Printed letters, January 17, 2014

Somehow, I didn’t expect a politician to come out in favor of air pollution, but Rep. Ray Scott has. Maybe that takes a special kind of courage.

As we slowly move to Mesa County, we are learning about local pols. The learning process has been depressing.

In a Sentinel op-ed piece, Scott said local residents should complain about strengthening air pollution rules. Such rules apparently offend his patrons in the oil and gas industry while their pollution drifts to Grand Junction.

We bought a house on Little Park and see the frequent inversions covering the valley. It is tempting to not breathe while in Grand Junction, but not a good option. It reminds us of the infamous “brown cloud” of Denver, also the result of inversions trapping dirty air.

Denver’s pollution led to annual car inspections and more regulations.

Scott is apparently unaware that it costs substantially more to drill for oil and gas here than elsewhere. Flat places closer in different formations are much cheaper to drill. The action is going to North Dakota and the Northeast.

But Scott blames regulations. I have no doubt he would tell us he believes in the “free market,” but he would miss the point. The marketplace has spoken. Western Colorado’s frenzied drilling time has passed, as it always does for a drilling and mining economy.

So, for a long-term, strong economy, Mesa County should be promoting itself as a place for retirees, tourism and nonpolluting industry. Scott is far behind the times. He disregards the health hazards to children, seniors and everyone else from unregulated drilling. Why would retirees want to move to a place with so much air pollution?


Glade Park

FBI airport raid uncovers
board’s lack of oversight

As reported in The Daily Sentinel on Jan 15, the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority now wants a “do-over” on the grant application for the airport’s new building, bringing its description more into line with the truth.

The board doesn’t seem to know much about what’s going on. Had the FBI not conducted its November raid, for whatever reason, Rex Tippets still would be in charge, the administration building still would be characterized as a “terminal” and the board still would be blissfully unaware.

Apparently this board follows the typical behavior of most boards — endorse the CEO and stand by him.

What more remains to be revealed?


Grand Junction


Susuras should resign 
if he can’t see airport fraud

It is time for Sam Susuras to resign. He is an embarrassment to the city of Grand Junction.

Regarding the airport’s applications to the Federal Aviation Administration, Susuras sees “nothing fraudulent in them at all.” This, despite the grant’s request for office space for a duty officer in the fire department. The fire department does not have a duty officer. The definition of fraud involves telling a lie for financial gain. Was not a lie told?

I have had enough of so-called local government “visionaries” who think nothing of flouting the law, either because they think they are above the law, or that they know what is best and will do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals. Chris Christie would be proud.


Grand Junction


Tipton asked to support bill 
that protects Thompson Divide

As anglers who have fished all over the West, we know we are blessed to call western Colorado home. From the North Fork of the Gunnison to the Colorado and the Roaring Fork, excellent fisheries are right out our door.

The easiest way to ensure these areas remain top-notch fishing destinations is to conserve and protect the headwater creeks that feed these great rivers. By refraining from developing pristine unroaded areas, we can ensure that the source waters of these rivers will remain clean and cold — the key ingredient to healthy fisheries.

One area of key importance to trout enthusiasts is the Thompson Divide. The area is home to vital angling resources, including several populations of cutthroat trout, which exist in little of their original range.

Thompson Divide’s many creeks also feed the gold-medal Roaring Fork River, the Colorado River and the North Fork of the Gunnison, all of which are our home waters.

Conserving the rugged character of Thompson Divide will go a long way toward retaining the amazing angling opportunities it provides.

To that end, Sen. Michael Bennet has introduced the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act, a bill that would permanently retire 183,000 acres in the area from future mineral leasing and provide the space for citizens to buy existing leases at fair market price.

Sen. Mark Udall and Gov. John Hickenlooper support this bill, and we hope our congressman, Scott Tipton, will, too. That would show he believes Colorado’s diverse natural resources deserve diverse management prescriptions, from thoroughly developing certain areas to leaving other high-value areas, such as Thompson Divide, as they are.




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Gene Coffin’s timely letter – “Ray Scott must realize that marketplace has spoken” –affords added insight into what’s at stake for local residents and Sentinel readers.

House District 55’s Representative (and would-be District 7’s Senator) Ray Scott’s latest piece of incumbent campaign literature (“Western Slope residents must fight state Air Quality Control Commission”) – published gratis as a “guest column” by the Sentinel—  clearly demonstrated the stark contrast between Republican Scott and his Democratic challenger, nationally-recognized economic development expert Claudette Konola.

In 1950, Grand Junction’s municipal population was only 14, 504 – compared to an estimated 59,899 in 2012 (a 413% increase).  Similarly, Mesa County’s population in 1950 was 38,794 – compared to 147,848 in 2012 (a 381% increase).

Nevertheless, as Asbury gas began flowing into Grand Junction in the 1950s, there were undoubtedly some local “conservatives” who stridently proclaimed that the conversion to natural gas was “destroying jobs” in the coal industry and putting local delivery services out of business, thereby increasing unemployment and threatening “small businesses”.

There were also likely some coal industry shills who looked at the darkened morning sky and insisted that “government is the problem” – even as taxpayers (presumably) funded the acquisition of rights of way and the installation of infrastructure.  At some point, local building codes (“regulations”) were enacted to insure the safety of gas delivery systems.

Meanwhile, the extractive industries proved to be “boom or bust”—and the most stable sources of local jobs became local governments and health care providers.

More recently, attracted by its cleaner air, unique geography, and medical facilities (like the local VA Medical Center), military (and other) retirees, younger entrepreneurs, and even tourists flocked to the Grand Valley—contributing to a more diversified economy and legitimate concerns about air quality and “view sheds”.

Thus, despite Scott’s belligerent tone, Mesa County should constructively contribute to crafting sensible rules – to effectively protect public health—rather than serve as an obstructive vehicle for “throwback” promoters of oil & gas interests (like Scott).

‘Ol * Hugenburg is back! Yippee. Rather than espouse anything of value we are again entertained by Republican bashing and democrap praising. His observation of gratis publication in an effort to somehow demonize the publication is laughable. Isn’t ‘ol envy grateful of all of his “gratis” publication of crapola?

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