Printed letters, January 1, 2014

Casey Sheahan, CEO of the innovative clothing company, Patagonia, Inc., believes the process of fracking will damage human health and the environment with consequences for hundreds of years.

He points to the chemicals used in fracking that are toxic and cancer-causing. His company and he will contribute financial support for a Colorado ballot issue that will ban fracking statewide.

How long has fracking been with us in Colorado? I asked Alan Roberts, who was raised in Texaco’s company town in the Wilson Creek Field north of Meeker. Roberts graduated from Meeker High and then the Colorado School of Mines, and he spent a lifetime in the energy industry. He believes well over 75 percent of wells were being fracked when he first went to work in his home state in the early 1960s. Colorado has experienced fracking for more than 50 years.

Fracking has been prevalent in Texas on a much greater scale. Fort Worth commissioned a $1 million study, completed in 2011 by a Massachusetts firm, to document the health effects of natural gas drilling, fracking and production. Hardly any negative effects on its citizens were confirmed in the 320-page report. Ninety-eight percent of emissions were of a low toxicity, and the measured air pollution levels did not reach any levels that cause adverse health effects.

Fort Worth, a city of 730,000, contains within its city limits roughly one well pad containing multiple wells for each 1,300 citizens. Fort Worth should be Sheahan’s laboratory to validate the Armageddon of illness and disease that he believes fracking has inflicted on their citizens. I believe half a century of history will prove him wrong.

Sheahan should be equally worried about the cancer-causing chemicals in his holiday dinner.


Glenwood Springs

Longtime contributors 
have right to Medicare

People who have worked most of their lives and are now enjoying the benefits of Medicare have also paid premiums since its inception in 1965. An entitlement by definition is “the fact of having the right to something.”

People who paid into the system with every paycheck for 35 years before deriving any benefit certainly have earned the right for health care in return. In fact, my wife and I, for the year 2013, have paid Medicare more than $7,000 and will pay more in 2014.

Meanwhile, our doctors are going to receive less next year in reimbursement than they have in years past. Isn’t this a wonderful government-run entitlement program?


Grand Junction


COPECO story evoked 
memories for musician

Bob Silbernagel’s Dec. 20 article on the COPECO dance hall brought back several memories from the early 1950s. I graduated from high school in 1951 and Mesa Junior College in 1953.

Most Saturday nights were spent in the various dance halls in the area (Clifton, Loma, Collbran and the COPECO). There was even an open-air ballroom just west of First Street, north of North Avenue.

I wasn’t a fan of western music and avoided most dances with that music. I was surprised to read that so many western bands played the area. I don’t remember many in the period from 1950 through 1953. During 1953 I played trumpet and my wife played piano for a band named Hap Harris, and we frequently placed the COPECO. Our music was very up-tempo, and there were no slow tunes played there.

I last played at the COPECO on the last Saturday of September 1953, and I reported for induction into the Army Oct. 1.

The COPECO was very rough and rowdy until a man named Warner ran the place. There was still a lot of alcohol consumed, but the fighting was controlled. I am not sure of his name, but he later had a kids’ program on KREX television.




Brooks’ column, article 
on airport lacked values

I am concerned about the quality of the news reported in The Daily Sentinel. I believe that a newspaper should report, not try to change the beliefs of the readers.

On Dec. 15, the Sentinel ran an op-ed column by David Brooks, suggesting that even though our president has failed with health care and a lot of other issues, we should give more power to the executive branch of the government. Brooks wrote that we are better off if the executive branch is powerful.

We are never better off when ineffective and unethical people have more power. The stance of the writer didn’t deserve the coverage.

Then, on Dec. 23, the front-page headlines questioned whether we would be better off with a manager of the airport who was fired for questionable behavior, that maybe we are going to be sorry that we don’t have all the growth (which actually didn’t seem like much to this reader) without him.

Results do not justify wrongdoing.

I am worried that neither our society in general nor our local paper in particular has any values at all.




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Kudos To Mr.Diemoz.

I’ve personally worked in the Ft. Worth / Cleburne TX area doing completions. There were drilling rigs and well pads right in the city. I never saw any protests and people went on about their business and co-existed just fine with energy operations. They were well aware of the benefits of having energy jobs boosting their economy.

Thanks to Floyd Diemoz (“Plenty of evidence of fracking’s safety”) for jump-starting the New Year by renewing the ever-timely debate over the oil and gas industry’s expanding reliance on “hydraulic fracturing” (“fracking”) – particularly in Colorado.  In so doing, however, Diemoz raises more questions that he answers.  Thus:

First, Diemoz doesn’t directly refute Patagonia CEO Casey Sheehan’s published factual assertions that:

One fracking well uses an average of 2 million to 8 million gallons of water and 10,000 to 40,000 gallons of chemicals.  The water used is contaminated forever.

or that:

Sixty percent of those chemicals can harm the brain and nervous system, 40 percent are known endocrine disrupters, 30 percent are suspected carcinogens, 30 percent are developmental toxicants.

Rather, second, Diemoz points only to the long history of “fracking” – falsely suggesting that “fracking” today is essentially identical to “fracking” 50 years ago, and thus begging all the serious questions about the safety of current “fracking” technology and chemicals.

Third, by asserting that “hardly any negative health effects” on health were “confirmed” in a Texas study, Diemoz admits that the industry’s mantra-like insistence that no such effects have ever been “proven” is transparently dubious.

Fourth, contrary to Diemoz’s assertion, Sheehan is not predicting an “Armageddon of illness and disease” inflicted by “fracking”, but rather an insidiously unseen and gradual contamination of water supplies, human cells, and reproductive organs. 

Fifth, by insisting that “plenty of evidence” establishes that “fracking” is “safe” (at least, mostly), Diemoz effectively refutes the rationale underlying the “Halliburton Loopholes” – which exempt “fracking” from the EPA’s investigatory and regulatory authority under the Safe Drinking Water, Clean Water, and Clean Air Acts.  Why?

Thus, Diemoz should be more worried about Fort Worth and his progeny than about whether Colorado localities can decide for themselves what risks with “fracking” they are willing to take.

Halliburton and other fracking companies who developed a proprietary formula or procedure have every right to protection of their intellectual property, and should not be required to disclose it without their consent.


The need for “trade secret” protection of the manufacturers’ “proprietary formulations” of fracking fluids (“intellectual property”) is substantially overblown.

According to an industry insider, every company that manufactures fracking fluids (and probably the Russians and Chinese,as well)can and do readily “reverse engineer” any competitors’ products they encounter.

What is really being protected are the pet
“additives” injected at the wellhead (like diesel oil) which are not technically a component of the “fracking fluid” itself.

Meanwhile, entirely benign “fracking fluids” are already available (albeit more costly) and must be used in any offshore fracking.


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