Printed Letters: April 13, 2017

Executive order doesn’t reflect Trump’s rhetoric

In February, President Trump signed an executive order overturning an Obama regulation that prevented people with mental illness from purchasing firearms. This executive order was done with less flourish and visibility than some of the president’s more publicized signings.

To my knowledge there were no television cameras in the Oval Office to film the president signing a document allowing people with the most severe forms of mental illness to buy guns.

Statistics from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention show that more than 44,000 Americans died from suicide in 2016, and the numbers are increasing. It is estimated that around 90 percent of all suicides are completed by people with a diagnosable mental illness, and more than half of completed suicides are done with guns. In fact more Americans actually die from suicide using guns than are killed in homicides by guns.

When this president boasts of his plans to keep American citizens safe, this executive order clearly does not reflect that rhetoric.

Grand Junction

We have more than enough natural gas to use and share

Pete Hart and the Wilderness Workshop reflexively voiced opposition to supplying our Japanese allies with natural gas because the pipeline might “use Canadian gas.”

Perhaps Hart should stick to issues he understands, like obstructing drilling on the Roan Plateau and retroactively canceling our natural gas leases. But if he wants to also obstruct a project Gov. Hickenlooper and Sen. Bennett are actively working on, maybe Hart should first read GJEP’s “Piceance to the Pacific Rim” study. Then he would learn that Canadian pipelines coming south are at full capacity even today, let alone when exports begin.

He also claims we shouldn’t share our natural gas with fellow democracies in need because we need it all here.

Perhaps Pete Hart was too busy with the keep it in the ground campaign that he missed what the U.S. Geological Survey actually said. We have more than 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas right here on the West Slope — far more than we could ever use heating Mr. Hart’s house. We have enough to supply Japan and then some, for a century.

Grand Junction

Sentinel’s editorial omission of important fact in poor taste

The Sentinel’s Friday, April 7 editorial gave a concise summary of the U.S. Senate’s fumbling of the vote on Neil Gorsuch to become a Supreme Court justice. You are correct in stating that this fiasco is an extension of partisan politics, which is now deeply embedded in Senate voting rules.

What you neglect to mention is that the creator and ultra partisan politician of this nuclear option disaster is one Harry Reid, former Democrat senator.

I find that your editorial omission of this concrete and important fact in poor taste. This is truth and it should have included in the editorial. One senator and one party are responsible for this violation of the Constitution.

Grand Junction

Rolling back Clean Power Plan will not save the coal industry

Recently, Stan Dempsey, president of the Colorado Mining Association wrote an op-ed in the Denver Post celebrating the rollback of the Clean Power Plan, in which he blames environmental activists and the government for killing coal jobs. This past week the Sentinel editorialized on the Clean Power Plan as well. Their editorial helped make clear that the coal industry is not going to be saved by the rollback of government regulations and furthermore, that what’s best for the coal industry doesn’t directly translate to what’s in the best interests of coal workers or our West Slope communities.

As many of us are aware, market forces are driving the decline in the coal industry and will continue to do so because the energy landscape is changing. Not only is natural gas cheaper, more accessible, and more abundant than coal, the clean energy sector has become one of the fastest growing sectors in the country, further diversifying affordable energy options for consumers. As the Sentinel editorialized, this means that the coal industry will increasingly turn to automation in order to stay competitive with estimates that 40 to 80 percent of workers will be replaced in the coal industry.

All of this is to say that while the finger pointing and blame for the decline of the coal industry grabs headlines, the economic and environmental impacts of a declining industry and climate change will continue to be felt by us here on the West Slope.

Rolling back the Clean Power Plan will not save the coal industry. It doesn’t help coal workers or rural communities to get back on their feet, and it doesn’t empower them to address difficult economic challenges. All it does is make it more difficult for us as a state to meaningfully address the impacts of climate change.



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Contrary to Wayne Telford’s response (“Sentinel’s editorial omission of important fact in poor taste”) to the Sentinel’s April 7 admittedly dubious editorial (“Democrats should confirm Gorsuch”), Telford – not the Sentinel’s editors – omitted “important facts”.

While Telford recycles familiar GOP talking points to blame then Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid for first invoking the
“nuclear option” to change the Senate’s arcane filibuster/cloture rules, what he abjectly “neglects to mention” is that Reid was responding to Republicans’ unprecedented and unprincipled “ultra partisan” obstructionism.
By November 21, 2013, when Senate Democrats voted to eliminate the filibuster as to lower court and executive branch nominees (only) while retaining the 60-vote cloture threshold for Supreme Court nominees, Republicans had and/or were in the process of filibustering 27 of President Obama’s executive branch nominees, more than the total (20) for all previous presidential executive branch nominees since Eisenhower combined.
Likewise, while the lower court nominees of all previous Presidents since Jimmy Carter had enjoyed a confirmation rate of at least 77 percent, Republican filibusters reduced the confirmation rate for President Obama’s district/circuit court nominees to 42.9 percent, while tripling the time it took to confirm those who eventually were.
Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – not Harry Reid – then turned Article II’s “Advise and Consent” clause on its head by refusing to either “advise” or “consent” to President Obama’s appointment of Merrick Garland, thereby “stealing” a Supreme Court seat that the Constitution empowered President Obama (not Trump) to fill.  Even so, McConnell then had to change the rules once again to get Gorsuch confirmed.

Therefore, Telford’s “omissions of these concrete facts” was obnoxious—because they “should have been included in” his letter.  On the other hand, I do agree that “one senator and one party are responsible for this violation of the Constitution”:  Republicans’ Mitch McConnell.

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