Printed letters, August 16, 2013
In reference to last Friday’s article about Shell holding on to its oil shale research project, even though it’s divesting itself of conventional oil and gas holdings, I would like to thank the company for sticking with what could be a critical component to American energy independence in spite of the obstacles thrown in its way by radical environmentalists and the federal government.
The fact that Shell views oil shale as among the projects with the greatest potential for growth should speak volumes about the future of the resource, which has been maligned by some on the far left as being nothing more than fantasy, never to advance beyond the research stage and produce something of value.
Clearly Shell, one of the companies that has been leading the way in oil shale research and development, disagrees with that assessment.
This is good news for northwestern Colorado. We are the ones who will most directly benefit from the jobs, revenues and economic development that a commercial oil shale industry will bring.
The steady, methodical research that Shell has been conducting on its leases is the best way to get us to that point. Oil shale can and will be developed someday, and thanks to the research of companies such as Shell, it will be developed in the safest, most efficient, cleanest manner possible. It would be a shame if that research were to end because of constant environmental litigation and a spineless, nearsighted BLM.
I applaud Shell for carrying on with its efforts, and I would ask all those who live, work and raise their families on the Western Slope to do the same.
Striking balance on energy and environment is achievable
Concerning the story on Aug. 7, “Feds want plants protected in oil-shale research area,” why is it the default position in recent years to somehow believe that development and conservation are mutually exclusive? It seems that the politically accepted narrative is that we, as a society, can either develop our natural energy resources or preserve our natural environment, but not both.
Based on the article, this myth is also being fostered by government agencies that ought to know better.
There is no reason to believe that the only conceivable way to protect these two wildflowers is to lock down any economic activity in the region. Experience throughout the West has actually proven otherwise.
Despite claims by some that drilling and production of natural gas in western Colorado would result in permanently damaged habitat and corresponding deer and elk population declines, the opposite has proved true. Elk and mule deer herds are healthier today than they were 20 or 30 years ago, in large part because of the contributions of the oil and gas industry.
The simple fact is we do not have to settle for the “either-or” proposition that a few within the environmental movement have foisted on us. Knowledge, technology and operating practices have advanced far enough to enable us to balance economically necessary development with conservation.
There is no valid need to prohibit oil shale development in the areas described in the article, any more than there is a need to accept the disappearance of these two plant species.
State medical society backs governor’s health initiative
I am writing as a pediatric surgeon on the Western Slope and a member of the Colorado Medical Society.
Gov. John Hickenlooper recently announced the most important and ambitious public health initiative in Colorado’s history. It’s called “The State of Health: Colorado’s Commitment to Become the Healthiest State.”
The State of Health Initiative is a statewide effort that brings together the governor’s office, physicians, other health care providers, government agencies, nonprofits, private companies and the public to improve the health and wellness of Coloradans.
We at the Colorado Medical Society congratulate Hickenlooper for his leadership on this issue and for the critical role he played in making this initiative a reality.
He has built bipartisan support with input from leaders across the political spectrum, from every corner of the state, and from every major constituency in the public health arena.
Mesa County has a long tradition of efficient, cost-effective, good health care. However, we have a disproportionate share of some health problems such as mental health, family abuse and violence, suicide, maternal and child health and tobacco and drug use,
The State of Health Initiative focus areas include promoting prevention and wellness; expanding coverage, access and capacity; improving system integration and quality; and strengthening cost containment and sustainability. Specific targets of the initiative include our problem areas and others.
We at the Colorado Medical Society fully support the initiative and will be working to support its objectives through wide-ranging efforts of the 7,500 physicians, medical students and medical residents in our membership. We encourage all Coloradans to learn more about the State of Health Initiative by visiting this webpage: http://www.cms.org/resources/state-of-health.
CHARLES W. BREAUX, JR., MD