Email letters, March 5, 2014

We restrict energy companies but disregard auto emissions

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about air quality both in the Grand Valley of Mesa County and the state of Colorado in general. The main ongoing concern is ozone levels exceeding EPA standards. This is not a surprise; there are literally thousands of vehicles operating in the Grand Valley and virtually millions of vehicles along the Front Range. These gasoline-powered vehicles operate seven days a week, emitting carbon emissions that contribute to the ozone formation in the atmosphere.

In contrast, the oil and gas industry is operating approximately 60 rigs in Colorado with eight of those rigs on the Western Slope. Currently,  no rigs operate in Mesa County. So the Air Quality Control Commission takes up the issue, and what is their recommendation along with that of many environmental groups? Let’s establish even more restrictions on oil and gas drilling rather than concentrate on dealing with the problem created by millions of gasoline-burning vehicles. I’m sorry, but the logic escapes me.


The current administration in Washington, D.C. has taken up the banner of renewable energy and has spent more than $300 million subsidizing the solar industry on the premise of creating new jobs while helping to improve air quality. If the administration had, instead, invested the money lost on solar in constructing Compressed Natural Gas infrastructure, just the amounts lost on Solyndra in California and Abound Solar in Colorado alone could have gone a very long way to establishing the CNG infrastructure in Colorado, and we would have something to show for the money instead of just environmental cleanup sites left behind by the failed solar companies.

With the infrastructure in place ready to serve CNG-fueled vehicles, we would see many more vehicles converted to its use and the air quality would actually improve with each vehicle conversion or vehicle replaced by a CNG vehicle. More regulations on the oil and gas industry can only give a minimal promise of improved air quality in comparison.

As the private-vehicle fleet in the country continues to convert to CNG usage, one thing is also true. We will need to develop ongoing sources of fuel to service the CNG vehicles, which means we will have to drill and frack natural gas wells. However, the more restrictions we place on the drilling in Colorado, the more we will depend on importing the fuel from other states. Again, the logic escapes me.

Opponents of drilling and fracking continue to whip up hysteria over the issue, while the truth is more than 55,000 wells have been drilled and fracked in Colorado over the years without one confirmed case of groundwater contamination and the ongoing improvement in technology minimizes the impact on the surface lands and air quality. CNG represents our best and most feasible solution to the air-quality issue until industry can develop a cleaner and yet feasible mode of transportation.

DUNCAN MCARTHUR

Grand Junction

Feds want to regulate everything

I lived in Grand Junction since it was nothing more than a truck stop/train depot halfway to Salt Lake City from Denver. Farming or mining were the major sources of income. Malls didn’t exist, strip or otherwise.

It would seem with a huge growth of population in the community (it used to be just a town), we have developed quite a few “potholes” along the way. Our children are being raised by influences outside our family that may not be something with which we agree. Political correctness amends our point of view so many times a day that “getting a straight answer out of folk” isn’t as easy as it once was. Our Politicians lie and to us it’s a “misspeak.” We lie to them and it’s a felony.

Disregard for the military and our veterans is accepted by our politicians and our neighbors? Groups whine about ethnic inequality because they don’t have their own place provided by public funds. Now, we worry more about pounding money down a rathole called the Avalon and where the Biking hotspots are than how many jobs we have lost due to government regulators and the EPA being used as political weapons against citizens.

The government is being sought as the answer to all our problems, whereas the process we have used for years is more efficient and less costly. The money spent on things such as Obamacare could have supported Social Security for 20 years and done what for veterans? Now we have skiers bring in more drugs, meth labs are the new home business, and imports include illegal aliens and pot.

Apparently if the government bans it, we won’t have it? They should try that on the previous list. Wildlife access is being taken from us by government agencies.  Energy companies are being regulated off the property we all have claim to at a rate never before seen; they need to regulate everything, it would seem. Instead we are turning to gambling outlets, panhandling and the government for an income. It would seem people that work for a living are being replaced by people who vote for a living.

So, what number would we call to repair these “potholes” in society? Is there one for responsibility, honesty, and prevention of stupidity? 555-WAKE UP AMERICA! Vote early, vote often and vote for freedom from government regulation.

RICHARD BRIGHT
Grand Junction

Exactly what Grand Valley jobs did monument support?

In The Daily Sentinel March 4, Gary Harmon reports on a National Park Service study that claims Colorado National Monument “generated more than $26.5 million in economic activity” in the Grand Valley.in 2012.
 
That’s an impressive number, but how verifiable is it?  The study mentions that the monument supported 356 Grand Valley jobs that year.  That’s a very precise number, so obviously those jobs are identifiable.  May we know what the specific jobs are, and how that number is derived?
 
Beyond the salaries for the 356 jobs, that leaves a lot of economic benefit going somewhere.  What is the dollar figure for that benefit, exactly where did it go and how are those facts derived?
 
RICHARD RININGER
Grand Junction

Immigrants need solutions, not political game

I’m calling on Rep. Scott Tipton to stand up for families and tell Speaker John Boehner to act on immigration reform.

Boehner could call a successful vote on immigration today, but instead he’s using every excuse in the book to avoid moving forward.

Millions of the immigrants in our country want to earn citizenship. But under our broken immigration laws, they have no way to earn it. They need solutions, not more political games from Boehner and Republicans.

I hope Tipton will do the right thing and tell Boehner that we need him to let the House vote on reform now.

MAUREEN O’DONNELL

Bayfield

Liberal and progressive are interchangeable terms

In seven paragraphs of New Age babble, Diane Hower (March 2) informs us that although she couldn’t be bothered to even stop in Grand Junction before, she now lives among us and is here to show us bumpkins the way.  Yes, fellow rubes, we no longer have to “live in our past and settle for mediocrity.”

How? Through collaboration, of course. Hower tells us that in the progressive place from which she comes, the good, smart people get together and collaborate for the “common good.” But on planet progressive, collaboration really means the elites do the talking and the serfs sit there and take it until they finally give in and agree to go along. She also pushes the fiction that “progressive does not mean liberal” and that progressive stands for “progress, to move forward.” Gosh, who’s against progress?

Actually, liberal and progressive are interchangeable terms, both in use and meaning, stemming from that same branch of the noxious weed of collectivism. And, if one defines progress as gutting the Constitution and installing unaccountable, all powerful government, then, yes, that also defines progressivism.
 
GARY H. CAPE
Austin
 
Changing monument to park status will increase pollution, crime

After reading the front-page article on Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Sentinel, it’s apparent that the motivating catalyst for wanting to change our monument to a park is about the money. It supports a theory I’ve had for sometime now. That well intentioned people like Teri Chappell and others, view the monument only through the prism of a dollar bill.

Remember, the road to perdition is paved with similarly well-intentioned people. They speak of the “Big Boon” economically and at the same time conveniently fail to acknowledge that any such boon is always accompanied by some sort of bust. They are the kind of naive  good o’l souls who live in denial about the negative effects of their efforts. And don’t think for one minute that there won’t be any negative consequences.

For several years now I’ve religiously followed the many arguments both pro and con about this monument to park status. The pros say it’s the panacea for the valley’s problems. The cons point out that it will create as many or more problems than it will solve. The pros tell us that they are pursuing this in John Otto’s name of fulfilling his dream of a park. The cons argue that while he may have envisioned a park one day, it’s doubtful that he would have embraced the way it’s being exploited for a buck. The pros cite the increased numbers of visitors and the revenue from the same, as compiled by the monument superintendent, Lisa Eckert. The cons reply that if it is doing so well and setting new attendance and revenue records as a monument, why then the urgency to make it a park?

We’ve just come out of winter with heavy inversion days that lasted for weeks, and people complained of the pollution from cars and chimneys. We will soon go into our annual spring burning of ditches and fields for agricultural needs. And again we will hear the outcry about haze and pollution. But little thought is given about the increased pollution and crime that will come from more cars and people when the monument becomes a park. 

The inversion is somewhat beyond our control, and the agricultural burning is a vital necessity to our vineyards, orchards, and farmland. Making the monument into a park is not a vital necessity, it’s a want or desire. 

In the final analysis it seems they are hell-bent on following through. Perhaps, after Terri Chappell has had to remove numerous empty water bottles from the bottom of “Cold Shivers Point,”  litter along “Rim Rock Drive” and graffiti from the sandstone walls and has had to fill in pot holes in the road from increased traffic, they’ll acknowledge that their end did not justify their means. 

Should this commentary see the light of day in the Sentinel, I encourage and challenge the readers, that if my analysis seems reasonable and my wisdom of the subject to be sound, then please contact legislators Mark Udall and Scott Tipton. Tell them that, supporters of this monument to park status have failed to present a strong prima facie case for the vital necessity to change our monument to a park.

History has shown there is really no need to reinvent the wheel. In short, leave it be.

DUANE HARRIS
Grand Junction


Governor applauded for stance on wildlife issues in Colorado

I applaud the governor for standing up to the federal agencies. The land is within the state and the wildlife is property of and managed by the state; therefore, it is time the state takes back the control of our land and our wildlife issues.

The Endangered Species Act has been hijacked by some so-called “environmental” groups at the national level as a way to stop all the activities they don’t like on public and private lands. This will continue until the states stand up and say that enough is enough.

We appreciate that Gov. Hickenlooper recognizes Colorado can and will protect these species while we continue utilizing the land and resources. Those groups who abuse the ESA as a tool to stop production are not truly concerned with protecting the species, or they would recognize and support the value of all the work that landowners, industries and local governments have
done to protect the species without listings.

Listing a species as threatened or endangered does not put habitat conservation on the ground like the local landowners and partnerships do.

As a partner in the on-the-ground conservation efforts, the state has contributed $40 million to conservation easements. As partners, the landowners have contributed additional dollars through time and actual conservation projects such as installing miles of stock water lines to improve grazing management and deferring grazing near leks for the benefit
of the grouse. They have also forgone valuable property improvements and structures that could be detrimental to grouse or their habitat.

Landowners and industries will gladly work with partners to help protect the species as long as they are free to do it in the way that works for them and the grouse. Local landowners know more about what the land and wildlife need than federal agencies or their staff do.

LEONARD THOMPSON
President, White River Conservation District
Meeker


Current administration increases nation’s dependency on others

The administration in Washington and local governments are supposed to look at doing for the good and security of our nation. President Obama awhile back said that America needs to reduce our military and arms so every country can be more equal. Common sense has always been that the guy with the big stick has the negotiating advantage.

Washington has positioned America to depend on other countries for the majority of the goods we use. It’s by our own work ethics that our jobs have been given to someone else. Right now Russia is working on taking over the weak countries and preparing to choke off the necessities of others.

RAFAEL A. SALAZ
Grand Junction

Rep. Wright deserves thanks for helping school districts

I would like to thank State Rep. Jared Wright for his efforts on behalf of Mesa County schools during the current legislative session in Denver.

After state bureaucrats gave notice that they would no longer approve District 51’s longstanding cooperative agreements with De Beque School District and Plateau Valley School District for delivery of special education services to students with disabilities, the districts asked Wright for help. He responded enthusiastically and introduced House Bill 14-1208 to protect these common-sense arrangements.

He also engaged with colleagues of both political parties and with educational interest groups and lobbyists to achieve bipartisan sponsorship and support for the bill. As a result, it passed the House, and it is expected to clear the Senate later this month and go on to the governor’s desk.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Wright over the past several months in connection with this initiative. He has been gracious, forthright, articulate, pragmatic and hard-working. Though he evidently has no friend in this newspaper, I would be pleased to count him as one of mine.

DAVID PRICE
Grand Junction

Boehner, Tipton must act on behalf of immigrants

Millions of immigrants need Rep. Scott Tipton to act.

Speaker Boehner could pass immigration in the House today, but instead he comes up with excuses on why he can’t move forward, like blaming President Obama.

Immigrants just want a chance to become a part of this country, but under our broken immigration system, have no way of doing so. We need a bill from Speaker Boehner, not more excuses and games.

Americans are tired of inaction. That’s why I’m urging Rep. Scott Tipton to stand for immigration reform and tell Speaker Boehner to let immigration come to a vote!

OMAR DAVILA
Glenwood Springs

It’s time to repeal Affordable Care Act

Dr. Michael Pramenko’s column on Obamacare asked for serious options for making the ACA better. I have one: Repeal it, get rid of it, strike it from our laws, whatever it takes to rid ourselves of this monstrosity of which one of the more intelligent members of Dr. Pramenko’s party said we would have to pass the law to see what was in it.

Clearly, it doesn’t bother the good doctor that almost 6 million people have lost their health care to this point and tens of millions more will lose their health care when the employer mandate kicks in. It doesn’t seem to bother him about all of the lies that were told to get this thing passed. This law is like taking fecal matter and using it to try to make angel food cake; it is going to smell and taste bad no matter what is done with it.

The essence of Obamacare is that in an effort to insure the uninsured we must make the insured uninsured and then make them pay more to be insured again so that the original uninsured can be insured for free. Though there will always be a certain amount of uninsured people.

Here is the idea. Let’s repeal it and get the federal government and the IRS out of the health care business. Anything that the federal government touches only becomes worse and costs more at a time when we can’t afford it as is.

Let’s turn health care back to the state or local entities and have lifetime health savings accounts, the ability to shop across state lines for insurance, tort reform, and any of the other many ideas that are out there in places other than Washington, D.C. At this point, doing nothing would have been preferable to what we have now.

MICHAEL HIGGIN
S
Grand Junction

Monument may not compare well with expansive parks

In its editorial pages, the Sentinel has been forthright about its support for designating Colorado National Monument as a national park. The case might be summed up as, “It can’t hurt.”

But the news pages should really be a bit more diligent when reporting on the subject, since we continue to have winks and nudges sent our way about the economic benefits of national parkhood — the recent front-page story reporting the Park Service’s annual impact estimates being a case in point.

Tourism officials say the monument “might be able to capture a significant international market” because “26 international tours a year arrive at Grand Junction Regional Airport and take buses directly to national parks in Utah without stopping.”

Diligent reporting might look at tour bus figures for the monument over the past five years. It would discover the numbers of buses have declined on average by more than 10 percent in the past two years, compared to the previous three before the extra promotion credited in the story.

But let’s say every single international tour operator was suddenly persuaded to add an overnight to its Canyonlands tours. At full capacity, these tours might leave another $150,000 in the valley, spent mostly on hotels and food.

It wouldn’t hurt. Or would it?

Suppose these visitors, after a night on Horizon Drive and a run over Rim Rock Drive, land in Moab at a resort and then move on to the historic lodges at Bryce, Zion and the Grand Canyon. What will their tour surveys and social media postings say about the trip?

Right now, the monument is regarded as an undiscovered treasure. Wait until it has to live up to the hype and the comparisons with more expansive national parks.

It might hurt.

CHARLIE QUIMBY
Grand Junction

County’s BMX commitment benefits only a few residents

I don’t know who is pulling the strings on this three-member Board of County Commissioners to have them have the audacity to make an initial $1.3 million commitment to build a BMX track at the county fairgrounds.

This will benefit a small percentage of the residents of this county and we the taxpayers will be the landlord. We will no doubt have to maintain this infrastructure (oh yes, there is more to come, not just a track) and hire a staff to run it.

As an 84-year-old senior,  I agree with the recent letter that stated the local Senior Center was “pathetic.” Why are we not considering commitments to our seniors or go the Fruita route and spend our money on a Recreation Center that would benefit us all rather than a possible Olympic track for the favored few? 

Oh, well, at 84 I probably won’t be around to watch members of this audacious board make more presumptive decisions without any impute or consideration for the wishes of their constituents, but then again they seem to do this at a pretty good clip. 

In closing this letter, I want to take the opportunity to point out this is one of the best reasons for increasing the number on the board, more chance to get better government representing more views.  (We did this in Moab when I was a resident there and it helps, my friend).  Amen.

ADAIR WHITE
Grand Junction

Obamacare destroying America’s health care system

In 56 years I’ve never seen anything more corrupt than Obamacare. Even its very name (Affordable Care Act) speaks of its lying nature.

We have part of America either going without health insurance or paying huge premiums and huge deductibles. Many of these Americans have gone bankrupt and lost their homes and businesses over medical costs and now Obamacare is threatening fines and attacking the youth of our nation.

But Uncle Sam makes damn sure these same Americans are massively taxed to subsidize every government worker’s health insurance and taxed to pay for millions of deadbeat parents and their children’s medical costs. We’re also taxed to pay for an endless line of Medicaid recipients and medical bills for Illegals, and we now pay to subsidize millions more medical plans for low-income people. Plus, we must make up for the Medicare shortfall.

Obamacare is nothing but a biased handout, and it’s destroying America’s health care system. So, what do we do? There’s only one way to make this fair so everybody helps pay (including deadbeats). We must add a 10 percent? VAT (Value Added Tax) on everything we buy to pay for all Americans to have a mediocre government-run health care system (I hate saying that because it’s so un-American).

Then we can let working America buy extra plans to up the quality of their medical coverage if they want. It’s the ONLY way and there is no turning back. Traditional America is over and it’s all because we have a godless Democrat Party who’s not based on America working.

Nope! They live off promoting handouts and feel no guilt while they constantly vote to take money from other people’s bank accounts and spend it on themselves and their own interests!

MIKE BAMBINO
Grand Junction

Schools should teach kindness classes

When will our public education leaders react to the violence and bullying by our children and youth? All American schools should have a required “Kindness to Others” class for grades preschool to 12, especially when military programs teach high school students how to aim a gun.

Unfortunately, no standardized academic test will ever measure a heart; however, the prison census will.

(I am a substitute teacher, grades K-12 for a Metro-Denver turn-around school district with 13 percent Caucasians.)

MIKE SAWYER
Denver

Buck-Gardner switch does not show even baby-step to middle

The answer to the question posed by Wednesday’s editorial – “Move to the middle?” – is “NO.”  The Buck-Gardner “switch” substitutes form (Gardner’s “boyish good-looks”) for substance (Buck’s “baggage of churlish campaign rhetoric”) and is not even a baby-step toward “the middle.”
 
Rather, Gardner is running for the express purpose of depriving Coloradans of access to affordable health insurance and/or health care.  Moreover, as the 4th C.D.’s “tea party” Congressman, Gardner has consistently:
 
Been a “foot soldier” in Republicans’ “war on women” by supporting the twice-defeated “personhood” ballot initiative to unconstitutionally outlaw abortion (even in cases of rape and incest) and to ban many forms of contraception;
 
Voted for the “Ryan Budget”, which would “end Medicare as we know it.” privatize Social Security, cut education funding, and give millionaires another $125,000 tax cut;
 
Like the 3rd C.D.’s Scott Tipton, threatened “the full faith and credit” of the U.S. - holding our solvency hostage for Social Security, Medicare, or “ObamaCare”           cuts, and causing the largest one-day increase in our national debt in history;
 
Like Tipton, voted 40+ times to repeal, replace, and/or defund “ObamaCare” – while failing to support the “American Jobs Act”;
 
Like Tipton, irresponsibly voted to “shut down” the federal government – costing our economy some $28 billion – while denying any responsibility therefor;
 
Opposed federal aid to natural disaster victims—making it harder for Colorado to receive needed flood relief;
 
Opposed repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”—the military’s discriminatory ban on openly LGBT volunteer-soldiers from serving our country; and
 
Opposed the “DREAM Act,” which would give young undocumented immigrants brought here illegally as children a “pathway to citizenship,” and instead voted to treat them as criminals and accelerate their deportation.
 
Clearly, Gardner cannot represent Colorado’s “purple state” values like Mark Udall does.

BILL HUGENBERG

Grand Junction

 

 


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