Email letters, Dec. 12, 2011

EPA creates too much regulation

After reading Dale McFeatters’ Nov. 27 column about old Pittsburgh and deregulation, I had to respond. As a pre-teen, I lived just outside of Pittsburgh from l948 to 1953 in Mount Lebanon. My father commuted every day to the city where he worked a white-collar job. I have a different view of life back then.

I agree, Pittsburgh was a dirty city, but so were most Eastern cities then. No one thought much about it. It was due to industry in general and since there were lots of steel furnaces in the area, much was attributed to them. They provided many, many jobs and were an important part of Pittsburgh’s economy.

I remember the little trains spilling the white hot slag down the hillsides at night. It was a beautiful sight to watch as it turned red and slowly cooled off. My father never took an extra shirt to the office. No one we knew did that.

The air may have been dirty and there was smog, but very few people we knew complained. It was just the way life was. People were employed and life was pretty much the way people wanted it. Old Pittsburgh was a place I remember fondly because people were friendly and I had fun growing up there.

Having said all that, cleaning up Pittsburgh was not a bad idea. As an adult looking back, I’m sure there were many more environmental problems than I was aware of. I know that Pittsburgh of today is a cleaner city than back in the 1950s.

The EPA has done some good for this country in helping clean up a lot of environmentally bad areas, cities included. But it has grown to be too large an organization of the federal fovernment and is now controlling too much of our lives. It seems to not be accountable to anyone for its actions and is overregulating our industries and our lives — all in the guise of improving the environment.

It has lost all sensibility and credibility. From what I have heard suggested recently, the EPA as it is now run, would be ended and a better agency would be set up that would provide necessary regulations on industry, but would not intrude on the American people’s way of life (we could use any kind of light bulb we wanted to).

It also would not try to regulate our industries out of existence, but would work with them to keep them in this country and keep their workers employed. Nothing wrong with that.

SUE BENJAMIN
Grand Junction

Obama has killed too many jobs

Obama constantly says “pass this bill” while crusading around America, campaigning on American taxpayer dollars, instead of engaging with Congress and being an actual leader.

Just recently, he postponed approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. An approved environmental impact study was completed. There is bipartisan support for the project, as the pipeline would immediately create 20,000 jobs, with tens of thousands more ancillary jobs projected in the near term.

Why do you think that he wants to postpone a final decision as he puts it, “until after the 2012 elections”? Might be that he doesn’t want to deal with the deserved outcry that he knowingly axed 20,000 plus high paying private sector jobs during the election cycle.

Then there is the stimulus that he stated that America needed in order to create American jobs. I wonder how many Americans, unemployed or not, are aware that there are several huge construction projects inside America today, where Chinese companies and Chinese workers have been employed instead of Americans, and all are being funded by Obama stimulus money, our tax dollars.

There is a $7.2 billion project in San Francisco, a $400. million project in New York and a $190. million project in Alaska, all awarded to Chinese companies and employees. Can’t help but wonder if this is what Obama and his pal Jeff Immelt laughed about when they mentioned that shovel-ready jobs just weren’t as shovel ready as they originally thought. And Immelt, CEO of GE and Obama’s jobs czar, has in fact laid off thousands of American workers recently, while developing a joint venture with China to build jet engines there to compete with Boeing, another critical U.S. manufacturer.

I wonder if most Americans are truly aware of how many jobs Obama has killed with the known increase in per employee cost of Obamacare, the uncertainty of the tax environment going forward, and crippling regulations. Obama’s constant blather about creating jobs, while in fact pressing legislation which will severely stifle job growth and the overall economy is deplorable.

DON BOYLES
Grand Junction

Gingrich is just more of the Republican same

The Republican presidential primary is topsy-turvy this year. With the front runner changing from Bachman to Romney to a guy who isn’t even running, Chris Christie, to Herman Cain, to Newt Gingrich — this has been a real horse race. It has become apparent that in this final examination of the Republican Party faithful, the vast majority are cramming for the test and have no idea what to study, let alone what the answers are. Not that they can be blamed too much. 

With an education system that skews history to fit the “Roosevelt was to the U.S. as Moses was to the Israelites” paradigm of thinking, most everyone grows up indoctrinated to believe the federal government knows all and can save all. We accept blatant disregard for our founding principles without question.

The 10th Amendment idea of state and individual sovereignty over all powers not specifically delegated has given way to an imperial power that tramples each of the other supposedly secure rights and all the while people concentrate on the superficial result of this agglomeration of power, the deficit. What is truly befuddling about this two ring circus is how easily cowed the electorate is despite the inescapable records of the crooks that the majority of people favor. 

Take the current front runner Newt “the serial adulterer” Gingrich. Gingrich spoke out in favor of TARP and was in favor of the too big to fail bailouts, co-sponsored 418 bills with the conservative pariah Nancy Pelosi, is a member of the elitist Council on Foreign Relations, was an attendee at the insiders pagan ritual summit known as Bohemian Grove and slobbered all over Nancy Pelosi in a television commercial supporting Al Gore’s global-warming scam. He lobbied for Freddie Mac and earned” $1.6 million, has supported cap-and-trade legislation and supported the massively expensive Bush Medicare bill. He has proven himself to be a political chameleon and as big an insider as anyone who ever went to Washington, D.C.

Yet Gingrich is climbing to the top of the Republican reality TV contest. People who claim to be conservatives are cramming onto his bus. If people want different results they can’t keep electing the same swindlers.

DAVID L COX
Grand Junction

The real economic value of Western Slope

Here in Grand Junction we are surrounded by natural beauty. We have the majestic Rockies and the Grand Mesa to the east. The Colorado National Monument and the amazing high deserts to the west. Down south there is Mesa Verde and up north there is Dinosaur National Monument.

Grand Junction is in the middle of America’s Outdoor Playground. It is unique to the United States and indeed unique to the world.

The long-term recreational and tourism value of these assets is enormous. This economic value is sustainable and long lasting. If we, the natives in this wonderland, are good stewards of these assets, they can go on providing us with economic value and growth forever.

We cannot lose sight of this value in pursuit of short term profits. We cannot destroy the sustainable economic value of these assets in order to create a few short term jobs.

There is no doubt that uncontrolled extraction of oil, gas, coal, uranium and minerals will damage the recreational and tourism economic value of the natural assets that surround us.

Yes, recreation, tourism and extraction can co-exist, but not if the extraction industry uses least cost methods which result in damage to the land, water and air, the very things that provide the recreational and tourism value. All too often, the extraction industries privatizes profits but leave us, the taxpayers, to clean up their messes. This is nothing new and has got to stop.

It’s time to see Grand Junction as a hub for recreation and tourism, which is sustainable and long term, and not just a boom bust energy center that leaves behind environmental messes that we all have to pay for.

THOMAS PHILLIPS
Palisade

City employees shouldn’t get raise

I am stunned at the decision to reinstate 1 1/2 percent pay back to city employees. About a year ago the city in these troubled times reduced all city pay by just 3 percent. As of this past week the City Council under influence from the city manager (who stands to reap over $3,000 from this decision when you consider her pay plus FICA, etc.) influenced the Council into reinstating half of the minuscule 3 percent when people all over the city have had significant pay cuts and job loss. 

It just looks bad first, really poor PR for the city. Second, there are a ton of people who would jump at the opportunity to land one of these city jobs if anyone were to quit over the 3 percent cut. The city, like all government jobs offers great pay, incredible benefits, lots of days off, vacations, retirements, security, etc.

About that good pay; I called the city and learned that the lowest-paid, currently employed, full-time city employee — not average, but lowest paid — makes $30,252.00 a year plus all the benefits.

Due to the refinancing of the Riverside Parkway debt the city could end up with so-called extra, on-paper money much like refinancing and thus lowering your house payment.  Already they are planning how to spend the on-paper savings like a bunch of drunk sailors (sorry Navy)  What about just putting it in some bonds, paying down the public-safety building debt or parkway debt further or just put it in the bank for a year or so?  Our city management and elected leaders are behaving badly, just like our federal government, but if we go under here in the city it really is personal.

JIM SHULTS
Grand Junction

Transplant appreciates sports coverage

Thank you for the great article about the Indiana University vs. Kentucky basketball game on Dec. 10.
 
Watching the game was a thrill, but reading about it in The Daily Sentinel was a bonus.
 
This transplanted Hoosier is grateful.
 
GINNY MCGRIFFIN
Grand Junction

New Sunday comics is nice addition

I want to thank The Daily Sentinel for the additional comics on Sunday. This has always been my favorite section of the paper and it was especially great to see “Hi and Lois.” It’s been years since I’ve seen that one. Thank you again.

LAURA SALAZAR
Grand Junction

Republicans are out to protect the 1 percent

It takes Krauthammer one fifth of a Daily Sentinel page to get to the point where he blames President Obama for creating class resentment. Republicans along with Krauthammer are usually first to proclaim that the founding fathers know best, but not this time. 

We know that through the Constitution our founding fathers intended to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” As Republicans would have it, the Constitution was not intended to secure the blessing of liberty only for the 1 percent or the very-very rich.

Our founding fathers did not intend to create a plutocracy with the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few and at the same time pretend to be a democratic nation. In 1976, it was estimated that the farmer’s income to an executive’s income was approximately of 1 to 6. All you have to do is check out the current ratio to determine who or what is/are the cause(s) of class resentment. 

If it is not the 1 percent, then why do Republicans insist on protecting them from increased taxation? The answer appears to be money, power. and greed. What it portends for the future is not good. Krauthammer and Republicans will certainly continue to insist that if the very rich are taxed more the demise of the United States is inevitable. It is repeated so often that foolishly many of the 99 percent are beginning to believe it.

JOSE U LUCERO
Grand Junction

We can’t depend on voluntary compliance

The Dec. 11 editorial, “More frack friction,” disappointingly failed to call for rigorous regulation of hydraulic fracturing, with full disclosure of the chemical composition of all proprietary fracking fluids and related additives now being injected into Colorado’s underground and thereby potentially threatening its drinking water.
 
Apologists for the oil and gas industry – including the pre-1995 COGCC, former Mesa County Commissioner Kathy Hall (later Executive Director of the Western Colorado Chapter of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association), current Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis (founder of Cordilleran Compliance Services and a Club 20 board member), Club 20, and Halliburton – have long cavalierly assured us that fracking is completely safe, citing the paucity of any “substantial evidence that hydraulic fracturing has ever contaminated underground sources of drinking water”.
 
Heretofore, those reassurances were always suspect — because they conveniently ignored dozens of probable cases which were suppressed via cash settlements and confidentiality agreements, the obvious contamination that precipitated the federal court decision in Alabama, and more recently documented reports of apparent contamination caused by fracking in Marcellus shale formations in the East.
 
Since the very purpose of fracking is to propagate unpredictable fractures and fissures deep underground through which natural gas can migrate to the wellhead, it stands to reason that contaminants can also eventually migrate through those same pathways – as apparently (albeit tentatively) confirmed by the EPA’s recent Pavillion findings.
 
And, because even miniscule amounts of some toxic substances associated with – and/or released by – oil and gas operations (and, especially, hydraulic fracturing) can render underground sources of drinking water unpotable for years, Colorado’s regulatory regime should properly be focused on minimizing risks to public health and the environment. 
 
Suffice it to say that Coloradans cannot depend on the “voluntary compliance” of those who have been feeding us “frack fiction” for years.
 
BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction



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