Printed letters, December 27, 2012

A photo accompanying the article, “Gas field fears,” on Dec. 21 shows citizens with cartridge filter masks to keep them from getting sick from the “poisonous fumes” that are allegedly produced from the well site.

If you actually look at the picture of the well site, you’ll see it’s in production. That means the gas coming from the well is piped directly into the underground pipeline. The entire production process is a closed system that won’t and can’t allow any hydrocarbons or any other product produced from the well into the open atmosphere.

The only odor the people in the photo should smell is the clean, crisp mountain air that makes the western portion of Colorado so attractive to the entire populace of the world.

If folks are going to try to admonish the energy industry with claims of how they’ve become sick from living “next to” or “in the area” of well sites, they should try to educate themselves about the process of hydrocarbon extraction first.

I wonder how come tens of thousands of individuals who work in the industry, such as myself, don’t get sick when we work directly over the well and directly with the materials from the well every single day, from spud date to putting it to sales, for years or even decades.

If the people in the photograph would like the industry to quit producing coal, natural gas or oil, then we would kindly ask them to quit using our products. I guarantee they consume as much energy, or more, with all the field trips to the well sites, as any other person in this country.

Funny though, the respirator masks they’re using are made from hydrocarbon production and the filters are full of charcoal, carbon and other mined and man-made products. It gives me a headache just thinking about wearing one.

MONTE WILLIAMS

Fruita

We must support increased 
funding for mental health

Once again a national tragedy brings our awareness to deficits in mental health care.

A group of women in First Methodist Church have a mental health study group. In October, we published a report based on replies to a survey of mental health care professionals. These professionals have ideas of how behavioral health care in Mesa County needs to improve.

The poor are the ones who have the most difficulty getting care. There are 12,405 people under 20 on Medicaid in Mesa County. Rocky Mountain Health Plans carries 70 percent of the Medicaid users, and it does not offer a mental health benefit. This needs to change.

Colorado West Regional Mental Health is the sole provider for Medicaid mental health services, and many of our survey responders expressed the opinion that services to clients could be improved if more providers could participate.

The mental health care professionals repeatedly mentioned three needs that may overlap: services for children, including in domestic violence situations, substance abuse problems and Mesa County’s terrible suicide rate.

Law enforcement responders to the survey focused on the need for an organized way for law enforcement, physicians, therapists and hospitals to screen and move people through the system to receive the care they need.

Budgets for behavioral health care have been defunded every year for many years. A letter from the governor’s office states that “the budget for 2013-2014 requests that a priority be placed on behavioral health. The request for $17.1 million is comprised of: $10.3 million for expansion of behavioral health crisis response system, $4.8 million for improving behavioral health community capacity and $2.1 million for increasing access to civil beds for those defendants determined incompetent to proceed with their trials.”

It is time to support budget increases for this crucial community need.

Additionally, each of us in Mesa County can make a difference if we increase our awareness of troubles of friends, family and neighbors. Watch for withdrawal, sadness, hopelessness, talking of death, increased drug and alcohol use, or if a family member is trapped in domestic violence. Encourage seeking help.

If loved ones are in danger of harming themselves or others, try to find a way to lock up firearms. We all serve each other.

MARY ENDRES

Palisade

 

Unemployment registration 
should be accessible online

Why, in this day and age of computers and technology, can’t I use the Internet to sign up and register for unemployment benefits? Why must I call and wait for hours, only to be disconnected without ever getting through?

And before people start up with all their “stop complaining and get a job” idiocy, understand that unemployment is not welfare.

Unlike welfare, which is basically permanent government money for lazy people, unemployment is temporary (meaning it expires) assistance for people who have been laid off and are actively looking for work.

Yes, they have the time to sit and wait on the phone, but that is not the point. It is unacceptable to spend five days on the phone, using up phone minutes (because apparently 800 toll-free number aren’t free on cell phones).

Things need to change. The state government needs to finally move into the 21st century.

JEREMIAH HABECKER

Grand Junction



COMMENTS

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Monte derides the respirator usage that, depending on type, can reduce volatiles in the air. He goes on to say that with the ‘closed’ system there are no fumes. With liquid separation and storage on a pad, even with flaring, there are releases of fumes. Even the well heads and related piping can leak. The EPA has for Well Venting for Liquids Unloading an 11 tons/year-well emissions and this doesn’t count what went on in completion or any workovers. He goes on to tout ‘clean mountain air’ that he was not there to sample. He touts sweeping health statistics he has no knowledge of.
“There was an overall excess of deaths for all types of cancer (6 v 1.6 expected) among the male population 3.6 times higher than the reference population (95% CI 1.31 to 7.81). Conclusions—The observed excess of cancer
might be associated with the pollution of the environment by toxic contaminants coming from the oil production.
(Occup Environ Med 2001;58:517–522)”  http://oem.bmj.com/content/58/8/517.full.pdf This from a time period of study 1989 to 1998 coming out in 2001 with the development going from 1972 to 1982 such that effects were from 7 to 16 years downstream.
Now these numbers came from development that was not using the fracking dependent techniques, so worker exposure didn’t include clouds of fracking sand and some of the other toxic chemicals. However, the sand can cause silicosis and later lung cancer on top of what some of the chemicals will do. So with the delayed happening of exposures, the wide amount of relocation of workers, and general lag of recognition of trends; I can only say ‘good luck’ for your future health Monte.
Finally, industry is NOT going to stop producing, regardless of your attitude, they will NOT ask people to quit using products; but be advised it is a finite energy source and it will come to an end. In the interim, people can and will demand the industry to clean up its’ act and the way it conducts its’ business.

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