Email letters, Nov. 5, 2012
Oil, gas commission can elevate its standards to protect citizens
The Colorado Oil and Gas Commission has proposed standards to allow drilling and fracking operations to co-exist with Colorado communities. Once adopted, these standards will undoubtedly be in place for a long time, so it is probably more prudent to make the standards tougher now and then relax them later, if future findings indicate a need.
I read recently that in drilling-friendly Texas, the industry and private landowners go to great lengths to accommodate one another while stressing public health and safety. Let’s be sure we do the same thing here in Colorado.
A few examples of COGCC proposals and the more protective public-suggested versions that I support are:
* Increase rig location setback from homes from the current 350 feet to 1200 feet in all urban and suburban locations. Current setbacks, at 350 feet are the length of a football field including the end zones. Allowing exceptions when a property owner provides informed consent is one way to offer regulatory flexibility.
* When proposing to develop a new area, notification to property owners should extend not to the 1,200 feet radius from the site COGCC proposes but to a more inclusive 2,000 feet. Within this range there should be well-defined provisions for emergency response and transportation plans.
* Comments by “local property owners” should carry more weight in testimony, agreement or protest than others who are not within the direct range of impact.
* Schools, hospitals, jails and other high occupancy buildings, which may not have direct property owner input, should automatically be afforded a higher level of safety than the minimum. COGCC proposes a 750 feet separation between structures and a well site; however, 1,500 feet seems a more community-conscious distance to protect our children, the sick or others who have no choice in their location selection.
I have read that the oil and gas industry currently does not pay a fee to obtain a drilling permit. With more than 47,000 active wells in Colorado, it seems the state may be missing a source of basic revenue that could be used to hire permitting staff, more than the current 17 COGCC inspectors statewide. It could also afford start-up and then periodic onsite inspections.
DOUG VAN ETTEN
ATF bears responsibility in border agent’s death
The Daily Sentinel printed a short article indicating the killer of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry had been given a life sentence. The article failed to mention that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms had armed the killer during its Operation Fast and Furious.
During this operation thousands of high-power, semi-automatic weapons were knowingly transferred into the hands of Mexican drug cartels and other criminals. The ATF’s involvement in this should have been mentioned and its corrupt activities exposed.
DAVID L. COX
Robinson’s record shows he cares about community
I met Dan Robinson three to four years ago while working as an attorney at my first job out of law school. Robinson represented an opposing party on a case I was involved in.
Throughout the case Robinson maintained complete professionalism and treated me as a peer and with respect. I have since had the good fortune to get to know Robinson better during socials for attorneys and campaign events. My respect for Robinson has developed beyond that of being an attorney, but also as a family man and involved community member.
Robinson cares about people, regardless of age, gender or income. Actions speak louder than words, and Dan has a proven record of caring about this community and making a difference in it.
LEILA J. MILLIKEN
Personal timeline indicates decline in recent months
Am I better off than I was four years ago? Probably not.
Am I worse off than one month ago, three months ago or even six months ago?
Of that I am certain!
Election demonstrates need for a free press
For those of us living in western Colorado, this election has offered a glimpse into one of the important principles of democracy—freedom of speech, aka freedom of the press.
While the media is often criticized, the reasons for a free and energetic press have been painfully apparent. Without the local media most of us would have known very little about our local candidates.
Prepared speeches, radio commercials and printed flyers with limited information and excessive rhetoric rarely provide a true picture. While each person often views facts and information differently, without a free press we wouldn’t have independently obtained information to consider.
We should appreciate the work of reporters and editors, be they liberal or conservative, but most certainly dogged, who seek the facts and publish the story. For these reasons the Sentinel has served the people of this area well.
President’s indecision resulted in four deaths in Benghazi
The Sentinel published a story Sunday that claimed the reason that four Americans were killed Sept 11 in Benghazi, Libya, was because the military couldn’t get there in time. This story raises more questions than it answered.
Why, if the administration tried but couldn’t get there, did it blame it on a video for 15 days? Why was nothing done in Egypt and other areas throughout the region the following day? Why didn’t the president address these issues the next day and ensure adequate forces were available throughout the region? Lastly, the only reason forces were not available is that there was not a timely decision in Washington to deploy them.
Our military forces, we have learned, work quite well together. If the forces necessary in the area were under the command of a nearby commander, for example, under European command instead of Africa command as the Sentinel story stated, that reassignment could be handled literally in two sentences.
I have been on the receiving end of one of those directives. The first sentence directs the owning command to transfer operational control of the asset to the gaining command. The second sentence directs the gaining command to take operational control of the asset and execute the mission. Action then happens immediately.
The U.S. military is and always has been subservient to civilian control. The system depends on a decision from the president. He didn’t make the decision. His indecision resulted in the deaths of four good men. The following cover-up is unconscionable.
Candidate Wright has shown errors in judgment
The story in Saturday’s Sentinel about the “Mitt Romney doesn’t like Jared Wright“ flyer really got to the bottom of Wright’s errors in judgments and the source of his ongoing problems. Candidate Wright’s relationship with the Bjorklunds has been at the root of his campaign woes.
The GOP and WSCA both gave him the benefit of the doubt early in his campaign. He had their support, and at that time he was running uncontested. A politician in that situation only needs to do one thing; don’t make any major mistakes. But his campaign and relationships with other Republicans in his district and in Mesa County, have been harmed by a seemingly endless parade of mistakes.
I cannot say whether the Bjorklunds approached Wright with the offer of helping on his campaign, or whether he sought their assistance. But Wright has been counseled by some perceptive and experienced people that he should not have them advising him or working on materials for his campaign.
I personally told Wright that his relationship with the Bjorklunds and his public appearances with Tom Bjorklund looking like a sidekick would only serve to harm his current and future political aspirations. I also warned Wright that Shari Bjorklund was very open in a Facebook conversation with me about her “problems” with Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith. Despite the counsel, despite the warnings, Wright persisted with using the Bjorklunds in a variety of capacities, including retaliating against the Western Slope Conservative Alliance for its withdrawal of support for him.
Wright’s judgment will inevitably be called into question yet again. And, should he win, his term in the state House will be tarnished by the bad stories of the last six months.
One thing is sure: Tom and Shari Bjorklund are political opportunists. Wright was a set of coattails for them to ride to a measure of political power. Wright’s big problem is that they have left his coattails very, very dirty.