Printed letters, February 25, 2014

After reading about Brandon Siegfried’s zealous pursuit of applying the RS 2477 statute to justify his pursuit of unfettered access to public lands, I have to respond to his blatantly self-serving desire to do whatever he wants.

What Siegfried fails to recognize is that our public lands have to be managed for much more than road access and ATV recreation; and the governmental agencies involved, are obligated by law to protect and preserve our lands for all, including wildlife. Sometimes that dictate requires them to protect the resource from us.

Siegfried overlooks a fundamental truth; these lands are home to life in many forms and human ventures into their life-zones can be very disruptive.

Research by wildlife experts throughout the West have found that more roads mean less access to game. For example, why are there so few sightings of elk on the Grand Mesa when in fact they are plentiful? It’s because there are too many roads and ATVs running freely over the Mesa. Researchers in Montana confirmed that as more roads were opened in the national forests there, the elk population left for safer grounds in national parks and private lands.

So, here’s some advice, Siegfried. If you wish to enjoy our pubic lands and the wildlife they protect, get off your ATV and walk. You will be greatly rewarded.

Also, please stop wasting taxpayers’ funds waging war against people and agencies who are working hard to make our public lands a place for all to enjoy for a timeline that is much greater than you.

THOMAS BEACHMAN

Cedaredge

Heavy-handed regulations 
could have dire results

Ensuring our air is kept clean is something that certainly shouldn’t be controversial. We all want to make certain we can breathe our fresh mountain air without fear of getting sick. But unfortunately it appears our state government is determined on regulating oil and gas out of existence.

New rules adopted by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission to govern air quality are for the most part very important. But recent provisions in these rules are simply overreaching. The oil and gas industry is being targeted for methane emissions. Now, looking at methane is surely something that merits discussion, as it is a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide. However, these rules are far more stringent than current federal regulations and would make Colorado the first state in the whole country to regulate methane.

More importantly, each part of Colorado where there is oil and gas development is vastly different. Here in the mountains and on the Western Slope, our air is much cleaner to begin with than the populous Front Range.

This one-size-fits-all approach is troubling and could drive good, upstanding businesses out of our state, taking all their good-paying jobs with them.

Our elected officials need to look long and hard at the economic impact of these regulations and how they impact each unique part of Colorado before proceeding. We are in the midst of a precarious economic recovery, and any top-down, heavy-handed approach to regulating an industry could have disastrous results.

JEFF ODOR

New Castle

 

Serious questions raised 
about proposed coal mine

Should 14,160 acres of beautiful canyons and high ridges be leased out for a new coal mine? Granted the mine will mean new jobs. But what will be the impacts?

I urge your readers to stop by the BLM meeting today between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Two Rivers Convention Center to learn more about this proposed lease and make a comment about any concerns they might have.

Four of us recently drove out on 16 Road. If it weren’t mud season, we might have stayed longer and hiked into some of the numerous appealing side canyons. Will some of those side canyons be completely closed off to the public in the same way that McClane Canyon mine on Douglas Pass road has blocked access to that canyon?

The creek that runs along the valley sustains some stands of cottonwood trees that are delightful camping spots. Will the proposed rail line run right through those sites or will trucks hauling coal rumble by instead? Either way coal dust blowing from the open containers may impact nearby plants, wildlife and people.

Will water in the creek remain clean? How about wells in the area and to the south?

I found a report on the web stating that 14 counties in West Virginia with coal mining had water quality issues seven times more often than non-mining counties.

If 16 Road becomes a major trucking road within the lease area, will the current permitted OHV use of that road have to be discontinued? What about the ATV route up Post Canyon?

How will the bright lights of a 24-hour operation impact the local owl and bat populations?

These are but a few of the questions I have and I’m sure readers will have others. The deadline for making a comment is March 12.

JANICE SHEPHERD

Grand Junction


COMMENTS

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For real? The guy protesting the new methane air pollution rules is named “Odor”?

J.O. calls the new air regulations “heavy handed”, yet in the testimonies given at the hearing it was clearly understood that 3 of the big developers supported the rules and 1 other did conditionally. Doesn’t sound “heavy handed” rather more like collaborative.
The reason methane was included was, it too, is a precursor to ozone, besides being a greenhouse gas. As Wikipedia says, “Methane, a VOC whose atmospheric concentration has increased tremendously during the last century, contributes to ozone formation but on a global scale rather than in local or regional photochemical smog episodes.”

The other part of this equation is even if an area is under the 75 parts per billion (non-attainment), but it contributes to the problem of another area being over the limit a certain number of 8 hour periods (attainment), that area contributing is recognized a being part of the overall problem.

The most important aspect is that being in non-attainment does NOT mean the levels of ozone may be increased to that 75 ppb. As testimony showed there are health effects on both flora and fauna by the increased ozone that has the EPA considering going to the more universal 65 ppb or even less, to start issuing warnings, alerts, and programs to cut back emissions further.

It may be a future plan that Colorado sue Utah to make such rules because they are contributing Colorado’s problem (Rio Blanco in non-attainment) or even the EPA taking such action. But it really gets to the math, $’s can not be >= public health, safety, or well being.

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