Printed letters, Aug. 31, 2012
Bruce Many’s letter about forests, published Aug. 24, ignores a whole lot of science. The consensus among people who actually study forests is that 100 years of fire suppression have led us to the current conditions, not the efforts of those he calls “rabid environists.”
The forests of this continent did just fine for thousands of years (without commercial logging) with regular, small fires clearing out undergrowth before it reached dangerous levels. The record of those fires is preserved in the small scars that are visible in the annual growth rings of old-growth trees.
Along comes Smokey Bear. All fires are squelched and 100 years later we have overgrown forests that burn catastrophically when lit. The mature trees can’t survive these hotter fires and are obliterated.
The warming climate that we’re now experiencing is just exacerbating the situation, stressing the forests even more and making them more susceptible to things such as bark beetle infestations.
NPR ran a very informative series of stories recently on just this subject. I encourage Many to look it up online and give it a listen. Here’s the link: http://www.npr.org/series/158936457/megafires-the-new-normal-in-the-southwest.
Building refineries must be priority over drilling
Recently, Mitt Romney proposed that the United States become energy independent by expanding off-shore drilling. However, he was somewhat shortsighted in his approach. Increasing the supply of energy resources, though extremely important, does not necessarily mean less dependence on foreign imports.
In western Colorado and Utah, we have a tremendous supply of natural gas and oil. In the Piceance Basin alone, thousands of wells have been drilled and immediately capped until the price of natural gas increases, and then they will be placed in production. This is a sound business practice that rewards initiative.
However, the lack of refineries is the bottleneck that prevents getting our energy resources to market. No new refineries have been built in the United States since 1977, and those that do exist cannot keep up with the supply being sent to them. Also, when existing refineries have an “occurrence,” not only are supplies interrupted, but also financial budgets are affected. Building refineries should be the initial goal of an energy policy, not drilling.
With new refineries, our infrastructure — by which truckers, railroaders, and shippers transport the goods — should be repaired, updated and improved. Furthermore, all energy resources should be part of the equation: oil, natural gas, coal, wind, solar, chemical and nuclear.
Additionally, environmental concerns must be addressed. Any native Coloradan can attest to the sulfuric acid-stained rivers in Ouray and Silverton and the mountains that have been made into sludge ponds near Leadville. Coloradans have paid the price for more than 100 years of mismanaged environmental activities.
All of this takes money and initiative. It takes political statesmanship of working across the aisle, making hard decisions, and not leaving anything off the table — including new taxes. As a result, I do not see it happening at all.
RONALD P. FRANKLIN
Obama is far from ‘epitome’ of what a president should be
Two very interesting letters were in last Friday’s Letters to the Editor. Hans Croeber, as is his wont, is factual and to the point. This nation now “borrows 40 percent of what it spends each day.” Thus, “we are increasing our national debt at the astounding rate of $1 billion every six hours.” These are irrefutable facts.
We cannot continue to increase “government benefits” at the current rate and remain solvent. Look at California. It has been under the Democrats’ rule for a number of years. Three cities there have declared bankruptcy. Our nation may mirror this soon.
Holly Von Helms’ letter blames, in essence, President George W. Bush for all of President Barack Obama’s woes. She says Obama never knew, nor could he have guessed, “he would inherit such financial devastation.” All his promises in the campaign “were based on the economy and the status of the country before the big fall.” Really?
Does she mean to say that candidate Obama and his staff of advisors were totally clueless to what was happening? The stimulus did not save “millions of jobs.” Obama himself said there were, in reality, no real “shovel-ready” jobs (June 13, 2011: “Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.”) Nevertheless, she says it is entirely the Republicans’ fault, no matter what happens. He made his campaign promises as a tactic for winning an election (by promising more for everyone).
Obama is an amateur and entered office without a clue on how to return our country to economic stability. He personally appointed the Simpson-Bowles panel and then totally ignored its findings for getting us out of our current fiscal situation. Why? Some of the pain in the fixes went against hard-left sacrosanct programs.
He is definitely not the “epitome of what a president should be.”