Printed Letters: August 30, 2017

Demand investment in renewable energy

We are very lucky to have grassroots organizations like Western Colorado Congress who research and advocate for citizen interests, as we live in a political environment whereby our representatives are often in debt to oil and gas due to their financial donations and thus are more likely to act in their interests.

The Fram Whitewater oil development project is a good example of how Western Colorado Congress has been looking out for our health, safety and economic interests. It isn’t a matter of just objecting to the risk that oil and gas development in our pristine water basin presents, it is equally reasoned that we have other options for energy development. We can demand investments in the generation of energy with wind, sun, and water.

Do we choose to donate to the profits of oil and gas risking other economic interests like agriculture and our children’s future, or do we use our natural resources through the BLM to generate clean energy through wind, water and sun? I know oil and gas development makes every attempt to be responsible, but accidents happen. Let’s get with the greener times.

Grand Junction

Legal pot not an entitlement 
to put others at risk

The front-page story on Aug. 28 linking the rise of traffic fatalities to pot use is extremely alarming and should be disturbing to all citizens and politicians in Colorado. The highlights show that since pot has been legalized, its involvement in fatal crashes has increased 40 percent. In 2016 alone, 71 of 155 (61 percent) of the survivors of fatal crashes tested positive and this does not include the possible condition of the fatalities themselves since the state does not require they be tested.

With all that data, the Colorado transportation and public safety officials say that this “does not definitively prove that the rise is linked to legalized marijuana” and the lobbying group for the cannabis industry cavalierly says this simply proves that “a larger number are consuming and at some point are driving a car.”

Legalization of pot use is not an entitlement to put other people at risk. I am sure that the increased tax revenue that the politicians drool over is of little comfort to those families of the severely injured, permanently handicapped, or deceased.

Perhaps it is time our politicians in Denver stop looking at the revenue they want to keep flowing and start putting the lives and welfare of all the citizens of Colorado first.

Grand Junction

Walcher column filled with falsehoods and distortions

Regarding the column, “Hello McFly, are you rich yet” written by Greg Walcher, quite frankly it is a pathetic diatribe filled with falsehoods, distortions and questionable conclusions, consistent with his usual writing. The fact that he writes as “president of the Natural Resources Group” implying that he is a conservationist has set him up as a messenger who distorts truth and reality.

In this column, he disputes the scientific fact of global warming, even though well over 90 percent of responsible scientists involved have concluded through comprehensive studies, that our earth is warming at a rapid rate due to “man-made catastrophic global warming” (Walcher’s terminology). Then Walcher overstates and distorts this science by claiming that scientists know and have claimed publicly that, “they absolutely know what will happen in the future.” What rubbish!

Walcher goes on to say, “if the science is completely settled” (which it pretty much is)  “and further research is pointless (who claims this but Walcher?) “why don’t these scientists and activists just use the information to make their fortunes?” Therefore Walcher’s primary premise discrediting the science of global warming is that if the science was accurate, the scientists reaching these conclusions should and would have become entrepreneurs and grown obscenely wealthy based on their knowledge and data. His base assumption: the only consideration that should and would drive scientists and science is greed and profit. Pathetic! And shame on Walcher.

Walcher claims he’s being “a bit” sarcastic but goes on to say that, “Capitalism and the profit motive are more likely to solve environmental problems than any government regulations.” What rubbish and just an absolutely stunning and cynical conclusion.

With all the resistance to change represented by the extraction industries, with the mines deserted by corporations (these mines left to create a nightmare of problems and falling on government to solve the dirty, polluting problems they created and walked away from) with oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico, we could go on and on.

Yes, Walcher, “free enterprise has created unprecedented wealth,” (much of which has gone to the elite wealthy few, I might add), but we are living with the environmental consequences of this greed which these same people, (including you), deny and take little responsibility for by walking away from the nightmare they have created while cynically slamming scientists and government. Shame on you.



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Mr. Smith, do you really think that there are more pot users than there used to be? And all the new users are more dangerous in their cars than all those who “used” previously? And, there is, of course, all the wrecks and deaths caused by the alcohol users. Why not step back in time and apply something similar to Prohibition to both pot, alcohol and virtually all recreational drugs? Every culture, and I mean every one of them, has some kind of stimulant or depressant that they rely on for escape. Prohibition will fix it, sort of,  but then what will we get, inevitably, to counter it illegally? Were you around in the Twenties and early Thirties? If people want it how are you going to keep it out of their hands? There are ALWAYS unexpected consequences. Been there, done that!

On September 6, 2000, Democratic Presidential candidate Al Gore proposed accruing a $300 billion “rainy day fund” as a hedge against optimistic projections of a $4.4 trillion budgetary surplus over the next ten years (enough to retire our National Debt).

Republicans belittled the suggestion, Gore narrowly “lost”, and Bush’s Tax Cuts – along with two off-budget wars and the Financial Crisis – converted that projected surplus into a $14 trillion National Debt by the end of 2010.  Then came the rains.

Within a week after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans in August 2005, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence was insisting that no federal disaster relief should be provided unless “paid for” by a $30 billion reduction in Medicare prescription drug benefits.

In 2013, after Hurricane Sandy inundated New York City, Long Island, and the Jersey Shore, both Republican Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn voted against the final Sandy Relief bill – and Cruz’s lame excuse for his vote was assigned “three Pinocchios” (“mostly false”) by the Washington Post’s fact-checkers on Monday.  Now, these anti-government and anti-tax hypocrites want a “government bail out” for Texas.

Ironically, Gore’s “rainy day fund” presaged the “Inconvenient Truth” about the effects of global climate change.  While climate scientists predicted that warming oceans would increase the frequency and intensity of “extreme weather events”, Republican “deniers” still prod their “base” to dismiss that science as a “hoax” – even as Houston and its environs have just experienced the most extreme rain event in U.S. history.

Meanwhile, our “nincompoop-in-chief” is exploiting Houston’s devastation as a product placement opportunity for his baseball caps, has endorsed Arpaio’s anti-immigrant lawlessness, has proposed a corporate tax cut that will add $3 to $7 trillion to our Debt, and threatens to “shut down” the government unless Congress funds his unneeded “wall” – when what Houston will really need are throngs of immigrant workers to help remove debris and rebuild (just as they did after Katrina). 

On Monday, the Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning economics columnist Robert Samuelson opined that Republicans’ reliance on perpetual tax cuts has proven a failure.  Rather, we need tax increases – primarily on the top 20% of tax payers – to fulfill the many tasks of governance and respond to the increasing likelihood of natural disasters.

Mr. J.C.Smith…to your point that MJ is causing a “rise in traffic fatalities” is not a scientifically proven cause and effect for several reasons.  Alcohol is involved. We have a scientifically determined level of intoxication for alcohol. This has been established over decades. Still, alcohol vehicle deaths continue and the revenue from the sale of alcohol continues.  MJ levels of “impairment” have not been established scientifically. Senator Steve King, because of his stellar law enforcement background, arbitrarily determined, with the support of the state legislators, what the “impairment” levels should be for this state.  This was NOT based on science.  Only reaction to the legalization of MMJ. (Medical Marijuana) There is no established testing process based on peer-reviewed scientifically proven testing of blood levels at the source (when law enforcement pulls someone over), nor has “impairment” levels been established.  To vilify MJ as the established and only reason for increased vehicle deaths is not logical.  This is especially so when you drive on our beat up streets and freeways, poorly marked roads, and mostly those people always in a hurry, texting and calling on their phones and ready to go through red lights to prove how important is their journey.  Of course that is just my anecdotal observation.

Mr. Lisnow, you are right on…It is hard to believe any sane and thinking individual in this nation can watch, the Texas weather debacle and come to the conclusion that humans have no stake or responsibility in altering this planet, are in what I call denial death.  To that point, they take no action or believe they have any independent permission of take action to curb their own carbon footprint.  As these fools feed themselves denial pie, they pull the rest of us down in the denial cesspool with them. The Planet Earth is sick and dying.  WE as part of the world community, ARE responsible for the care and health of this Planet.  Deny that Walcher.  Be a fool and fool yourself.  I want a future for this planet.

Mr Lisnow, Thank you for your bright light the subject of climate change science. It is very difficult to speak up and I am grateful for your voice.

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