Email letters, January 28, 2014

Cost of drilling is main reason oil industry has left West Slope

I feel I must respond to Marcia Neal’s comments about environmentalists being [ITAL] entirely [ITAL] at fault for the oil industry leaving the Western Slope.

Regulations are not the main reason the industry is leaving. Economics are the main reason. It is simply more expensive to drill around here.

The extraction industry is always looking out for its best interests. Whenever we see a large run of exploration, we always see a bust. That’s the nature of the industry.

We simply don’t get that on the Western Slope, and I’ve always wondered why. As soon as there are “lower hanging fruits” to pick, the drillers and miners will move on to them. So, let’s not place the blame on environmentalists. Let’s look to the real cause.

Perhaps after [ITAL] this [ITAL] bust, we will try to look for a more stable industry to be our economic engine instead of the extraction industry with its history of boom and bust.

CHARLIE POST

Grand Junction

A liberal’s idea of paradise ‘does indeed already exist’

A liberal’s idea of paradise is a place where everybody has guaranteed employment and free comprehensive health care, education, food, housing, clothing, phones and utilities. It is also where law enforcement personnel are the only people allowed to carry guns.

Believe it or not, such a place does indeed already exist. It’s called prison.

LLOYAL ANDERSON

Delta

Does doctor have vested interest in supporting Affordable Care Act?

Regarding commentary from the good doctor on Sunday, I wonder if he even listens to himself or reads what he writes while writing it, being the “student of health policy” that he is.
Me?  I’m a student of what is termed “capitalism,” and that leaves no room for socialistic endeavors of any kind. You want things to be better? Get off your duff and put forth some effort. 

Dr. Pramenko starts off with “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it,” quoting President Barack Obama.  Actually, he is quoting a lie told many times by the president, even though the president knew at the time it was a lie.

On Dec. 6 Bill Hugenberg noted that Pramenko actually had a hand in the so-called Affordable Care Act, as an advisor for section 1322. That gives us some idea just why Pramenko wouldn’t want the ACA to fail. His name is attached to part of the bill as an “advisor.”

It makes no difference that this monstrosity is hurting people. Pramenko, as a doctor, will benefit, and the Lord knows that Pramenko, as an advisor for section 1322, doesn’t want it scrapped under any circumstances because he’s part of it. It may be that Pramenko is angling for Health and Human Services secretary at some point. Nearly anybody can hold that office if Kathleen Sebelius can. It’s just a matter of rubber-stamping what the president wants.

The law was brought by the Senate, passed by Democrats and upheld by the Supreme Court as a “tax,” not a “penalty.” I think Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts screwed up. The Senate cannot legally pass a law that requires a tax, according to the U.S. Constitution. Only the Legislature (Congress) can – except under John Roberts’ court. There again, I don’t know what this administration has on Roberts, but it must be pretty damning.

The ACA was supposed to get 45 million people without insurance insured but settled for an admitted 30 million. Add those given waivers by the administration — unions, Muslims, politicians, those who were dropped, etc. — and Obummercare is a net loss of insured people. At least, a net loss of insured people who pay for their own.

That’s where the socialism aspect comes in. The government is taking taxpayer money that the U.S. doesn’t have to subsidize people who make no effort to buy their own, putting more and more people onto Medicaid. Meanwhile, the young, who are supposed to cover for older people, aren’t signing up. Not that it makes much difference – since 15 million of the original 45 million just fell by the wayside, why should young people feel the need to sign up? 

The law doesn’t apply equally to everyone. Thereby, it should be null and void on its face. That would be yet another thing that Pramenko doesn’t mention when boosting “his” ACA.

DAVID F. ZULIAN
Grand Junction

If cigarette bill is fair, raise minimum age to enlist

I think Sen. Steve King should introduce a bill to protect our young people from harm by raising the minimum age for Selective Service to 21.

So, all those young service men and women in Afghanistan and other dangerous parts of the world are going to be breaking the law when they come home and have a cigarette? If cigarettes and alcohol are so dangerous to our young people, then let’s raise our selective service minimum age to 21.

A person who can be put in harm’s way to protect our freedom and rights should be afforded them all.

How about it, Sen. King?

GARY CONKLIN
Grand Junction

Center for Western Priorities is just another out-of-state activist group

Earlier this month, an environmental group called the Center for Western Priorities made headlines in Western Colorado by launching an oil and gas “spill tracker.” According to the CWP press release, the group’s “Colorado Toxic Release Tracker” found 495 spills statewide last year. That’s more than one spill a day, which means Colorado has an “oil and gas spill problem” that poses a major threat to the state’s drinking water and justifies new restrictions on drilling.

At least that’s the scary - and false - storyline that CWP was selling in a recent article.

CWP has distorted key facts and concealed others to make oil and gas spills seem like they are a routine danger to drinking water. For example, CWP’s press release failed to mention there were more than 50,000 active oil and gas wells in Colorado last year. So, even if the group’s spill count is accurate, that means less than one percent of well sites experienced any kind of spill last year.

Not only are spills relatively rare, they have limited and manageable environmental impacts. That’s because the oil and gas industry takes the potential impact from these spills very seriously and the State of Colorado has tough regulations to make sure any spills that cannot be prevented are quickly cleaned up.

For example, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission issued a report last year that analyzed 12 months of spill reports. Barely 20 percent of the 399 reported spills ever came into contact with ground water, surface water or even dry drainages. They were cleaned up with the help of vacuum trucks, earthmoving equipment and other environmental mitigation strategies. Because of these precautions, the COGCC found zero drinking water wells were impacted.

That doesn’t make the oil and gas industry perfect, of course, and it doesn’t mean the potential for spills to impact drinking water should be dismissed. After all, no industry is perfect, every commercial activity has some environmental impact, and in Western Colorado our communities care more than most about our water resources.

But, when the facts show the impacts are both manageable and being managed, you have to wonder why CWP (which portrays itself as “non-partisan”) is working so hard to discredit the natural resource based economy of western Colorado. The group’s fear mongering is even more curious when you consider CWP also claims to support “responsible energy production.”

But, as the Washington Examiner has reported, CWP doesn’t really support energy production at all, and its priorities are anything but nonpartisan. According to the Examiner, CWP aired “anti-fracking attack ads” on television last year to help national environmental groups ban oil and gas development in four cities along the Front Range. Dig a little deeper on CWP’s website, and you will see the group also lobbies for even more restrictions on oil and gas leasing on federal lands - as if the current limits aren’t restrictive enough already.

According to the Examiner, CWP isn’t even a legal entity registered with the IRS. Instead, it’s a program of the $36.5-million New Venture Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based philanthropy that also funds anti-industry activist groups such as Earthjustice and the Wilderness Society. Naturally, since he really works for the NVF, CWP’s executive director Trevor Kincaid is also based in Washington. Before assuming this role, Kincaid worked in the U.S. Senate and as a communications director for political campaigns.

So, the next time CWP makes a claim about spills, don’t be fooled. The group may claim to have “Western priorities,” but it’s really just another out-of-state activist group that is categorically opposed to resource development in Colorado.

MIKE FOSTER
Grand Junction



COMMENTS

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Mr. Post seems to forget that the jobs leaving our area pay anywhere from $20 to $40 per hour and up. I’d really like to see stable jobs that employ the same numbers of people in western Colorado for the same wages as well, however in reality that’s just a pipe dream. Low wage tourism, service and retirement support jobs seems to be where were headed.

Economics are one factor, but after all the environmental / energy company head butting in the press, I really can’t blame energy company CEO’s in board meetings finding reasons to leave easier to come by than reasons to stay. And with the continuing hostility growing, they will darn sure place western Colorado toward the bottom of their list when the gas market rebounds and it’s time to come back.

Meanwhile everyone will still need heat in their homes and gas in there cars. Will become easier to import it all from overseas again rather than deal with the hostile environmentalist agenda? It has to come from somewhere.

One additional comment, The so called boom and bust cycle is not the entire picture of the industry. The drilling aspect may be boom and bust, but once a well is drilled, it requires monitoring, maintenance, and occasional cleanout and repair for the life of the well. With a well life of up to to 20 years, multiplied by over 10,000 wells in the western Colorado region, that translates into good paying, long term steady work for many people.

Are they environmentalist? Those claiming to be have pushed LED light bulbs which will end up in land fills which will leach lead into our riparian systems. They fight having road access in our forest so fires cannot be contained, destroying the water shed and forests. These are just 2 items of many that represent their so called environmentalism.

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