Printed letters, Aug. 22, 2013
The Daily Sentinel’s recent editorial opposing the federal government’s withholding of Colorado’s share of mineral lease payments is right on target, as also outlined in an article the same day which detailed the state’s position.
However, it is not just the federal government that cuts off Colorado’s receipt of money from minerals produced here. Other threats start right here at home.
In recent years, the Colorado Legislature has passed bills designed to curtail coal use at power plants throughout the state through increased mandates for higher cost energy like renewables (SB 13-252), and natural gas (HB 10-1365).
Laws such as these pick the pockets of Colorado taxpayers and consumers. According to the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, approximately 75 percent of coal mined in Colorado is produced from federal leases, accounting for $59 million in revenue to the federal government. Forty-nine percent of that, or approximately $29 million, comes back to Colorado under a formula that provides money for public education and local government projects.
Coal mining also creates more than 19,000 jobs in Colorado’s economy, and jobs at the mines pay average wages and benefits in excess of $115,000 annually. If the state mandates less consumption of coal, it threatens its own revenue stream, as companies will not lease or pay royalties on coal they cannot mine and sell. Criticizing the federal government is appropriate, yet public officials should also remedy the damage these laws have inflicted right here at home.
STUART A. SANDERSON
Colorado Mining Association
Law enforcement center provides essential training
Being a law enforcement officer or firefighter in our complex, modern world is a demanding and often dangerous profession. For our community, few things are as important as ensuring that we have well-trained professionalss.
The new Colorado Law Enforcement Training Center is an important step toward providing the quality training our emergency personnel need and deserve.
Kudos to Sheriff Stan Hilkey, Chief John Camper, Fire Chief Ken Watkins and all the emergency services officials who understand the need and took steps to address it. Special thanks go to Tim Foster for the involvement and support of Colorado Mesa University.
I was privileged to take the inaugural lap around the driving track in a beautiful new Ford Mustang provided by Western Slope Auto, and I would like to thank them. The car is awesome.
Due to the farsightedness and dedication of the folks involved in this endeavor, lives will be saved. No community service is more important than that.
Former Mesa County Sheriff
Montrose County will use spot zoning on gravel pit
A special use permit allows exceptions to zoning regulations from a list of acceptable exceptions. The state zoning enabling act allows special use permits based upon a finding of compatibility with surrounding areas.
Spot zoning is the rezoning of a parcel of land when the rezoning is at odds with a master plan and current zoning restrictions. The rezoning may be for the benefit of a particular owner.
If the Montrose County commissioners approve the special use permit for a huge gravel, concrete and asphalt industry 3 miles south of Montrose, I believe they will be using the special use process as an excuse to spot zone.
Proponents of this heavy industry are touting property rights of landowners. Property rights are important, especially for the residents living on three sides of the proposed site. These existing homes, subdivisions, farms and businesses comply with county regulations and have been in the area for decades.
The industry site was purchased in November 2012. The purchaser knew the land is zoned agricultural/residential and is designated wildlife habitat. Within three months of the purchase, a special use application was submitted to Montrose County. There was never any intent to use this land as it is zoned.
Property rights are not absolute. I own property south of Montrose and might want to raise cattle. However, my HOA rules do not allow livestock because the smell, noise and ugliness of a barnyard would negatively affect adjacent property owners. If I want to live here, I must follow the rules. The same concept applies to all property rights.
Read http://www.stopthestripminemontrose.org. Sign the petition. Help us remind the Montrose County commissioners they were elected to serve all county citizens, not a handful of influential landowners and backdoor promoters.
Taxpayers should not pay for irresponsible choices
News media recently reported a proposal by Gov. Hickenlooper’s task force on wildfires to implement a tax (or fee) for fire protection on those who choose to live in a wild lands/urban interface zone.
If somebody wishes to live in such an area, that’s free choice. But don’t tax others for any stupidity involved such as failure to remove fire hazards.
If this is of such a high priority, then get the money by taking it from lower priority projects (already funded by taxpayers) such as cash “by the number” for out-of-wedlock babies or free food for not working, etc.
LARRY M. HEAD