not surprisingly, oil shale research and development on BLM lands have slowed considerably.

Companies have made huge progress in oil shale – including dramatic reductions in water usage, as was shown in a recent Colorado Water Conservation Board report. However, you cannot expect these companies to continue pouring money into oil shale research, when they see no light at the end of the tunnel.

Salazar claims he supports oil shale and wants to see research continue. However, actions speak louder than words. If he truly supports oil shale, he needs to give these companies some regulatory certainty.

Curtis Moore
Environmentally Conscious Consumers for Oil Shale
Grand Junction

Gorey story didn’t
belong on front page

After unfolding my Feb. 19 edition of The Daily Sentinel and scanning the front page, my reaction was that I had received a copy of MAD magazine by mistake.

The headline, “Climate a moral issue” seemed an appropriate “spoof” and the famous “cover boy” was pictured in an interview with NPR-but, wait-this wasn’t who I expected! The facial features and exaggerated hand gesture were similar, but it wasn’t Alfred E. Neuman. It was his counterpart, Albert A. Gore.

Since it’s been a slow news week, with the Wisconsin uprising, the ongoing threat of government shutdown and major congressional controversy over Obama’s budget proposal, the logical priority would be a feature a story worthy of front-page recognition with great readership interest. Instead, we subscribers were subjected to more of Gore, who was the keynote speaker at an Aspen symposium featuring several scientists as well as the expertise of Sen. Mark Udall and former Gov. Bill Ritter.
Discarding my priorities, I read Gore’s latest media propaganda release. Midway through the article, I learned meaningful insight from Gore, making my effort worthwhile. Explaining how climate change was responsible for the beetle infestations destroying our forests, Nobel Laureate Gore said other living creatures besides trees are responding to climate changes, citing the example that birds are changing their migration patterns by hundreds of miles.

His further explanation really documented his scientific reasoning, “Thousands of species are reacting to this new reality that we have created on the planet. These animals with bird brains really know what is going on.”
Well, if it takes a “bird brain” to understand “what is going on” count me out! And, I’m even “further out” when it comes to an Aspen Gore symposium with scientists, Udall, Ritter and National Public Radio. I am refusing to be dumbed down,
Richard Doran

Unlike President Obama,
Hickenlooper is a leader

I applaud our new governor because he has cut the big-money items, education and
Medicaid, in his proposed budget. This is the exact opposite of our president, who refuses to address these items in his proposed budget because doing so is not politically correct.

The president would be well advised to take a lesson from several of the newly-elected governors on how to lead, which is to take some positive action rather than giving the same old speech on national TV every other day.
Jim Brown
Grand Junction

Wisconsin fight is crucial
for protecting unions

What’s happening in Wisconsin is so important!  People are exercising their inalienable rights to assemble peaceably and to speak their minds without threat of retaliation.

Unions played an important role in the development of our country. Workers from various occupations helped form the unions and made it possible for us to have 40-hour work weeks, weekends off, minimum wage, overtime, vacations, sick leave, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, arbitration, mediation, negotiations and collective bargaining. Unions fought for the establishment of child-labor laws. Unions provide support and protection for their members. I shudder to think where this country would be without unions. 

The right wing’s attempt to bust the unions is appalling. It’s being done in the name of greed and electoral success, nothing more. Their hue and cry should be, “Screw the middle class.” Intrinsic in that hue and cry is “Screw the country!”

This country was built on the backs of the middle class. Corporations grew with the sweat of middle class workers.  President Dwight Eisenhower said, “Workers have a right to organize into unions and to bargain collectively with their employers.  And a strong, free labor movement is an invigorating and necessary part of our industrial society.” He also said, “Only a fool would try to deprive working men and women of their right to join the union of their choice.”

A wise man, he. Where are the real Republicans when you need them?

On another note: Those who find fault with providing breakfast for students affected by poverty and unemployment and who think that 30 cents a day is a pittance have obviously never been hungry, never wondered where their next meal was coming from, and never had to worry about how to pay for health care and other essentials of living.

Holly von Helms

Drug war has proved
to be abysmal failure

It is clear that the war on drugs is an abysmal failure. We are spending billions to no good effect.

Drug hardliners will argue that increasing seizures, as illustrated on The Daily Sentinel front page for Feb. 18, show that we are winning the war. It would be just as logical to argue that the figures show that drug running continues unabated

Sheriff Stan Hilkey guesses that he is catching less than 10 percent of the contraband transiting Interstate 70. The question then becomes, why not set up a checkpoint and collect the nine million we are missing? The local share would buy a bunch of swatmobiles and helicopters

Empowered by the Puritan ethic, an unholy alliance of local police, the feds, private prison promoters, gun traffickers and drug dealers have a vested interest in keeping the war going.

Remember, it’s a free country. If a guy wants to watch TV and become obese, fine. If a guy wants to be a couch potato and cook his brain, how is that any different?  Indeed, if he endangers his family or society at large, throw the book at him. A few years at hard labor would work wonders. Get Sheriff Joe from Arizona to run the program.
Jim Thayer
Grand Junction


Don’t trade our resources
for a ‘quick buck’

As the rhetoric heats up concerning a professional bike event in Colorado National Monument, the heavyweights are beginning to weigh in. It’s increasingly obvious that the nature of the “value” that many local and state leaders place on that parcel of real estate is vastly different than that which guides the National Park Service in its historic mission. The Park Service value is one combining access, education, recreation and preservation — each focused on the incomparable, biologic and physical landscape —rather than on events that have no relationship to it.

It is not surprising that many local leaders find fault with any proviso the Park Service would think appropriate in the interest of fulfilling its mission. For many of them, the Monument has never been about anything but ego and greed. If it fails to bring favorable notice or to stimulate the economy, what good is it?
For a specific sample of that mentality from outside the bike race fracas, consider the recent comment of a Club 20 member (reported in The Daily Sentinel Feb. 18), concerning a proposal to designate an area of wild land on a tract of West Slope, BLM-managed land.  In response to just one of the criteria for a wild land designation — “the opportunity for solitude and reflection” — Harry Peroulis responded, “What does that crap have to do with anything.”

As her contribution to help clarify Club 20’s thinking, former Club 20 Chairwoman Kathy Hall, characterized Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as “underhanded” for suggesting a wild land designation as part of a landscape conservation system.
And, with no less light than Denny Herzog criticizing the National Park Service for a decision not to provide a special use permit for a professional bike race, (following similar Sentinel editorials) it is clear that The Daily Sentinel’s sympathies lie with those who value the monument for what it can “produce” rather for its incomparable value to all Americans.

It’s value is not in tangibles, but in its past, present and future — if we can bring ourselves not to sell out to the highest bidder, or sacrifice whatever is asked, in exchange for the “thousands who will come, and spend” and leave the nation poorer, for our 15- minutes of fame.

Academic economists call it, “Maximization of present net worth.” Yankee peddlers called it, “The quick buck.”
K. Hancock
Grand Junction

Alzelmo following federal
rules in rejecting bike race

I read Denny Herzog’s Feb. 20 column in The Daily Sentinel regarding the Quiznos Challenge pro bike race. I can sure appreciate his interest in promoting Colorado National Monument. However he has, if you will pardon the pun, chosen the wrong “vehicle.”

The National Park Service policies, adopted in 2006 after national public involvement and 45,000 public comments, clearly state that a special event may be permitted “when there is a meaningful association between the park area and the event” and “when the event will contribute to visitor understanding of the park area.” The Quiznos pro bike race fails both of these criteria.

Moreover, Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which governs what occurs in all areas of the National Park System, requires that the Park Service deny permits for events that are “conducted primarily for the material or financial benefit of a for-profit entity; or awards participants an appearance fee or prizes of more than nominal value…”

When I read the Quiznos Pro Challenge tag line on it website — “60 miles an hour on one inch of rubber” — it was apparent what the pro race is looking for: maximum speed and thrill. All understandable for a commercial professional mega-sporting event that Quiznos is trying to host throughout Colorado. But it is not appropriate to take place in a national monument or a national park.
Superintendent Joan Anzelmo is simply implementing regulations and policy in denying the permit for a stage of the race to take place in Colorado National Monument. She has graciously offered the monument for a ceremonial lap by the racers without the attendant helicopters, small airplanes, and race-support vehicles that are part of the pro-race.

I hope the race organizers accept her offer. In his column, Herzog claims that he wants to avoid controversy. This would be a good step in that direction.
Rick Smith
Chair, Executive Council
Coalition of NPS Retirees
Tucson, Ariz.

Park Service seeks to
close lands to many

You can’t have it both ways. Our illustrious national monument superintendent is an
environmentalist. She is only interested in protecting the park from “us.”

She is one of a whole bunch who have been hired, including rangers and other park personnel in every so-called “public” park and on BLM ground. They treat the park system like it their own private land to play on, and everyone else is excluded unless they are backpackers or hikers.

National park and monument land, contrary to these people’s beliefs, are public lands,  and therefore are, by rights, for the public’s use and enjoyment. It is their job to find ways to manage these lands and safeguard them, but not turn them into non-use areas for the preservation of every critter, plant and tree that habitat them. That is for wilderness areas. So far they have managed to turn much of Colorado into wilderness. And still
they are not happy.

Utah’s BLM is trying to close thousands of acres of public lands that 75 percent of Utah’s residents have indicated they don’t want.

I have to agree with her decision not to have the bicycle race on the monument, however, because it will be a madhouse of TV crews, cranky bicyclists, cars, trucks, road closures, etc. Who needs it except the small population who ride bicycles?

Yes, I know the argument is that it will bring in thousands of tourist dollars. But do you really want all these environmental bike riders from Boulder? They will all want to move over here and then we will be known as the “Republic of Grand Junction”?

The politicians need to get busy and get us out of the financial mess we’re in instead of wasting precious time advocating bike races. Welcome to a Democratic state! Shades of Rome burning while Gov. Hickenlooper plays his violin.
Joan MacKenzie
Grand Junction


Democratic games over
legislation are nothing new

Why is everyone surprised at the Democrats fleeing Wisconsin rather than vote on a measure that they will lose on?

Of course they don’t have the advantages of our Congress, with its one-person control. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, for over four years, have refused to bring to the floor many votes when they think they cannot get their agenda passed.


Science fair article
should have included results

Thanks for the article about the science fair. But where are the science fair results? Those kids work as hard on their projects as a swimmer or a wrestler and should be recognized in the paper, too.

If the White House can honor the National Science Fair winners and robotics winners and mathaletes, surely The Daily Sentinel can recognize the local winners with one inch of type.
Jane McAuley
Grand Junction

Education reform begins
by reining in the unions

I was taken aback by Vera Mulder’s letter to the editor with the headline, “Education
reform can’t involve more budget cuts.”

So much of the entire letter was devoted to liberal platitudes. It was annoying rather than informative. The scare tactics of the far right, tax deductions are government subsidies, and so on. I found absolutely nothing in the letter to substantiate the necessity to leave education budgets in tact.

On the other hand, I can point out that past budget increases have not given education a boost. In the past 40 years, our nation has tripled spending, in inflation-adjusted dollars, per student while results have stagnated or declined. Teachers do make good money on top of excellent benefits. The national result has been spending up, test scores holding steady.

In New York City, charter schools were working wonders for kids in poor neighborhoods until the unions shut them down. In Washington, D.C., our first black president joined his union supporters to shut down the one school that was helping the black community the most. Last week in Wisconsin, teachers abandoned the children to protest the taxpayer. Their union passed out doctor notes to ensure that the teachers were paid for walking out.

Reform begins with reining in the unions. Budget cuts are separate, but just as necessary. States, including Colorado, don’t have the money.
Bruce Taylor
Grand Junction

Many who love monument
support bike-race decision

In his Feb. 20 column, Denny Herzog said it was unfortunate for everyone who loved Colorado National Monument that it is so disengaged with our community. He based this disengagement on Superintendent Joan Anzelmo’s decision to deny a request for a bike race.

I’d like Herzog to know, there are a lot of people who love the monument, support the decision, and see no disengagement.
The undertone of his column was typical in this age of “If I can’t convince you I’m right, I’ll scare you into believing it.” His idea that because of this decision, local support for National Park status would diminish is nonsense. The number of visitors increase with
National Park designation. If Herzog’s so-called “movers and shakers” can’t see the community benefits of this, they are more hypocritical than one can imagine.
Herzog ended his article by saying John Otto would have embraced this bike race.
I believe if it had a road in 1911, Otto might not only have invited, but would probably have paid each of the riders. John Otto purchased a herd of buffalo and hung a service banner across one of his canyons to get people to come see the beauty of this land, but that doesn’t mean it was the best thing for the land.

I agree John Otto wasn’t afraid to step out of the box, so I’m certain if he were alive today, Herzog would be railing against him also.

In caring for America’s legacy, the mission of our National Park Service is “to promote and regulate the use of the ... national parks ... in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

When my sons were small, while on a drive through Rifle Gap, I had to explain the huge concrete remnants of Christo’s Curtain, which still butt up against the cliff walls. Why should my sons have to take their children for a drive over the monument and explain anything?
Accept the decision, go to a higher authority if need be, but don’t group all of us that love the monument into one category. Don’t try to make us afraid. And don’t use a local hero to further your agenda.
Kevin Hardy
Grand Junction

Fruita students showed
great compassion, maturity

Hats off to Milena Johnson and the other students at Fruita Monument High School who nominated two students with special needs to the royalty court for the White Night dance and then promoted their nominees, resulting in the two being crowned king and queen of the dance.

Too often, kids can be cruel to those who are not the epitome of popularity or different in any way. FMHS students demonstrated great compassion and maturity by honoring these two special education students for their personalities rather than their popularity.

Courage is certainly a part of their personalities. Queen Suzi and King Charlie probably face more challenges on a daily basis than most young people will ever know. This story warmed my heart and sent a beautiful message of acceptance and inclusion for all.
Marilee Langfitt
Mesa Developmental Services
Grand Junction

Article made it seem
both sides were equal

In the interest of fair and balanced reporting don’t you think The Daily Sentinel’s latest
wire service report on the protests in Wisconsin should have shown that those against the governor’s proposal outnumbered those who supported him by 35 to one.

The article published by the Sentinel made no mention of that and left the impression that it was about “even steven” by giving both sides equal coverage. This leads to misunderstanding of the weight of both and does not help us get a feel of the true situation.
Orville Bruce Jones


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