Printed letters, August 25, 2013

I am responding to Bill Grant’s most recent column regarding William “Bill” Koch.

Businessmen and job creators are essential to the success and future of this country. Bill Koch is one of the largest private employers in western Colorado. His companies have been involved in coal mining, natural gas exploration and cattle ranching for many years. He has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Colorado during one of the most difficult economic climates the country has faced.

Just last year, Bill Koch (through Oxbow Mining) partnered with Aspen Ski Company and others to capture methane from Oxbow’s Elk Creek Coal mine in Somerset to turn it into electricity. It is the first methane capture project west of the Mississippi River and has enjoyed bipartisan support from local, state and federal officials. Interestingly, that fact was not included in Grant’s column.

Bill Koch has always supported Republican and Democratic politicians who are pro-business and use common sense when addressing regulations and taxes. In Colorado, he has donated to Sens. Ken Salazar, Michael Bennett and Mark Udall, Congressmen John Salazar, Scott Tipton and Cory Gardner, as well as Govs. Bill Ritter and John Hickenlooper. He has also generously supported St. Mary’s Hospital, the Delta Hospital and the Delta County Fair, as well as to numerous schools, libraries and Little League fields.

Finally, Bill Koch and Oxbow Carbon are proud to be members of this community. Bill Koch shares the independent streak that so many in Colorado possess and is not controlled by any political party or special-interest group. Like most Coloradans, he stands up for what he believes in and respects others who do the same.


Oxbow Corporation

West Palm Beach, Fla.

Because of nuclear reactions,
‘atomic bomb’ is a misnomer

I have comments on three statements published in the Aug. 16 history article “Grand Junction residents had few clues about secret Manhattan Project.”

• “In 1942, that site (currently occupied by the Department of Energy) was purchased for the extremely secretive Manhattan Project … .”

A pamphlet, “50th Anniversary GJPO,” published by the Department of Energy in 1993, states: “In March 1943, First Lieutenant Philip C. Leahy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers arrived in Grand Junction with sealed orders to acquire land; build a uranium refinery; and construct uranium recovery plants in Uravan and Durango, Colorado.”

• “I say some of the uranium for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs may have been processed here, because it isn’t clear, even 68 years later, exactly where the material for the bombs originated.”

The Hiroshima bomb (Little Boy) did use uranium. Where the uranium was mined may be unknown, but it was enriched in U-235 at Oak Ridge, Tenn. The Nagasaki bomb (Fat Man)  used plutonium (Pu-239) that was produced in a nuclear reactor (the Hanford “B Reactor”) and processed at the Hanford Site in Washington.

• “When atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan ....”

Because the explosive energy of the bombs was released by nuclear reactions (primarily fission), the correct term is “nuclear bombs.” Many people use “atomic” and “nuclear” as synonyms, but vast differences exist between atomic physics and nuclear physics. The primary force in atomic physics is the electromagnetic force, whereas the primary force in nuclear physics is the entirely different strong force.

Because the electromagnetic force is much “weaker” than the strong force, x rays, which originate in atomic processes, are (in general) much less energetic than gamma rays, which originate in nuclear processes.

A nuclear physicist and former director of Safeguards at Los Alamos National Lab also takes issue with the terms “atomic bomb” and “atomic energy.” He correctly maintains that atomic energy is released when a match is lit.


Grand Junction


Trucks spraying hydrocarbons
also contaminate environment

The Daily Sentinel recently displayed a picture of a truck spraying oil-based hydrocarbons onto a city street. The air quality was not good. Thousands of miles of such roadwork are performed every year in this country.

But if someone spills a few gallons of the same base material on a dusty trail in the Bookcliffs, he or she is subject to a heavy fine for contaminating the environment.

God, nature or somebody deposited thousands of feet of sandstone and shale, layer upon layer, in this region. But when we drill a 6-inch diameter hole through it, the Earth’s cuttings and natural-based muddy drilling water suddenly become hazardous waste.

Both of these things take time, cost money and increase the price of the products you buy. Think about it.



Grand Junction


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