Email letters, Dec. 15, 2011

Compromise regulations don’t go far enough

With major oil and gas operations impending in both Mesa and Delta counties (“What new hydraulic fracturing rules might mean when announced”, Jim Spehar, Dec. 12, 2011), local officials should remain cautious about the adequacy of the protections ostensibly afforded by the new compromise, hydraulic-fracturing regulations announced by the COGCC (“Regs for fracking called toughest”, Dec. 14, 2011).

While expanded disclosure of the chemical contents of proprietary fracking fluids and associated additives is certainly desirable, it is only one step forward in confronting the oil and gas industry’s continuing “retrograde action”.
 
Likewise, while sworn affidavits (under penalty of perjury) in support of trade-secret claims and citizen standing to challenge any such claim of entitlement should reduce industry abuse of the trade-secret exception to disclosure rules, the industry has side-stepped any rules that would increase its exposure to liability for contamination.
 
Thus, first – and in contrast to the rules applied in Alabama under the “Class II Injection Well” provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act – Colorado’s new rules do not require baseline testing of underground sources of drinking water prior to the initiation of drilling or fracking. The effect of this compromise is to transfer the costs of any such baseline testing to the landowner, the federal government (on public lands), and/or to local governments (like Grand Junction) charged with protecting drinking water, while making it more difficult to prove causation — by allowing the operator to maintain that any contamination pre-existed drilling or fracking operations.
 
Second, the failure to require inert chemical tracers in proprietary fracking fluids (i.e.,  tagging) complicates the task of establishing that any contamination is attributable to fluids injected by the oil or gas operator, rather than to naturally occurring substances released by the fracking operation, but not caused by the fracking fluids themselves.
 
BILL HUGENBERG
Grand Junction

Destroying the environment for energy makes no sense

In a letter to the editor, William F. McKnight accuses America, and especially Colorado’s two Democratic senators, of wallowing in ignorance. However, it seems that it is McKnight who is promoting uninformed opinion.

In paragraph one, he claims that we have the technology to develop all oil and gas reserves. Yet, after billions of dollars of investment in Piceance Basin experimental oil shale projects, the largest oil companies in the world have yet to find a way to commercially produce oil shale. It is not that they haven’t tried everything they could think of, including nuclear blasts.

In paragraph two, he conflates the anonymous giving to 527 organizations by corporations and even foreign companies (who are members of the National Chamber of Commerce) with the work that is done by groups like Western Colorado Congress of Mesa County. For the record, 527s accept millions of dollars to convince low information voters to vote in favor of large multi-national corporations, even if those corporations are exporting their jobs to foreign soil.

A donation of $50 to an environmental group working to inform the public about the dangers posed to the health of a community when air, water, or soil is contaminated, pales in comparison to those millions. Environmentalists are not destroying your jobs; they are making sure that development is safe so that we can continue to enjoy living in this beautiful valley without facing horrible health consequences.

McKnight is correct to point out that America’s energy needs hold us hostage to the Middle East. His solution is wrong-headed. Instead of destroying the environment, we should be mounting a Sputnik-like response to our energy dependence and invest in discovering the energy source that will wean us, once and for all, from the fossil fuels that have already reached peak production.

CLAUDETTE J. KONOLA
Grand Junction

Time to man the lifeboats?

As the world’s largest economy is sinking in massive debt, Congress concentrates on who pays the highest fares, first or second class. Instead of slowing the leak, Washington is now focused on a larger hole in the ship by extending the payroll tax cut (FICA) and extending unemployment benefits.

Ironically, like the 1912 Titanic, Washington and most of the U.S. citizens think the largest economy is unsinkable. Few understand that during the past three years, our nation’s deficit wouldn’t be eliminated, had Congress shut down every department, employee, including every branch of military. Most don’t understand United States debt is now over 100 percent of GDP, like Greece and Italy.

So one must ask, if Congress can’t stop the ship from sinking by shutting down every branch of the government, why would the president and Congress support extending the payroll tax cut and adding unemployment expenses. Does Washington understand that the cost of these mandatory programs including Medicare and Medicaid, now exceed every tax revenue collected from every source.

These geniuses in Washington are now arguing if we tax the rich or build an oil pipeline as they recommend bigger holes in the ship. Does it matter if the ship sinks faster with debt from reduced tax revenues and added unemployment expenses? Maybe it’s time to get into the lifeboats and leave the captain and crew on the ship.

HAL MASON
Grand Junction

Letters are too liberal

Since the ownership change at The Daily Sentinel, reading the letters to the editor is like reading them in the New York Times or the Sacramento Bee. 80 percent anti-Republican and 80 percent ultra liberal.

I, again, doubt you will print this letter as it is against your political media message you want out to the public.
 
R.M. SHERMAN
Grand Junction

Build the pipeline and extend payroll tax cut

The current bickering over payroll tax cut extensions versus pipeline construction is a perfect example of why many Americans have such low regard for Congress. It seems to me that both issues are necessary for job growth and not exclusive. Why not do both and satisfy everybody? I believe jobs and prosperity in this country should trump partisan politics and the campaign issues. Earl Pitts has it right when he says, “Wake up, America.”

AL CARLEY
Grand Junction



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