Printed letters, Aug. 17, 2012
Residents deserve better notice of road closures
The Daily Sentinel’s Duffy Hayes wrote an informative article regarding the road closure of the most southern portion of 21 1/2 Road, sometimes known as Jacob’s Ladder. He accurately reported that this road has been used by a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts for several years to access Pinon Mesa from the Little Park area.
It is my understanding that the county claims that it cannot reconsider reopening the road unless a judge remands the issue to it. It should not be so cumbersome for a government entity to change its mind when compelling information to support such a change is presented in a timely manner.
Since Hayes’ article, I have learned that the legal costs to request a judge to remand the issue to the board of county commissioners are proving too expensive unless a generous benefactor contributes soon to the cause.
However, this beautiful route to Pinon Mesa should not have ever been closed for many reasons. Mainly, in my opinion, the notification criteria to close the road were not met. Apparently the notification signs for the hearing were placed during snowy conditions at a location that has no winter maintenance by the county. Since the signs went unnoticed, there was no public input at the hearing. Therefore, the board closed the road without any public input to refute the claims made by the applicants.
The specifications for right of way vacations (road closures) should be revised so that notification signs for scheduled hearings are actually posted where potential users of the right of way can actually see them. Public hearing notification postcards should include a wide enough area that a fair amount of county residents would be informed of an upcoming hearing.
Perhaps future county commissioners will consider making some changes to the land use code that are more logical.
TERRI S. SCHMITT
Sierra Club seeks solutions as Lepore takes over oil, gas commission
As David Neslin, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission executive director, stepped down in April to become an oil and gas industry attorney, another industry attorney, Matthew Lepore, is stepping in.
For the past year, Lepore’s clients have been industry companies. When Coloradans see this revolving door, how are they to perceive this state agency’s motivation to protect communities from pollution produced by this heavy industrial activity?
The commission has a legal duty to uphold “the prevention and mitigation of adverse environmental impacts” from energy industry activity. We further advocate that the COGCC also needs to prevent and mitigate adverse human health and welfare impacts.
The Sierra Club and the public have high hopes for Mr. Lepore. With a clean slate, he can take the commission in a vastly different direction. Coloradans need only peer out into their back yards, school grounds or residential streets to see very clearly that current oil and gas regulation, oversight and enforcement is lacking.
We look forward to a more productive relationship and marked difference in how the COGCC operates under Lepore. The public is sorely aware of and hurting from the hazards and damage this industry is causing.
For example, public reports on the COGCC website show 43 percent of all operator spills have and continue to cause groundwater contamination. And the state only provides one inspector per 7,500+ wells to be inspected annually, which is grossly irresponsible and physically impossible.
We are witnessing state and local brinksmanship. The state is willing to fight tooth and nail to protect a dirty fossil fuel industry, while most local governments fight to protect their air, water, soil, safety and health.
We hope Lapore’s desire to explore, enjoy, and protect Colorado’s environment outshines his desire to protect his former clients in the industry.
Director, Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter, Denver
Call makes bad call in blaming economy
Well, there you have it. According to GOP Chairman Ryan Call, House candidate Jared Wright is simply another victim of the “Obama economy.” Call seems to imply that the economy under any Republican administration, “investments” such as jewelry, vintage automobiles, tanning salon memberships, excessive credit card use, etc., would be a wise and prudent path to prosperity. No wonder he is the GOP chairman … he understands the big picture.
I can imagine Wright at home, signing into work, setting the alarm on his Luminox watch for a 45-minute reminder, pouring himself another cup of coffee and lamenting the terrible things this current administration has done to himself and his family. That’s the kind of wisdom we can all take to the bank, er, bankruptcy court.