Email Letters, May 9, 2012
BLM plan isn’t right
for oil shale development
I agree with The National Parks Conservation Association that the Bush-era plan be revised, and that the BLM’s preferred alternative allows far too many impacts. We should adopt a different alternative, one that would allow research only, and limit it to 34,740 acres in the Piceance and Uintah basins.
This “requires oil shale and tar sands companies to prove their technology works is economically viable, and is environmentally compatible with land, water and recreational needs.” These also must contain
reclamation standards and ensure that companies post adequate bonds for long-term protection of resources.
I disagree with the Mesa County commissioners, who argued production of oil from oil shale is technically and economically possible under the old 2.5 million acre Bush plan, but that the new 500,000 acre BLM plan would “essentially dismantle a reasonable and rational oil shale and tar sands program.” Some have made bloated resolutions claiming 8 trillion barrels of oil in the shale, more than six times the 1.5 trillion barrels that other Congressional agencies and the BLM estimate. Their Political rhetoric won’t trump science and the marketplace.
Historic “Black Sunday” reminds us we must prepare for much larger impacts of potential oil shale development than politicians acknowledge. Why should giant corporations like Shell Oil, which earned $7.2 billion in worldwide profits in just the third quarter of 2011, need reduced royalty rates or speculative leasing to move forward before acquiring rights to any federal land?
Oil Shale is again being touted as a way for the U.S. to achieve energy independence. Ask yourself why a nation seeking energy self-sufficiency has gasoline and other “Finished Petroleum Products” among its largest exports to sell to other countries? That makes no sense unless: Through the use of politicized government subsidies, you want to convert the public’s oil reserves into “Black Gold” bullion by the billions, to be siphoned off into corporate-owned oil companies and banks.
Obama has been bigger threat
to public lands than Romney
I read with great interest the opinion piece regarding public lands in the Western states by Bill Grant. I have no problem with the facts presented by Grant, as he appears to have a thorough grasp on the issue and is on top of past and pending legislation concerning a major issue to those of us living in the West.
I do however question the nexus he tries to make as to how we should vote in the upcoming presidential election, specifically against Mitt Romney, because he does not have a full understanding of the
issue. If this should be the case for a presidential election, I question how President Obama ever carried the vote in Colorado against a Westerner who obviously had a far better understanding of the value of our public lands.
I have no problem if Grant continues to advocate for the public lands protection, in fact, encourage it. I do however object to his attempt to invoke his personal political choice on the rest of us, especially since in
my opinion that in spite of 4 years in office, the current president has no better understanding of the issues than he did then.
This should not be a litmus test for what is surely one of the most important elections of our time.
Postal Service works to keep
rural post offices open
As this community is well aware, the U.S. Postal Service is facing budgetary challenges that have endangered rural post offices. Potential closures rightly concern local residents who depend on their post offices to receive paychecks, bills, medications and voting ballots. While the Postal Service must adapt to the 21st century, I believe it can be done in a more thoughtful way that does not compromise service standards and takes the voices of rural Coloradans into consideration.
The recently passed Postal Reform Bill is a good step in that direction. For starters, every community awaiting news on the fate of its post office would have an advocate in the decision-making process. That provision, which I introduced with Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, was a response to concerns of constituents who told me they felt voiceless in a process with broad implications for local residents and businesses. Additionally, in making closure decisions, the Postal Service would be required to consider factors such as access to broadband and internet service, demographics and transportation challenges—a key factor in rural Colorado.
The bill would also institute a one-year moratorium on closures to ensure no decision is made hastily. The Postal Service can and should modernize, but our rural communities should be key players in that process. The Postal Reform Bill ensures they are.
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet
Jury let Trooper Lawyer
get away with murder
In 1992, Rodney King was mildly beaten by poorly trained LAPD officers following a high speed vehicle pursuit. King was released from the hospital the next day, the officers were tried in California state court and acquitted. Riots ensued with 53 dead, and the Feds then charged the officers with civil rights violations. Officers Koon and Powell were convicted and sentenced to 30 months in federal prison. King received a $3.8 million settlement from LA.
In August, 2010, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Ivan “Gene” Lawyer unlawfully forced entry, maced and shot to death Jason Kemp, all while investigating a possible misdemeanor DUI-H&R. There was no “hot
pursuit” or exigent circumstances to justify these acts. Lawyer testified he feared Kemp was “destroying evidence, ” as his body digested the alcohol in his system, thus explaining his actions.
This is a fallacious argument, as the blood alcohol would not have been admissible anyway. Lawyer did not know how long it had been since Kemp drove, could not even identify him as the driver, and did not know if Kemp had continued to consume alcohol after the alleged incident. No judge would have allowed this evidence and Kemp would not even have lost his license.
Following a trial with pathetic, reluctant prosecution by DA Pete Hautzinger, inept jury instructions from the presiding judge, it was no surprise to see Lawyer acquitted. Now I wonder if the federal authorities will bring charges for civil rights violations, as Lawyer violated the 4th amendment to the U.S. Constitution — our most basic law — and killed an unarmed Jason Kemp.
If there was a felony-murder rule in this state it would require a charge of first-degree murder. But then again, Kemp was a white college graduate and not, like King, a big black ex-con so I doubt any fed will charge Lawyer. Justice may be done, like in the O.J. Simpson murder case, by the civil court in the wrongful death lawsuit. We shall see.
One more thing before you say how dare I pass judgement on Trooper Lawyer who is a hero out there risking his life to protect us all. I am a retired police officer who many times was in a situation identical
to the incident here. The difference was that I was properly trained and knew the law and did not kick in a door and kill the homeowner. That Lawyer may be reinstated to the Col State Patrol and his actions seen as acceptable police procedure is a frightening thought all of us should be concerned with. Our police are not above the law. In this case, Trooper Lawyer got away with murder and all of us should be outraged. Next time it could be you.