E-mail letters, May 17, 2010

Bill that Rep. King supported
will be costly to West Slope

In his letter to the editor defending his vote for House Bill 1365, Rep. Steve King states that he “voted for the 10th Amendment and for states’ rights.” I cannot see how caving into what amounts to EPA blackmail and extortion asserts states’ rights, other than avoiding threatened “reprisals.” These reprisals are detailed in a letter to Rep King from EPA Administrator Mark Komp dated April 7, 2010.
“After 24 months, the Federal Highway Administration is required to impose funding moratorium for all but exempt projects (safety, mass transit).”
Contrary to what Rep. King says the language in this bill is quite clear:
That is ALL COAL FIRED plants in the state.

There were two alternatives that XCEL could have chosen to meet EPA requirements:    Install NOx scrubbers on their coal-fired power plants at a cost of $133 Million or convert to Natural Gas at a cost of $2.5 Billion.
Xcel did not require this state law to do either.
It chose No. 2, which also increases its cost of fuel by four times and will double or triple customers’ cost of electricity. It will also require their customers to pay for the change before a single kilowatt is generated. Either solution would have produced almost identical emissions. Right now there is no visible “smoke” from these plants.
Why would XCEL choose the more expensive option?  XCEL is guaranteed a 10.5 percent return.  Increase costs make more money for their shareholders, while their customers are captive. As the old joke puts it, “Utilities are the only business where the CEO can increase his company’s earnings by redecorating his office.”
Mike Mason

Columnist was off-track
in piece about OHV funds

This is a rebuttal to the May 12 column by Bill Grant titled, “Colorado State Parks Board should reform allocation of OHV funds.”

The current OHV grant process is funded by OHV registration fees. The majority of the Department of Transportation funds go to non-motorized recreation. All of the DOT funds come from gas taxes paid by motorized recreationists.  There are no state tax dollars involved. The U.S. Forest Service, the Division of Wildlife and other agencies support leaving the grant program in place as it is

Law enforcement is not the answer to insufficient opportunity or lack of trail upkeep. The reason that people go off the trail is because of lack of trail maintenance, poor trail signing and lack of public information for visitors (no maps or information).

All user groups enjoy the OHV grants but only the motorized group pays the fees. Non- motorized visitors have complete access to all motorized trails. The reverse is not the case.  Over 4 million acres of federally owned land in CO is reserved for non motorized recreation

Mr. Grant supports having a majority of the OHV grant subcommittee be made up of non- motorized members.  How does he feel about having a few motorized representatives on the grants subcommittee for non-motorized grants or is this another double standard?

All forms of recreation on public lands are increasing.  The land managers need to respond by increasing the opportunities, not decreasing them through land closures and misuse of OHV grants

Impacts from OHV recreation are so minor and so localized that the NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act) does not recognize any trail as a significant commitment of resources.

In summary and in short, the issue of reforming the allocation of OHV grants, appears to be another land grab by special interest groups.
James Solomon

Cap and trade bill is step
toward one world government

I see in May 13 edition of The Daily Sentinel that John Kerry and Joe Lieberman’s proposed bill on global warming is to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent by 2010.

Our atmosphere is composed of .034 percent CO2.  That’s .039 molecules per 1,000 molecules of our atmosphere or 390 molecules of CO2 per l million molecules of air. This bill will cut that number to 324, if it works. And at what cost?

Our oceans are by far the major source of CO2.  Water evaporation and CO2 make
up our greenhouse effect. Water absorbs far more heat that does CO2. Without the greenhouse effect, this Earth could not be inhabited.

CO2 is plant food — the more food the healthier the plant. CO2 is a product of metabolism, producing energy in both plants and animals. If there is no CO2 in the blood stream, your heart stops.

There are hundreds of uses for CO2 — dry ice, fizz in soda, fire extinguishers, etc. Our planet is created exactly to facilitate life as we know it. For thousands of years it has been successful in balancing and correcting imbalances.

I think this 987 page cap-and-trade bill is a power grab, a way to get more money and another step toward a one world government. I fear that Congress, pushed by our president and the United nations, will sign this bill without reading or requiring honest scientific research.
Jim Wilson
Grand Junction

Living outdoors without
money is no lifestyle choice

Letter writer Randy Engel asks “does anybody care?” about citizens he characterizes as
transients and hobos. It’s clear Engel does not, and he enumerates the reasons in his letter of May 16.

As someone who volunteers with the homeless through the Catholic Outreach Day Center in Grand Junction, I do care. And unlike Engel, apparently, I know some of the people he would round up and whose meager property he would destroy.

It might surprise Mr. Engel to learn that the few items they own may well have been donated by the charitable people of this valley — or purchased when the owners had paying work.

It might surprise him — should he take his verbal vigilantism down to the camps along the river — that one of those residents is a former special forces soldier and others he disparages have also served their country in the military.

I do understand his discomfort, however.

It’s upsetting to see how many people in the community have addictions, mental illness or physical conditions that make it difficult to find work or live in stable housing.

Most of all, it’s upsetting to realize we don’t care about our fellow human beings as much as we thought we did.

I don’t mean to paint all the homeless as saints or to absolve them of any responsibility for the conditions in which they live. But if you think living year round outdoors with no money can be dismissed as a “lifestyle choice,” you don’t understand the choices some of these gentle souls have available.

I would challenge anyone who sees the homeless the way Mr. Engel sees them to instead seek out their humanity and to know them as individuals. You might be surprised, and you will certainly be less afraid.

Charlie Quimby
Grand Junction

Health care for seniors is
in danger from Medicare cuts

More than 700,000 Colorado residents rely on Medicare and TRICARE for their health coverage, but their access to and choice of physicians is now in serious jeopardy because of an impending steep cut to the physicians who care for them.

Unless Congress acts soon, on June 1, Colorado physicians will be hit with a 21 percent payment cut for the care of seniors, forcing many to make difficult decisions about treating Medicare patients. In fact, a recent informal AMA poll found that 68 percent of physicians nationwide say they will be forced to limit their care for Medicare patients in the wake of this year’s cut. Care for military families is also at risk, as their government health insurance program, TRICARE, ties its payment rates to Medicare.

About 42 percent of practicing physicians are over 50, an age at which many physicians consider reducing their patient care activities. Couple this fact with the looming 21 percent cut, and access and choice of physician looks grim for Colorado’s seniors, disabled residents and military families.

Already, about one in four seniors nationwide looking for a new primary care physician has trouble finding one, and this stat doesn’t even take into account the fast approaching wave of baby boomers who begin aging into Medicare next year.

Only the U.S. Congress can stop this imminent Medicare meltdown by repealing the broken Medicare payment formula that creates this cut. Call your congressional representatives and urge them to act to preserve the security and stability of health care for Colorado’s seniors and military families.

J. James Rohack, M.D.
American Medical Association



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