Email letters, July 22, 2013

Fracking can indeed be carried out safely

Bill Hugenberg’s July 16 letter made many false claims while attacking the bipartisan consensus in favor of increased domestic oil and gas production.

He claims only the industry says hydraulic fracturing is safe, and that our operations are unregulated. Not true. Scientists, engineers, state regulators and senior officials in the Obama administration have concluded many times hydraulic fracturing is fundamentally safe. For example, Colorado’s own Ken Salazar, President Obama’s first Interior Secretary, has said hydraulic fracturing “can be done safely and has been done safely hundreds of thousands of times.”

His successor at Interior, Sally Jewell, recently said “fracking has been done safely for decades.”

Not only that, the U.S. Department of Energy and an interstate regulatory group called the Ground Water Protection Council have concluded oil and gas production in the U.S. is “regulated under a complex set of federal, state, and local laws that address every aspect of exploration and operation.”

As for fracturing fluids, which are 99.5 percent water and sand, Hugenberg’s fear mongering is contradicted by the experts at DOE and GWPC.  They say the roughly 0.5 percent of chemical additives “are safe when properly handled” and many are “common chemicals which people regularly encounter in everyday life,” such as detergents and disinfectants.

Hugenberg’s alarmism on methane emissions is also misplaced. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently concluded fugitive methane emissions from producing and delivering natural gas have fallen roughly 20 percent since 1990, because of industry actions.

Finally, Hugenberg repeated an allegation about well casings from anti-industry filmmaker Josh Fox, who falsely cited the Society of Petroleum Engineers as his source. Here’s how the SPE responded: “Neither SPE, nor anyone representing SPE, has ever made the claim.”

The facts show domestic oil and gas development is safe, which is why it enjoys bipartisan support.

COURTNEY LOPER

Field Director
Mountain States Energy in Depth
Denver

Extend public comment period on Dominguez-Escalante plan

I’d like to see the Delta &and Mesa County commissioners ask for an extension of the public comment period for the Dominguez-Escalante DRMP.  In addition to “life” happening, the BLM has kept us very busy this year, with attending meetings and reviewing/commenting on its GJFO DRMP. 

Then, while that was going on, it released the D-E NCA DRMP.  This has been a nonstop process for many of us, and now there are only about 30 days left to comment on the D-E DRMP. 
This DRMP is another very important issue for our community and public land users.  I hope the public will be involved and engage in this DRMP, as it is as important as the GJFO DRMP and could have significant negative impacts on our access if your concerns are not submitted to the BLM by the deadline.

TRACEY ROHDE
Loma

Bennet, Tipton deserve thanks for protecting Hermosa Creek watershed

I want to thank Sen. Bennet and Rep. Tipton for their support for protecting the Hermosa Creek watershed near Durango. A bipartisan bill has been put together to protect some backcountry areas for hunters, anglers and hikers while ensuring that ranching, mountain biking, ATVing and other means of public use access are also protected.

This kind of collaborative approach is a model for all of Colorado and the West. If Congress acts on this bill, it would protect our outdoor heritage and ensure we can continue to balance energy development with conservation of Colorado’s prized public lands   for the good of our sporting traditions, recreation economy and future generations.

Kudos to Bennet and Tipton.

TILDA EVANS
Palisade

Webb’s reporting illuminates why citizens should be concerned over surveillance

Dennis Webb’s coverage of Gen. Alexander’s defense of unwarranted surveillance highlights the ludicrous assertions of those running the illegal and dangerous surveillance programs threatening our society.

Belief that security is improved by ignoring warrant requirements in the Fourth Amendment is obliterated when our experience thus far is considered. Did federal surveillance stop September 11, the Boston bombing or the Fort Hood shooter? According to numerous sources, including former Qwest CEO John Nacchios, surveillance began in 2001 prior to September 11.

The fact that NSA personnel are not “listening in” on conversations is an intentional diversion from their recording of every single form of communication that occurs at the mega surveillance data center in Bluffdale, Utah. 

Alexander falsely assuages concerns about surveillance by denying human “listening” while they record and analyze all communication with computer software. Claims of “restrictions” on the use of collected data are patently false: NSA insider Edward Snowden confirmed they are restricted by themselves only.

Now, if law enforcement could not obtain warrants for surveillance, apologists for the regime might be believable. But in 33 years, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued 33,942 warrants for surveillance and denied 11. Surveillance warrants are granted 99.97% of the time! Legitimate law enforcement has no roadblock to surveillance when individuals are even remotely suspected of plotting violence.

The purpose of warranted surveillance is to provide a check against aggressive and illegitimate police powers turned against law-abiding citizens. Federal IRS targeting of “patriot” groups and designation of “Constitutionalists” as potential terrorists confirm abuse of such unchecked power is occurring.

Due process in our republic is designed to stop an out-of-control regime bent on retaining control of a teetering system that more and more people are becoming aware of as the destroyer of culture, prosperity and security. 

DAVID L. COX
Palisade

Sky may not have fallen, but irresponsible people still create damage

In the July 18 Sentinel, Cheryl Conrod said the sky didn’t fall after the legalization of dope, homosexual marriage, abortion and Sunday liquor sales. People were saying the same thing 2,600 years ago in Ezekiel 12:22. The flawed logic of this thinking is explained in 2 Peter 3:3-9. God, being patient, is giving us time to wake up.

Some say that something is true because it’s in the Bible; but more to the point, things are in the Bible because they are true. God doesn’t punish homosexual behavior to prevent anyone from enjoying himself or herself. Hebrews 11:25 shows he wants us to renounce destructive passing pleasures and gain everlasting pleasures instead.

Our sexual desires come from God, and the Bible tells us how to fulfill those desires. But Satan takes the good things of God, twists them into something harmful and then deceptively wraps them in fool’s gold. Sexual immorality and recreational drugs can bring momentary happiness, but God knows we’re not made that way. We can seek temporary happiness followed by permanent regret, or permanent happiness with no regrets.

I’m glad the sky hasn’t fallen on everyone, but ask the parents whose child was killed by a drunk driver if their sky remains firmly overhead. Ask the families destroyed by alcohol or those whose bodies and souls are scarred by abortion. Consider the victims of heart disease and cancer who didn’t get the care they needed because the vast majority of resources are given to those who embrace the homosexual lifestyle. Romans 14:7 says that everything we do affects someone else.

It’s a free country. We have freedom to do what’s right or freedom to do what leads to slavery. If enough choose slavery, it affects me, as well. There’s a reason “patriots” are for some individual freedoms but against others.

GARY YEAGER
Grand Junction

Beetle-killed trees adding to risk of fires

Wait, seriously. Beverly Kelly’s letter on July 19 basically stated that because logging has been limited and habitat for some animals protected for a few years, our forests have become clogged, resulting in the monster forest fires we’ve witnessed recently.

Based on that premise, logging and a lack of habitat protection are the sole delimiters to healthy forests and
healthy animals. What about all the thousands upon thousands of years when there wasn’t any logging and habitat protection, because there weren’t any loggers — or people for that matter?

Shouldn’t all the forests all over the world have burned down in a centuries-long raging inferno that killed everything in the forests because logging hadn’t been invented and habitat protection defined?

Seriously, though, forest management is barely 100 years old and ever-evolving. Forests are clogged now because for decades foresters wouldn’t allow fires to burn, as they have in nature for hundreds of centuries, naturally clearing out fuels.

Oh, yeah, and because of millions of beetle-killed trees. I learned all this when I was in the Forest Service.

JEROME SANTIAGO

Grand Junction

Martin/Zimmerman case not really a black/white one

It’s a bit ironic that a black person who was shot got any notoriety at all, because the shooter’s skin was a shade lighter, but not white. One person had an English surname, the other a German. So, how fine do we have to parse differences?

On forms about ethnic origin there’s a place for African, Asian, Hispanic, white, etc. It is not a black and white world. We all have had moments when because of who we are or what we look like, we get “profiled.” Join the club.

So, in more technical terms: A Hispanic shot an African. By default, everyone who isn’t black takes the fall. That’s not reverse discrimination, that’s reverse inclusion. This sounds like the prelude to an ethnic war after “white” people disown Hispanics. There is no good reason for this because no one but those present at the crime knows what
happened, and one is dead.

The best thing the United States did after capturing Mexico City and winning the Mexican War was to allow Mexico to remain autonomous. Imagine the complications of the Civil War yet unresolved with the country of Mexico annexed! It would have solved the border problem by default, but the
blending of cultures would still have been difficult. This is a better time and place.

If this is the ant hill that ideologues who cry “racial profiling” by someone a shade lighter, so be it. It sounds more like ”the pot calling the kettle ... BLACK.”

We all live with our differences. We all want respect. Celebrate our differences, but not in a case that really isn’t black and white ... in more ways than one.

FRED STEWART
Grand Junction

Trayvon Martin, at 17, was not really a child 

Let’s think about a ‘seventeen year-old child!    By comparison, that’s a little older than Audie Murphy actually was when he earned his medals.  I never heard of anyone calling Audie a ‘child’! 

Of course, as Will Rogers said, ‘All I know is what I read in the papers’, and they carefully never said how much over seventeen Martin was.  In fact, just guessing from ‘news’ pictures, I’d have to estimate him at about nine or ten. Those who’d care to look will find that plenty of seventeen-year-olds, looking for a certain source of a monthly check in the mid-forties, lied just like Audie did to get into the Armed Forces.

Other references seem equally slanted.  Martin’s height was very briefly referred to on TV as ’ - - five feet ten - -’ and another as ’ - - about six feet - -’.  Either way, pretty substantial size.  And his weight - - - ?  I heard very briefly - - once - -  only once - - what sounded like ’ - - about a hundred-seventy - - .’  Not very clear but sounded like a fair weight for a nearly six-foot, seventeen year-old young man.  And I’d bet the coroner weighed him, wouldn’t you?  Wonder why we never heard.

Our president’s latest comment on the matter, - - that HE, Our President, ’ - -  might have been Martin.’  Surely our president did not mean to imply that , as a nearly eighteen-year-old, almost six feet tall, young man he sat astride a short, flabby, white, middle-aged, community-volunteer, pounding the head on the ground until he was stopped.   

And now our fearless attorney general proposes to, ignoring the intent of ‘double jeopardy’, drag it out for possible political circus and a couple million more taxpayers’ dollars.
 
RAY LASHLEY

Grand Junction

Sentinel had good editorial concerning economic development

I applaud the Sentinel’s editorial on Thursday, framing our ongoing debate over what would best frame economic development for the Grand Valley.

Whether conservative or liberal, I believe we all want what we feel is best for our community. Of course, we want to attract more jobs and business, because the lack thereof has been reflected in our historically poor report card for domestic violence, alcoholism, drug abuse and a host of other social ills symptomatic of a scarcity of jobs that pay a decent wage.
But we also scored low in a recent report on Mesa County’s rates of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, in many cases reflective of unhealthy lifestyles.

To be an economically strong community, we also must be a vibrant community. That means that the people who reside here have adequate recreation, transportation and cultural opportunities, not to mention sound education for our children.

After all, the people who live here are our human capital, and to the degree that we invest in the underpinnings of their well being and personal growth, we will thrive, because those are the kinds of communities that attract all that is good.

PAULA M. ANDERSON

Grand Junction

Some profit from racism

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spent his life trying to peacefully bring an end to racism. Today we have racism profiteers such as Al Sharpton and others who enrich themselves by keeping racism alive. How terribly sad!

L.W. HUNLEY

Grand Junction

Tar sands mine now is relatively close to Grand Junction

The first Tar Sands mine in the U.S. is being prepped fewer than 50 miles from Grand Junction. Tar sands are the most odious, expensive, low-grade, water-wasting petroleum product on the planet. The mining and processing of it is one of the most labor-intensive and destructive in the industry.

Once again, American resources have been leased on the cheap by a foreign country (Canada). Many of the jobs will be filled by out-of-area workers. Borders are largely artificial constructs. In fact, the mine is just across the border in Utah. It’s pretty isolated.

Why get involved? Because with nature we may not be downwind, but we are all downstream. You can clearly
see the lights of Mack from the site. However, Moab and Green River are not as close as us. Filthy and inefficient operations such as these can be stopped, but they take people.

It’s so far tucked away in the Bookcliffs that most Utahns can’t readily make it for onsite rallies and demonstrations. This project will take Coloradans to be successful. Local groups should not be silly and say they can’t get involved because it’s out of state. It’s our backyard and ecosystem. It’s worthy of our efforts.

For more information check out the Facebook page @ “Tar Sands Resistance, or call 245-3720. Now, let’s get busy.

ERIC L. NIEDERKRUGER

Grand Junction

Ashby wrote great article on chamber

Thanks, Sentinel, for publishing Charles Ashby’s Sunday’s article on the chamber. It was real journalism, no judgments, no undercurrent support of either side, just a great article. This is quite refreshing after reading some of Gary Harmon’s slanted works. And, today’s editorial ... great.

VERA MULDER

Fruita

Receipt of Pulitzer not all that significant

I find it interesting that Jerry Halpin uses the fact that Gary Trudeau received a Pulitzer Prize for his inane “comic” strip to support the publication of Doonesbury.

Obama received the Nobel Peace prize less than a year after his election for doing nothing, and after five and a half years he still hasn’t done anything to earn the prize.

I also only read the ones that appeal to me, which does not include Doonesbury. I don’t care, though, that it is published, because I just ignore it.

RICHARD BLOSSER
Grand Junction

Sentinel still ought to ‘bury’ Doonesbury

Apparently, one of your readers took issue with my (in his words) “plea” to relocate or discontinue the “Doonesbury” comic strip. He offers evidence of Trudeau’s supposed talents by indicating he has won a Pulitzer previously in the last century, and Gerald Ford’s praises also in the same timeframe. If this is all he can provide, it hasn’t colored my opinion one bit.

Like the Oscars and most other awards, a Pulitzer has long ago become an award for political correctness rather than any displays of real talent. (Can you say “Barak Obama”?) And I have to wonder if the Gerald Ford comment was made before or after he fell getting off an airplane and cracked his head. Just wondering.

The reader then criticizes public places for offering Fox News on its TV’s by indicating “Fox has been shown to be the least informative of all news broadcasts” without offering any real evidence. Really? It’s only been the top rated cable network for many years. He can look it up for himself if he wishes to verify this claim.

Also, I see that Trudeau just had his 65th birthday, so in the spirit of “fair and balanced” your responder to my “plea” has my permission to add my name to any birthday cards he may wish to send. But I still ask that the Sentinel follows that not very conservative Denver Post’s lead and “bury” Doonesbury.

JACK HOUSEMAN
Grand Junction


Detroit on same road as country

I believe Detroit going bankrupt is exactly the same road the United States is on now, and we all know whoooo is causing it!
 
BOB STRONG
Montrose

Article on Mormons did not appear online

You had an article on disillusioned Mormons on the front page, but not the web page. Is that intentional to dissuade comments?

Like most religions, it depends on an anointed human able to converse withthe entity or messengers. By design, this anointed is still imperfect and
must carry a message, without prejudice, to others. It is then studied, debated and finally written down by consensus [of humans]. Warranty language is added: “divine inspiration”, doubters are inviting punishment either by god or man or both. Once this human element is realized, it becomes an disillusionment to some.

If a society is defeated and extinguished, it becomes an old superstition belief (else why did their god allow it to become extinct or that god was less than omnipotent). Science (knowledge) is always a nemesis because the older tales of man’s history and/or beginning to not add up to time, dominance of life forms, or other facts becoming facts with more knowledge.

In the cosmos, earth is a sub-atomic speck of insignificance, but the creation of this entire thing is purported to be an omnipotent being, unbounded by time (alpha/omega), that has it all ‘scoped out without end; and, who, planned our failure by providing temptation and knowing the outcome and the outcome of every being he has played or “guided” (Abraham). From a “vengeful” to a “forgiving”, entity he matured and finally for one branch, had a son to help process the sin of his making plus acquired on our own.
It makes one wonder how anyone could become disillusioned with all that man interpretation and ‘divine things’ knowledge had not been developed.

While man’s recognition of his mortality is a burden of knowledge (original sin), religion does give comfort to face for many. It is, however, a Machiavellian tool that some men subjugated other men by dogma or creating new versions.

BOB ARRINGTON
Parachute

Both city, county officials deserve citizens’ support

Thanks to Janet Rowland for her column in Sunday’s Sentinel. She put into perspective the roles and responsibilities of county government and its cooperative role with city government. 

Perhaps we can now allow both types of government to proceed with the roles they were elected to do in running the county and city in this, the best, place to live.  We need to stop carping on how they are managing us. 

I personally feel they are doing a great job.  They have difficult decisions to make and we need to provide our support. 

JOAN KELSEY
Grand Junction



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With Norway-based FRAM Exploration reportedly poised to drill hundreds of natural gas wells near Whitewater and the source of Grand Junction’s water supply, the Sentinel has been responsibly chronicling the potential “Health and Welfare” risks to local water- and air-sheds associated with drilling operations (“Fracking boom causes concerns; Grand Junction doctor worries about exposure to chemicals in water”, July 23).

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the familiar “propaganda war” over oil and gas regulations – which previously peaked when the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission was revising its rules – is now resuming with peculiar local intensity.  Thus,  curiously, my cautionary letter – “Boosters of exporting liquified natural gas should consider environmental costs” (published only on-line) – drew “rapid responses” from an industry apologist in Nacogdoches, Texas, and now from Mountain States Energy’s chief lobbyist in Denver!

However, Courtney Loper’s response—“Hydraulic fracking can indeed be conducted in a safe manner” (July 23) – both disingenuously distorted my letter and amply conceded – by failing to address—my fundamental points. 

Thus, again, if hydraulic fracturing is so “safe”, why is it exempt from the Safe Drinking Water and Clean Water Acts?  If non-toxic fracking fluids are available, why do we still allow toxic fluids (see “Toxic chemicals in fracking fluids”, Sentinel, July 23).  The answer:  money.

The industry seeks to maximize short-term profits by exploiting a window of opportunity to sell cheap natural gas (now $3.68 per ccm) for $14.00+ by liquefying it and shipping it to Japan, while minimizing its own “costs of compliance” with responsible regulations by shifting those costs onto Mesa County taxpayers.  Thus, the question remains whether our current regulatory regime can adequately cope with the aftermaths of another temporary “boom” in drilling in general—and “fracking” in particular.

Therefore, local elected officials should heed Dr. Pramenko’s warnings.

Loper seems pretty versed in Orwell’s doublespeak. “...fracturing is fundamentally safe” does not mean it is safe in all cases. According to Dr. Ingraffea, the industry’s own number put the failure rate of wells at 6.2% and 60% in 28 years. Failure is primarily coming from cement work. That failure rate of 6.2%, for 514,637 producing gas wells in 2011, is 31,908 failures. So she can “crow” about Salazar saying “it has been done safely hundreds of thousand times.” In 28 years that number of failures will go to 308,782 failures on the 514,637 wells. Then, people will say, (not Salazar, as he won’t be around) “wells failed hundreds of thousands times!”  Then the “decades” statement does not apply because the techniques of today’s drilling are far different than even a decade ago. From one side of the mouth industry touts the “new” technology of directional, multiwall pads and fracking in stages and then implies this has been done for “decades’.  The horizontal stage fracking alone puts far more stress on any one bore structure than any done in a bore a decade ago.
She talks of the layers of regulation, but as we found in BP’s gulf disaster, the cozy relationships and self writing of rules makes enforcement virtually non-existent. Then cherry picking numbers, she states fugitive methane emissions down 20% since 1990. So if they lost 16% of production in 1990 from 100,000 wells and they lost 12.8% off of 514,637 wells in 2011, they reduced the % loss by 20% but, as you can see, by the 5 fold increased production there is no reduction and actually a gain in total methane released. And, as reminder methane is 25 to 30 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. Net result: “The concentration of methane in the Earth’s atmosphere in 1998, expressed as a mole fraction, was 1745 nmol/mol (parts per billion, ppb). By 2008, however, global methane levels… had risen to 1800 nmol/mol.”
Then she comes with the old standard, “common household “chemical listing somewhat benign sounding “detergents and disinfectants” (complete with warning labels and what to do in emergency whatever) and leaving out the acids, carcinogens, hydrocarbons, which may only be 0.5% of the soup, but multiplied by the 4,000,000 gallons/charge of fluid is 20,000 gallons.
Same tired propaganda doublespeak and really didn’t stay on point to Hugenberg’s original comments.

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