Email letters, Nov. 3, 2011

Oil shale is an inefficient energy source

The Oct. 18 article titled “Oil Shale on brink of ‘renaissance’” is incomplete at best and misleading at worst. It reports remarks made by various presenters and attendees at the 31st annual Oil Shale Symposium. No mention is made of why oil shale has yet to be become a viable energy source.

Oil shale, the “rock that burns” is rock that must be mined, crushed, heated and refined to convert its kerogen (the polymer present in oil shale) to usable fuel. This process is both energy and water intensive. It is estimated that large scale development of oil shale in the Colorado Basin would require 378,000 acre feet of water per year. According to a Bureau of Reclamation 2009 study, the basin’s consumptive water use already exceeds available supplies without any allocation to oil shale development.

Useable fuel production from oil shale consumes 3.2 times more energy than crude oil. Oil shale is essentially an inefficient energy source. Furthermore its mining and heating will release 1.2 to 1.75 times more greenhouse gases than those released during crude oil conversion to useable fuels. Oil shale mining and disposition of spent rock will result in significant environmental damage.

GOVERT L. BASSETT
Salt Lake City

School district did not make plans for if 3B failed

I find it interesting to compare the rhetoric concerning the school tax hike before and after the election. It seems to me that prior to the election school officials and advocates of the tax hike were telling us that without the override it was doomsday — schools will close, teachers will be dismissed, school supplies would be eliminated and how selfish we would all be not to “do it for the kids.” Now that the override failed, we are getting statements such as the district will hold community forums and meet with staff next year to get suggestions about how to cut the district’s budget if required. Some supporters are now even referring to the override as being only a “Band-aid” or “cushion.” Well, what was the vote for: to prevent the end of the educational world as we know it in District 51 or was it just a quick fix to maintain the status quo and avoid having to make some tough decisions?

I guess what is more upsetting is the fact that the school board and the superintendent apparently did not take into consideration the possibility of the measure failing and planning for a next course of action. It’s as if they were unaware of the present day economy and the mood of the taxpayers and could not fathom that the taxpayers might disagree with them (which they did by almost a 2 to 1 margin). Apparently they live in another universe if they didn’t see this coming.

It is now time for them to roll up their sleeves and do the necessary work on a budget facing the fact that they only have so much money to work with, something that most taxpayers have already done in their own lives due to the current status of the economy.  I wish them luck and hope they deal with the needs and not the wants. They owe it to the kids to do it right.

L.W.HUNLEY
Grand Junction

More national debt won’t lead to higher deficits

We’ve been told by the Republicans that the rising national debt is a serious threat to the government.

Former Sen. Pete Domenici, who seems to still have influence, put it even stronger when he said “If the debt continues to rise there would be strikes, riots and who knows what?”  All scare tactics to make the national debt Congress’s highest priority, more important than helping the people on the streets get jobs.

What they failed to disclose is that interest rates on new T-bills are near zero, and raising the national debt will not lead to higher deficits.

More national debt with near zero interest rate is almost like free money.

RICHARD L STOVER
Grand Junction



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