Email letters, Dec. 24, 2012
BLM needs to rethink plan on oil, gas leasing
As a livestock farmer on Garvin Mesa in Paonia, I am dismayed that Helen Hankins of the BLM is forging ahead with plans to sell oil and gas leases all over our valley without taking into account the huge number of businesses, such as mine, that will be destroyed with any drilling activity.
The Colorado BLM office is in violation of its own procedures and is planning to sacrifice Colorado’s primary organic farming area for development based on a totally outdated and inaccurate resource management plan. Although a few parcels were removed from the August sale, others with the same characteristics of domestic and irrigation water supplies, steep slopes and endangered species were left in for the February 2013 sale.
For whom is she working? Us, the public, or the oil and gas industries? We have responded with detailed protest letters citing peer-reviewed science regarding the risks of air and water pollution even from the best-managed drilling. The Colorado BLM state office is trying to steamroll us and ignore the BLM’s own policy and all common sense. We won’t let this happen.
The Colorado BLM needs to provide updated management that protects the unique resources and the community uses of the North Fork’s public lands before it even thinks about opening them up to a use such as this. Helen Hankins has the authority to stop this lease sale and wait for the RMP, but she is pushing ahead in spite of the community’s and local government’s opposition.
It’s just bad behavior and poor land management and should not be what we expect or tolerate from our public employees.
EUGENIE (OOGIE) MCGUIRE
Donning respirator mask may jeopardize one’s health
A photo accompanying the article “Gas Field Fears” (Dec. 21) shows citizens with cartridge filter masks to keep them from getting sick from the “poisonous fumes” that are produced from the well site.
If you actually look at the picture of the well site, it’s in production. That means the gas coming from the well is piped directly into the underground sales pipeline. The entire production process is a closed system that won’t and can’t allow any hydrocarbons or any other product produced from the well into the open atmosphere. The only odor they should smell is the clean, crisp mountain air that makes the western portion of Colorado so attractive to the entire populace of the world.
If folks are going to try to admonish the energy industry with claims of how they’ve become sick from living “next to” or “in the area” of well sites, they should try to educate themselves about the process of hydrocarbon extraction first.
I wonder how tens of thousands of individuals who work in the industry, such as myself, don’t get sick when we work directly over the well and directly with the materials from the well every single day from spud date to putting it to sales for years or even decades without ill effect.
If Thompson or Lotus would like the industry to quit producing coal, natural gas or oil, then we would kindly ask them to quit using our products just the same. I guarantee they consume as much energy, or more, with all the field trips to the well sites, as any other person in this country.
Funny though, the respirator masks they’re using are made from hydrocarbon production and the filters are full of charcoal, carbon and other mined and manmade products. It gives me a headache just thinking about wearing one.
Impose surcharge on every gun sale to fund more mental health services
We have finally heard recommendations from the NRA for ensuring that a massacre of school children never occurs again. Wayne LaPierre, voicing “ horror, outrage and grief at this incomprehensible loss and unspeakable crime committed by an evil monster,” paid scant attention to what many people consider the basic issue, namely, guns.
He blamed video games, blood-soaked films and an entertainment industry catering to our collective blood lust. He was right in calling attention to the lack of health services for mentally deranged and potentially dangerous individuals.
His main contribution, however, was that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” To that end, he urged that there be armed security personnel in our schools. The NRA will generously finance studies on how this can best be done.
At first sight this seems a solution to the problem. But on closer examination it fails on a number of counts. Two armed policeman were at Columbine, but they could not prevent the carnage.
And how are we to ensure that the proposed guards will be at the right place in a school when the next madman shows up? An estimate of the cost to provide security in the nation’s approximately 90,000 schools could reach $500 million annually. The NRA counts on many volunteers to reduce this cost, but that is problematic.
I have a better proposal: Impose a surcharge on the sale of every gun. The proceeds would fund mental health services for potentially dangerous people. Roughly 14 million guns are sold in this country each year, and a nominal $10 levy would bring in $140 million – a substantial sum. NRA management will oppose this, but its reasonable membership should endorse it.
Lions Club member’s kind act to be paid forward
I would like to thank the young man from the Grand Junction Lions Club who came up to us in the Orchard Mesa City Market. He gave us $100 to pay for our Christmas dinner.
We’ve had a rough year, and it’s really nice to know that there are some really good people out there. He made our Christmas a whole lot brighter.
This was one more random act of kindness, and we will pay it forward. Merry Christmas to all!
Consider more statistics about guns, violent crimes
Here are a few points on guns and violence you’re not likely to get from Joe Biden:
From 1900 to 2012 the non-accidental violent death rate in Europe was seven times higher than in the U.S. In Asia and Africa it was more than 10 times higher. In the overwhelming majority of these deaths, the victim was killed by his own or a neighboring government.
The worst mass murders in our history involving guns were committed by the government.
Our founders knew that out-of-control governments are massively more destructive than out-of-control individuals. That’s why our Constitution calls for an armed citizenry and a limited government. History has demonstrated repeatedly that our founders were right.
During the ten years the so-called “assault weapon” ban was in effect, the average annual number of school shootings was higher than since it has expired. It’s so wonderfully symbolic that who cares if it works?
Long guns are rarely used in crimes (they’re just too obvious). Given the total number of “assault weapons” in private hands and the rarity of crimes committed with them, one could easily argue that people who own one are much less likely to commit murder than people who don’t own one.
By the way, members of the NRA are significantly less likely to commit violent crimes than non-members. So, which of those groups include you?
More gun laws will not reduce country’s murders
Never fear, folks. Our adept politicians will come up with new gun laws that will assure us the tragedy that took place in Connecticut will never happen again.
Just look at our current history with guns. Does Fast & Furious ring any bells?
The U.S. shipped assault weapons to the Mexican cartels. These weapons ended up killing two U.S. border patrolmen and hundreds of Mexicans. Our president and attorney general knew nothing about Fast & Furious until they read it in the news. Right.
Then we had the murder of four Americans in Libya. Before and while this was taking place, these people were pleading for assistance. They received no assistance. Well, our secretary of state nor the president knew nothing until they saw it in the news. However, there was the producer of an anti-Muslin film placed in jail because he was the cause of it all. Right.
Now we find John Kerry becoming our new secretary of state. We all know how well he handled the “Swift Boats” during the Vietnam War. Now every Veterans Day he can reenact his throwing of his medals away. It worked for him as he kept getting elected to the Senate and now he may be the secretary of state.
Rest easy—these new gun laws will solve the country’s murder problem, and the politicians will be so proud they will vote themselves a nice big bonus.
At first, I thought it was a bad idea to pass the marijuana law, but now I think Colorado did the right thing. We had eight years of “W.” We will have eight years of “O.” We will need all the Mary Jane we can find.
While government debt should go down, now is not right time
Gary Harmon’s “news” article this morning regarding info fed to him by Scott Tipton included this jewel: “We’re not having a serious discussion about paying down the debt, and we need to start doing that now,” Tipton said. “Debt is consuming the economic vitality of this country.”
Is Harmon’s job merely to pass on what he’s told, or is it to ask questions to explain expository assertions by the interviewee? How is the debt a current drain on our economy? In fact, it is adding to our economy and is far from a drain. It is one of the things keeping our economy afloat, albeit at an unacceptable weak level. Depression beckons, otherwise.
The classical theory is that when there is a need for more investment in the economy, deficits leading to debt by the government squeeze out funds that should be available for business expansion. Billions of investment funds are sitting idle on the sidelines — mainly in government securities— because there is no place to invest them because of poor consumer spending, primarily due to high consumer debt and job-related constraints. How do government deficits impact that?
We do have to reduce our government’s debt level and deficits. But right now is absolutely the wrong time. You reduce deficits and debt when government revenue is at high levels, not like now when the economy and government revenue are suffering.
So, is Rep. Tipton really that illiterate in economics, or is something else going on? His peers in Congress are using this “crisis” to try to water down or even eliminate Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Is that what you want? Is that Tipton’s objective, or does he just not understand what he’s saying and the ramifications of it?
Inquiring minds would like to know.
We have been blessed to live in a free nation
Regardless of what the “state of the nation” might be, year-end must evolve as an uplifting experience, because it includes the celebration of a blessed event – the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and our prayers and hopes for the future.
So, we should be joyous and rid our minds of concerns and the calamities that face our nation as the New Year dawns. If anyone needs help or encouragement, please consider my approach, outlined below. It’s a prescription for enjoying the holidays and welcoming 2013.
• Overlook Obama’s obligatory “obummercare”—it’s a done deal.
• Forget the Fast and Furious “fiasco”—it’s already swept under the rug.
• Begone with the Bengazi “blunder”—Hillary’s concussion avoids her testimony.
• Fear not the Fiscal Cliff “catastrophe”—another loan from China will bail us out.
• Kudos for Kerry as “Sectarian of State”—he votes “for” before he votes “against.”
• Laments to legislative Congressional “lapdogs”—forgive them, for they do not know what they do.
• Above all, eat, drink and be merry because you can blame your fork for making you fat and the booze bottle for making you inebriated ... oh, yes, and if you happen to be obnoxious or get out of control – it’s Bush’s fault.
What a blessing for us to be living in a free nation to have “allowed” all that has happened over the past 200 plus years. Let’s hope that the true meaning of freedom as intended by our founders will be accepted and prevail in our nation’s future.
Happy New Year, and God bless America!
Federal workers should not have to sacrifice more than others
There is a lot of talk about the need for a balanced approach and shared sacrifice when it comes to addressing our nation’s fiscal deficit. But it seems one group is being asked to sacrifice repeatedly — the federal workforce.
Through a lengthy pay freeze and higher pension contributions, federal employees are contributing $103 billion over 10 years to address these serious problems. Although federal employees have faced such cuts three times over the past two years, there is talk of returning to federal workers for still more contributions. That is the wrong path.
As president of Chapter 32 of the National Treasury Employees Union, I see the contributions of this workforce every day serving the public. My members serve the public throughout the state of Colorado as employees of the Internal Revenue Service and they do so proudly as part of a union that represents more than 150,000 federal workers in 31 agencies and departments across the country.
These are middle-class workingmen and workingwomen who have committed their talents to the service of others. They were called on to do their share to deal with the nation’s economic situation, and they have done so.
They face rising costs of health care, food, gas and college tuition just like other Americans. They should not be asked to do more without the shared sacrifice of all Americans.
Self-righteous thought may not be realistic thought
The bubble-heads, not bobble-heads, are a fact of life. Everyone knows what a bobble head is, but who are the bubble-heads? Everyone’s a bubble-head to a certain degree. It is thinking in a vacuum, and it’s self-righteous thought about any subject that may or may not have anything to do with reality.
A union of bubble-heads brings together all the lost souls from across diverse social and economic scales, or how else could you explain those in the economic stratosphere believing what homeless people on the street believe? They do have something’s in common: they pay little, if any tax, they need weapons to protect what they have and they live in enclaves apart from the rest of society.
It’s just that the rich can buy power and can afford substance abuse. To justify their thinking, they fail to realize the difference between themselves and original patriots who were taxed without representation, by calling themselves “tea partiers.”
We now have the upper class or their pawns and representatives who are requesting welfare by default: no or little tax. Within this realm are drugs, weapons, abusive sex, slavery, lip service to religion, etc. True “trickle down” of such social blights as methamphetamine, gambling and associated crimes is no surprise. All the above must be protected by any means.
Be it an unhappy boy or man with a gun, a drug lord, a member of al Qaeda, a misinformed congressperson, a wandering opportunist, these people set no new agenda for uplifting mankind by repeating natural and ancient fallacies.
News flash: These have already been paid for 2,000 years ago. A note to fellow bubbleheads: Get real. We are ultimately responsible to a common higher power.