Email Letters: January 11, 2017

Scott Pruitt is not the right choice for EPA administrator

When hiring someone to lead an organization, commitment to the organization’s mission is typically a minimum expectation for the job candidates. Scott Pruitt, President-elect Trump’s nominee for EPA administrator, has for years had an adversarial relationship with the agency he is nominated to lead. He is currently suing the EPA. (And he has done so on a number of occasions.)

The EPA’s mission statement is simple and straightforward: “to protect human health and the environment.” Fulfillment of this mission involves enforcement of regulations that significantly impact the fossil fuel industry in the interest of protecting public health. Pruitt has been a staunch ally of and advocate for the fossil fuel industry. Oil and gas tycoons have been key funders of Pruitt’s attorney general campaigns in Oklahoma. (One, Harold Hamm, even co-chaired Pruitt’s 2013 re=election campaign.) Whether you believe a conflict of interest exists, how likely is it that Pruitt will place fulfillment of the EPA mission above the interests of his friends and supporters?

The EPA’s current strategic plan identifies “addressing climate change and improving air quality” as one of its five overarching goals. Scott Pruitt has stated that the debate over whether human activity is causing climate change is “far from settled.” How likely is it that he will be committed to working with EPA scientists and staff to address climate change when he is not convinced it is real?

Sen. Cory Gardner, Scott Pruitt is not the right choice for EPA administrator. I urge you to reject this nomination.

HARRIET CARPENTER

Grand Junction

Celebs who said they’d leave country when Trump was elected should move

For all of the celebs who said they were moving from/leaving the U.S.A. if Mr. Trump was elected, when do they board the train? I would like to be there so it could be photographed for posterity. I personally think it is just more of their hype, and it’s never going to happen. This good old U.S.A. has just been too good to them, providing them with millions of dollars, positions of being a “deity” and “showcase spotlight” front-page gossip mag covers.

I would like to see them go out into the real world and get a real job, such as mucking coal with the miners, or working at 3 a.m. in a dark alley as a cop, firefighter, military, retail store clerk, etc., etc.

LARRY M. HEAD
Hotchkiss

Regional books and arts should be defining part of the good life here

A column Sunday from the Mesa County Library director reported on 2016 achievements, ironically, without once using the word “book” – unless you count comic books, children’s books or e-books.

Coincidentally, the weekly books page made no mention of any local authors or literary events. And as usual since Laurena Mayne Davis’s column was discontinued, all the book reviews and features consisted of wire service material with no particular connection to the region.

Grand Junction’s library meets our needs well. This town is also exceptional in having three vital independent bookstores downtown, plus a Barnes & Noble and other special interest stores. Then there’s Lithic Bookstore and Gallery, which publishes poetry and has become a cool community center in Fruita.

These and other cultural assets make the valley an appealing place to visit and reside. Many cities in America would be jealous.

But we cannot take these resources for granted.

After last season, the library suspended sponsorship of the long-running One Book, One Mesa County program that brought in noted authors. Local writers already struggle to connect with readers and reach new audiences; becoming less visible at home doesn’t help. Publishing as a whole is in flux and local retailers face on-line competitors who siphon business but don’t contribute to local cultural life or pay taxes.

Recreation, food and retail are striving to build upon our local, unique character. Let’s be sure also to make regional books and the arts a visible and defining part of the good life here.

CHARLIE QUIMBY
Grand Junction

Legalization of marijuana has opened door for arbitrary government

In its recent Sunday editorial, The Sentinel expressed concern that Jeff Sessions, the next U.S. Attorney General, will take seriously his solemn oath of office and enforce the federal law, vetted as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, outlawing marijuana. This would of course be a reversal of the policy taken by the Obama administration, which notoriously gave states such as Colorado a green light to violate established law.

The proponents of marijuana have skillfully taken full advantage of the opportunity offered: the movement by states to “legalize” marijuana over the last eight years has spread across the country. Clearly, pro-marijuana attitudes have become increasingly popular. And even conservative towns and counties have been moved to “legalize” marijuana as a way to raise money, heedless of the fact that in so doing they and all individuals involved: State legislators, governors, state and local officials, as well as the consumers of pot, have acted and are acting in flagrant violation of the law and quite simply are guilty of criminal behavior. This state of affairs has inevitably demoralized law enforcement.

Remarkably, lawyers, from attorneys general on down, have shamelessly fostered this attack on the edifice of the law. Little notice has been taken of the shredding of the fundamental principle of the rule of law that is manifest in this phenomenon. The Sentinel’s editorials on marijuana reflect the prevailing mentality and, instead of pushing for reasonable revision of federal law, the Sentinel has implicitly endorsed the right of states and individuals to act in defiance of federal law.

Well beyond the question of whether marijuana should be legalized, a big door has been opened for arbitrary government. Following this precedent, Trump or any subsequent president may more freely choose not to enforce the laws whether respecting civil rights, the environment, taxation or what have you.

MICHAEL MECHAU

Palisade


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