Printed letters, April 24, 2013

The Colorado River, listed as the nation’s most endangered river by American Rivers, supports 36 million Americans from Denver to Los Angeles and has created a $26 billion recreation economy.

The Colorado River, along with its tributaries, is also a vital connector of national parks, monuments and recreation areas in Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. A veritable ribbon of life, it provides a rich riparian zone and serves as a corridor for migratory birds and wildlife species.

Park visitors experience the history of the river via carved landscape features key to park units, from the sheer cliffs of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park to the vast depth and breadth of the Grand Canyon.

As a retired regional chief of natural resources with the National Park Service, I believe the assessment that the Colorado requires improved water management is correct and absolutely critical to protecting the national park units that call it home.



Las Vegas hotels flush away 
vital Colorado River water

I just spent a week in Las Vegas, Nev., one of the downstream users crying for more water. I made an interesting observation and a very conservative estimation of one water use. We stayed in an 800-room facility, and Las Vegas claims to have at least 50 hotels that large.

I realized that they were still using the old, high-volume flush toilets. So, if we do the math, (we’ll only use 25 facilities, five flushes per day per room, a 4-gallon difference between high- and low-volume units, for 365 days, and 326,000 gallons per acre-foot), we find that 448 acre-feet of water are wasted every year when there is a simple solution to reduce the water demand on the Colorado River.

The real number could be several factors higher, not to mention the 50-plus golf courses and all the uncovered swimming pools and fountains.

By the way, I do have low-volume units in my old house.


Grand Junction


Garfield officials maintain 
deafening silence about leak

Regarding the recent spill and leak of toxic chemicals in the Parachute Creek area, it appears that a private citizen has determined more about what happened than all of the so-called experts employed by the drilling company that is responsible for the spill.

Perhaps these companies are not as proficient or using “best practices” in their operations as they and the state regulators say they are.

Also quite noticeable is the deafening silence from the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners, even though this incident could adversely affect the well-being of a large number of the citizens who reside in the area.

Of course, this may be because the commissioners are currently involved in negating any detrimental effects the existence of the sage grouse may have on the operations of these oil and gas drilling companies.


Battlement Mesa


Parachute’s toxic spill reveals 
facade of the energy industry

The toxic spill at the Williams Plant near Parachute Creek is a continuing saga of the evasion of responsibility and the facade of good intentions by the petroleum industry.

Where are the minions of this industry who speak and vouch for its purity and good will? Those are the people who want it to be freewheeling and without outside control or regulation because it affects profits and jobs, but mostly it affects the profits of an industry that does not suffer losses.

When no benzene was found in Parachute Creek, it was reported as good news. Now that it has been found in the creek but below the standards set for safe drinking water by the EPA, it is again reported as good news. Is it not apparent that the situation continues to grow in dangerous complexity and that this industry continues to run amok as in years past?

Don’t the increasing incidents being reported — such as trucks carrying toxics overturning on I-70 endangering the Colorado River, a river listed as one of the most abused rivers in the country — lead to the same conclusion? Or the recent overturning of trucks carrying toxics contaminating the pristine waters of West Creek? And the many other reported and unreported incidents?

Does this not establish an irreversible trend of pollution by this industry that is accumulating not only toxics from past incidents, but also the accumulation of toxics in our water and ground for the duration of this industry? This to be suffered by us and our progeny who rely on a healthy environment and clean water for our survival?

We must come to realize that water is more important than petroleum — yes, even more important than jobs. It is the most important factor and the wellspring of our lives in the West. Without clean and safe water, there will be no life here or anywhere else.


Grand Junction


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