E-mail letters, June 21, 2011

Fencing won’t keep animals out, only people

The Grand Junction Airport authority applied for federal funding of a new eight-foot-high fence topped with three-strand barbed wire and electronically controlled gates to deter “mammalian populations(s), in particular resident fox and coyote.” The stated benefit was to “reduce amount of wildlife/aircraft incursions.”

The phrases I have quoted here come directly from their December 2009 application for federal funding. The funding was approved, and this fence is now being constructed as designed and approved by the airport board members along the southern airport borders, yet it doglegs into the roads which currently provide the public with access to several businesses, hangars and a World War II museum. The airline terminal access remains unaffected.

Meanwhile the northern airport boundary, which is actually closer to the actual runway and airline operations area, still has just a simple, open three-strand barbed wire fence easy for foxes and coyotes to scurry under. But how many accidents have occurred by “runway kill” anyway? The TSA previously declared that the Grand Junction airport was compliant with all security requirements and the fence project was never presented to be an attempt of improved aviation security.

It is obvious to even the casual observer that the new federally funded construction of eight-foot fences stopped with barbed wire is clearly intended to control people, not foxes and coyotes.  Sadly these same people to be screened out are either the rent-paying airport tenants, or else they are the customers of the many (non-airline related) airport businesses that are already struggling to survive.

The 2008 CDOT Airport Economic Impact study shows the Grand Junction airport as a whole is responsible for 6,125 jobs with a total payroll of $189,204,000 and total community impact of over $600 million. And they want to lock out these customers, employees and hundreds of pilots who have already passed both TSA and FAA security screening?

Businesses will close and otherwise rent-paying tenants will leave empty hangars and their businesses. So rather than improving aircraft safety by deterring wildlife as stated in the application for federal funding, this project appears to be death to businesses and certainly freedom limiting. It will not deter the animals that live in the open range right next to the runway.

Either the airport manager’s request and written proposal for an animal control fence was done with intentional deceit, or else it was full of inaccurate information and was poorly reviewed by the airport board. The airport manager and board of directors should be held accountable for this use of federal funds for purposes other than stated. The project should be halted.

It just makes one wonder who got the site engineering and construction contracts? Stop the fence gates and keep the many local airport businesses and tenants.



Excluding business from Grand Junction

Is Grand Junction Airport management fencing the airport to “secure” their jobs or force Grand Junction aviation business away? Haven’t increased government rules, regulations, fees, fines and taxes driven billions of dollars of formerly U.S. business overseas to China, India, et a.?

Is our regional airport to serve a few elite rulers, political wannabes and TSA (which has yet to prevent a single terrorist act), and to inconvenience the general public or to serve the community with as little interference as possible?

How many cities succeed financially by cordoning off their airports? Perhaps Mack, Mesa, Delta and Montrose will attract business no longer welcome at Grand Junction Regional Airport as other countries have attracted business regulated out of the U.S.

Can we learn from others’ mistakes or must we emulate Detroit and Chicago?



Firing of oil-and-gas liason was a disappointment

Many members of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance (GVCA), Battlement Concerned Citizens (BCC), and the Rifle-Silt-Peach Valley-New Castle (RSPN) groups are very disappointed that Garfield County management has fired its Oil and Gas Liaison, Judy Jordan.

Although we did not always agree with Ms. Jordan on policy, we found her to be fair, professional and knowledgeable. She helped Garfield County citizens with private property rights and health issues when oil-and-gas drilling and fracking operations were at their doorstep. She tracked landowner complaints, helped industry and citizens alike navigate policies and she pushed for commonsense ways to responsibly develop local resources.

Of the many oil-and-gas liaisons the county has hired (the first left to work for the industry), Ms. Jordan was by far the best. She investigated instances of contamination, and she recognized industrial activity inherently impacts communities and people. Ms. Jordan, however, really differentiated herself from the pack by identifying ways we could drill more safely.

We fear that the county released Jordan because of industry pressure. Ms. Jordan’s leadership, honesty, and encouragement of moving beyond the unregulated status quo likely made powerful enemies.

Throughout her tenure, we have read and listened to industry claim Jordan had “perceived partiality,” as stated in a January, 2010 letter to the county commissioners. No county employee should have to endure this pressure.

Local advances to protect public health and ensure equality between citizens and industry have taken steps backwards in Garfield County since the November election. With the Health Impact Assessment left in draft form and now, Judy Jordan has lost her job, the score appears to be the oil-and-gas industry: 2; Garfield County citizens: 0.


Grand Valley Citizens Alliance


Rifle-Silt-Peach Valley-New Castle


PAUL LIGHT, co-chairs

Battlement Concerned Citizens


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