Email letters, January 14, 2014

Rep. Scott must be unaware of Western Slope’s foul air

This letter is in reference to Rep. Ray Scott’s recent op-ed piece, “Western Slope residents must fight Air Quality Control Commission” because the rules are based on Denver’s air problems, not those of the Western Slope.

The implication is that we do not need regulations that will harm the local and gas economy; our air quality is fine. The representative must not be spending any time here in the local area and breathing the foul air we have to breathe. Running for higher office must fog one’s brain.

If Scott thinks we have good quality air here on the Western Slope, I would ask him whether he is spending too much time in Denver.

ALFONSO SALAZAR
Grand Junction

Credit state’s MJ lovers for raising driving risks

Thanks to the marijuana lovers in Colorado, we now can worry about how many people are unfit to drive because they have had too many “joints.”


BOB STRONG
Montrose

Blaming oil and gas industry for county pollution is illogical

I’m missing something here. People are still blaming the oil and gas industry for polluting the air when there aren’t any drilling operations going on in Mesa County and maybe five rigs running in the surrounding area.

When methane is released from wells after they’re put into production, it comes to the wellhead and heads down the pipeline. So, all the people who keep blaming the oil and gas industry should also find other sources of pollution to blame.

When there aren’t any drilling operations running, I find it hard for the oil and gas industry to be at fault.

CURT CLAUSSEN
Grand Junction

Climate change should not be viewed in a simplistic manner

A recent letter in the Sunday paper stated that global warming has caused Arctic sea ice to melt, which in turn has caused the adjacent continents to be colder and snowier then “usual.”

If this is true, then in the recent past, with Arctic sea ice very expansive in area, we would expect the northern continents to be warmer and less snowy than “usual.” Obviously, all the known data indicate just the opposite – 50, 100 or more years ago it was much colder and glaciers were more extensive on the land.

No one factor will account for climate change – it is a complex of highly variable atmospheric, geologic, human and astronomical inputs.

All of us (scientists and nonscientists) would be better served by leaving statistical theory and paying attention to the Princeton University remarks about complex systems’ reactions to input variations.

MEL DOUGLAS
Grand Junction

Governor should have given break to working people in Colorado

After reading in the Sentinel how Colorado is so rich that it can give $6,000 to every rich person who buys a Tesla automobile, it would appear that the Democrats hate the working people in this state.

For instance, all the teachers could use more money, as well as the gas people, truck drivers, small shopkeepers and many others.

The governor has a veto over bad bills like this; he should have vetoed it, but he hasn’t.

GRAFTON CLARKE
Grand Junction



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Alfonso Salazar’s timely letter – “Scott seems unaware of West’s foul air – should strike a responsive chord with Sentinel readers.

House District 55’s Representative (and would-be District 7’s Senator) Ray Scott’s latest piece of incumbent campaign literature (“Western Slope residents must fight state Air Quality Control Commission”) – published gratis as a “guest column” by the Sentinel—  affords ample insight into the contrast between Republican Scott and his Democratic challenger, nationally-recognized economic development expert Claudette Konola.

In 1950, Grand Junction’s municipal population was only 14, 504 – compared to an estimated 59,899 in 2012 (a 413% increase).  Similarly, Mesa County’s population in 1950 was 38,794 – compared to 147,848 in 2012 (a 381% increase).

Nevertheless, as Asbury gas began flowing into Grand Junction in the 1950s, there were undoubtedly some local “conservatives” who stridently proclaimed that the conversion to natural gas was “destroying jobs” in the coal industry and putting local delivery services out of business, thereby increasing unemployment and threatening “small businesses”.

There were also likely some coal industry shills who looked at the darkened morning sky and insisted that “government is the problem” – even as taxpayers (presumably) funded the acquisition of rights of way and the installation of infrastructure.  At some point, local building codes (“regulations”) were enacted to insure the safety of gas delivery systems.

Meanwhile, the extractive industries proved to be “boom or bust”—and the most stable sources of local jobs became local governments and health care providers.

More recently, attracted by its cleaner air, unique geography, and medical facilities (like the local VA Medical Center), military (and other) retirees, younger entrepreneurs, and even tourists flocked to the Grand Valley—contributing to a more diversified economy and legitimate concerns about air quality and “view sheds”.

Thus, despite Scott’s belligerent tone, Mesa County’s “party status” may constructively contribute to crafting sensible rules – to effectively protect public health—rather than serve as an obstructive vehicle for “throwback” promoters of oil & gas interests (like Scott).

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