Printed Letters: May 20, 2014
Garfield County must keep emissions under control
The Sentinel reported on April 22 that Garfield County officials are declaring their air to be cleaner than ever and decrying the notion that the oil and gas industry should have to curtail dangerous emissions.
While clean air should be celebrated, Garfield County’s claims that we should now forget about air pollution from drilling and fracking are not only misplaced, they’re dangerous.
True, Garfield County may not currently be violating air quality standards. That’s a relief. But simply because an area is not violating doesn’t mean it can’t or never will.
Take Rio Blanco County to the north. For years, air quality there remained in compliance with health limits. Yet after a spate of high ozone in 2013, Colorado health officials have now acknowledged: Rio Blanco County is violating.
Ozone is the key ingredient of smog, the same pollution that plagues Los Angeles. Yet, while Rio Blanco County may not be big in population, it’s big in oil and gas.
In fact, oil and gas operations are the largest source of smog-forming pollution in Rio Blanco County, annually releasing more than 25,000 tons of these contaminants, according to state of Colorado inventories.
Garfield County is also big in oil and gas. It’s responsible for 35,000 tons of smog-forming emissions every year, far more than in Rio Blanco County.
New rules adopted by the Colorado Air Commission give hope that this pollution will be kept in check. However, this doesn’t mean we abandon vigilance. As we’ve seen in Rio Blanco, clean air can turn unhealthy without precaution.
Drilling and fracking is intensely polluting. For public health, Garfield County shouldn’t turn its back on precaution, it should embrace efforts to ensure that at all times the oil and gas industry is doing everything it can to keep harmful emissions under control.
Outrage over Sterling’s racist comments reeks of hypocrisy
On one hand, Los Angeles Clippers’ owner, Donald Sterling is rightly castigated for his racist comments. On the other hand, one wonders why black rap artists get a free ride with their music that glorifies social, moral and racist bankruptcy. The lifestyles they model as ideal do far more to undermine the lifelong aspirations of the younger generations of their own race than Sterling’s comments could.
It is amazing how our present society imagines itself as morally superior to the ignorance or repression of past generations. Yet the fevered outrage over Sterling’s comments reeks of hypocrisy more than progress. It stands in stark contrast to our culture’s passive embrace of such Hollywood sewage as current release, “Neighbors,” which is rated R for “pervasive language, strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity and drug use throughout.”
If “progress” means a further descent into the moral abyss, then we are indeed a progressive society.
Knit on the Corner unethically opportunistic
The idea of Knit on the Corner had a false premise to begin with. Using someone else’s fine art to promote your own work is unethically opportunistic.
Assessor candidate will work to fund senior exemption
In the May 15 Daily Sentinel, James Day, who is 82, was recently forced to move into a smaller house. Day points out a condition he calls “not fair” and “discriminatory”: his loss of the Homestead Senior Exemption as allowed under Colorado statute.
This situation has hit seniors in our community hard. The law specifically requires a 10-year residency in an owner’s primary residence to qualify for the exemption. Yet, many seniors find themselves in the exact same position as Day — forced to move to a smaller home for a variety of reasons.
Closely related to this is the sporadic funding of this exemption: the state of Colorado finances this exemption and does so only when funds are specifically made available. Seniors cannot know from one year to the next if they will be granted this exemption — which was first given by a vote of the people.
In these situations, law ties the assessor’s hands. What can be done? If elected as your assessor, I will work with our state legislators to reform the statutes governing senior exemption to make the exemption “portable,” something that is assigned to the individual, not the property. I will assure a permanent source of funding for this program.
The solution to these issues lies in political will. Denver and the counties must work together to ensure that seniors like Day are treated fairly and equally.
Candidate for Mesa County assessor