Printed letters, January 23, 2014

With all of the flurry around the airport, it appears some of the most vital information is missing.

I have been involved with this for the past three years, and it needs to be made clear that the current Airport Authority members are the solution and not the source of the problems.

It has taken a long time to remove members of the old board and replace them with new people. The old board members are the ones who chose to back Rex Tippets and are responsible for the huge mess we are now dealing with.

Members of the current board are trying to repair the very bad decisions that were made and do not deserve to be accused of any wrongdoing. The responsibility belongs to the previous members.

DEBORAH GAUL

Fruita

Commissioners must support 
the proposed state air rules

I want to urge our Mesa County commissioners to support the state-proposed safety measures for tighter restrictions on air pollution by the oil and gas industry. An attractive environment that includes clear air is critical to tourism and new companies locating here, and it ultimately leads to more jobs.

While the relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel, it still needs to be carefully handled during production operations, since this is when the majority (63 percent) of methane escapes to the atmosphere.

Atmospheric methane levels are of interest due to methane’s impact on climate change, as it is one of the most potent greenhouse gases on Earth. Methane traps 34 times more heat per mass unit than carbon dioxide.

Our commissioners say that since we are not within an air quality non-attainment area, the Western Slope doesn’t need to do anything additional to improve our air quality. So, it is OK for the residents of Mesa County to breathe some of the worst air I have seen in the nation in the last 25 years?

Some opponents of the safety measures contend that the state’s cost estimate was low-balled. The groups say that discrepancies are due to factors such as failure to address significant costs of leak repairs and follow-up monitoring.

This is rather astounding, since it implies that if their production systems have a leak, there may not be any repair or follow-up monitoring unless regulations are in place to enforce action.

In view of the apparent lack of responsibility from some of the gas producers in the area, the serious potential threat to the atmosphere and our marginal air quality in Mesa County, I sincerely hope that the commissioners will support the clean air regulations.

ROGER STONE

Grand Junction

 

Scott acts like he represents 
energy firms, not constituents

What an incredible op-ed piece by Rep. Ray Scott in the Jan. 12 edition of The Daily Sentinel. Last time I checked we were paying him to serve us. His op-ed could easily have been written by a representative of the energy industry.

Everywhere I go in this community, I hear people complaining about our air quality. Some people have serious health repercussions with respiratory ailments, and it’s beyond just being an annoyance. Scott seems to imply that people in less populated areas don’t need clean air to breathe. Apparently, we are a hardier breed.

He further seems to imply that clean air is a detriment to employment, particularly locally. There is a nationwide glut of natural gas, and production will only take place where it can be done for the least expense, and that doesn’t include production in our area right now. The cost of production locally is the result of natural conditions, not oppressive regulations.

Scott’s suggestion that we fight the Air Quality Control Commission is outrageous. We live in an area that is subject to winter inversions that hold the bad air in for days and weeks at a time.

Scott is correct in the importance of natural gas for heating. Fireplaces are nice, but in a sensitive area such as ours, gas logs work well and can be just as welcoming as a fire in the fireplace.

Scott needs to pay attention to his true constituents, the public, and stop being a lackey, a water carrier for the energy industry. Fortunately, he will have a very credible opponent in the upcoming election. He should be shown the door.

JOHN BORGEN

Grand Junction

 

Randy Cook case deserves
more thorough investigation

Please assign someone to investigate the Randy Cook case. Run a story demanding answers.

Witnesses have called the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office trying to give more information, and investigators have been rude to them. They haven’t re-interviewed anyone present that night who was too upset to be interviewed then. The district attorney hadn’t fully reviewed the case before he was already making assumptions about how hard it is to prove because of the “Make My Day” law.

We just want a full investigation and justice. We would have more faith in the investigators if they would actually talk to the witnesses who are calling them. They want to tell their story. Please help us put pressure on them.

JESSICA MORRIS

Grand Junction



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John Borgen’s timely letter – “Scott acts like he represents energy firms, not constituents” – affords added insight into what’s at stake for local residents and Sentinel readers in this year’s elections.

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 mines 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 have flocked to the Grand Valley—contributing to a much more diversified economy and expressing 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).

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