Printed letters, July 10, 2012
In the July 2 article, “BLM fears collusion among bidders,” BLM spokesman Steven Hall offered nothing more than strawman arguments to defend the BLM’s policy of keeping secret the names of the corporations that nominate public lands for oil and gas development.
An informed citizenry is the backbone of a fully functioning constitutional democracy. For that reason, Congress enacted the Freedom of Information Act on July 4, 1967. But for a few specific exceptions, the federal government is required to share information with the American public.
When the government denied our request that it reveal the names of corporations that had requested drilling rights on 30,000 acres of public lands in the North Fork Valley, we filed suit to force the release. Now the burden is on the BLM to show why this information should be kept secret.
Instead, BLM argues that it has a duty to protect the interests of private industry from “public scrutiny” and that it needs to keep the corporations’ names secret so that oil and gas companies don’t break the law against price fixing. That’s like banning driving so we don’t break the speed limit.
If the industry believes there is oil or gas beneath our public lands, it will attempt to acquire those lands and extract the resources. A transparent process isn’t going to stop oil and gas development on public lands.
Disclosure will, however, give citizens the ability to engage in BLM’s decision-making process on a fully informed basis. Given the risks of gas development, we deserve that our government tell the American public what corporate players are interested in drilling and fracking near our homes and schools.
BLM has not demonstrated how withholding the names of nominating parties is consistent with FOIA’s intent — as BLM describes it — of “openness to citizens and the informed consent of the governed.” The mineral resources at issue are public resources, and their development will affect public lands and resources. Public scrutiny of these decisions is essential, contrary to the arguments put forth by BLM.
JIM RAMEY, Director
Citizens for a Healthy Community
Spanish hunter-ed classes must be a political move
According to a recent announcement, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will offer hunter education classes in Spanish. These classes must be for the benefit of illegal aliens, since legal immigrants are required to speak and write in English.
The reason given is that wildlife belongs to all citizens. If this is the case, why aren’t the classes also given in the languages of all immigrants, not just Hispanics?
It appears some discrimination is involved, or perhaps it has something to do with the upcoming elections.
After court ruling, feds can mandate home ownership
With the recent ruling from the Supreme Court, it seems that Congress has the right to force upon us something that it deems we will all need: health insurance.
A major point in the argument from the proponents was that it was reasonable to expect that every person needs health care in life. It’s a terrible blow to the Constitution.
However, in an effort to make something good of this, let’s talk about another thing we all need: a home. All persons will, in their lifetimes, need homes, even more so than health care.
As I see it, the National Association of Home Builders has the green light to get Congress to require that every American own a home, or at the very least rent a home.
This is the end of legal homelessness. Any person, apparently homeless, seen camping along a river or in an abandoned building must be taxed.
This decision, if enforced, will stimulate the local and national economy by building new homes and apartments for all Americans. As a part of the building industry, I suddenly feel very secure in my career choice.
Thank you, President Obama.
As Obamacare supporter, Pace shouldn’t be re-elected
The Supreme Court’s recent decision on Obamacare has drastically changed the course of American history. We neither want this nor can afford this.
Congress is now our only hope to stop a $2 trillion tax levied on the middle class families of Colorado and the rest of the United States (a tax Obama said he would not do. Remember?)
We should all look closely at this year’s congressional election here in Mesa County. Congressman Scott Tipton has done a very good job for middle-class families and seniors in our community, and he deserves our support.
On the other hand, Sal Pace has supported Obama’s progressive agenda, including supporting Obamacare. For this reason, among many others, we must not send Sal Pace to Congress. He cannot be trusted to stand up for Mesa County.