Email letters, July 16,  2013

Boosters of exporting liquified natural gas should consider environmental costs

As reported by Dennis Webb in Sunday’s Sentinel (“Udall, Bennet push for liquefied natural gas exports”), Colorado’s senators have joined a bipartisan effort to expedite approvals of liquefied natural gas export permits.

While economic benefits of increased natural gas production on the Western Slope may be temporarily “reinvigorating,” local boosters of accelerated LNG exports should not underestimate the environmental costs thereof.

Thus, first, by opening up the American natural gas market to overseas buyers, the expanded production needed to satisfy that increased demand will redouble the industry’s reliance on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and consequent threats to water supplies.

However, if (as the industry insists) fracking has become “completely safe,” then there is no further need for the so-called “Halliburton Exceptions” to the Safe Drinking Water Act (exempting fracking from “underground injection well” regulation) and/or to the Clean Water Act (exempting drilling sites from “storm water runoff” regulations).  Those dubious provisions of Cheney’s Energy Policy Act of 2005 should be promptly repealed.

Second, because environmentally benign fracking fluids are now widely available (albeit more expensive than traditional cocktails of toxic fracking fluids and diesel fuel), public health and the environment need no longer be “trumped” by corporate pecuniary interests and demand strict prohibitions of all toxins in and/or resulting from proprietary formulas.

Third, because methane is a valuable resource and a potent “greenhouse gas,” operators should be required to comply with the Clean Air Act and employ “best available technology” to “capture” escaping methane – rather than waste it by flaring it off or polluting the atmosphere by venting into the environment methane that has not been flated.

Fourth, because (reportedly) 5 percent of well-casing cement jobs fail immediately and 50 percent over the well’s life, operators should be required to post substantial bonds – sufficient in amount and duration to remediate impacts on water supplies after the well is abandoned.

Grand Junction

Bill of Rights is unassailable by any branch of government

Bill Hugenberg’s letter to the editor in The Daily Sentinel July 16 outlines perfectly the difference between the liberal elitism of the left and the conservative point of view.

Hugenberg believes that the decisions made by the Supreme Court regarding the Bill of Rights are infallible, that the government is the ultimate arbiter of one’s rights.

Conservatives believe that the Constitution is a document that spells out what the government is not allowed to do. We believe that those first 10 amendments known as the Bill of Rights are unassailable by any branch of government.

The government was set up so each branch would provide checks and balances on the other branches. No branch of the government was set up to check the rights of the people.

Any time the people’s rights are infringed, be they through the Patriot Act or the gun laws enacted in Colorado this year, the ultimate outcome is the furthering of tyranny in the form of a too-powerful government.

Ben Franklin said it best: “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”



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