Printed letters, May 22

It is simply mind-boggling that state and regulatory agencies such as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, mandated to protect the public’s health and natural resources, concluded not to fine Williams over its massive leak of toxic chemicals in the Parachute Creek area, one of the worst contamination cases from gas and oil operations in our state history.

According to the Denver Post (March 28) benzene levels reached 18,000 ppb in nearby test wells. The state health standard is 5 ppb.

This is clearly a matter of negligence and lack of proper oversight by the company, but a slap on the wrist is all it gets from these industry-biased agencies. Once more the general public, particularly those living in nearby areas, will suffer the long-term health and economic consequences associated with this form of contamination.

Cases such as these can only perpetuate the growing public distrust of CDPHE, COGCC and the gas and oil industries. I’ll cite Bob Arrington, as quoted in the Sentinel, “What does it take to wake them (Williams) up?” He added that it may take a big fine.



Consider helping to renovate
city’s historic Avalon Theatre

Have you ever wondered why Broadway musicals, dramas, and other touring groups bypass Grand Junction? Grand Junction would be a logical stopover between Salt Lake City and Denver, but professional road tours will not stop at a theater holding fewer than 1,000 people.

The Avalon Theatre does not have 1,000 seats, but that is not the only problem. What company will stage a production where there is no room backstage for actors to wait, so they stand in the alley outside – snow, wind or rain?

Who wants to stage a production where an actor exits to the right (or left) of the stage and in order to enter at the opposite side must go outside and around the building? Who wants to stage a production where there are no dressing rooms?

There are audience problems with the Avalon, too. The seats are sagging and uncomfortable, the steps in the balcony are not well lit, the projection room has outdated equipment, the tiny foyer makes one feels like a squashed fly and the theater is not up to city code.

What happens next? The Avalon Theatre could close down permanently in June, or you can save it!

Almost enough money has been raised to begin construction on the first two crucial phases. Costs have risen since the initial planning, and dedicated people are trying desperately to pare the costs before the first week in June when the City Council makes its final decision on whether to issue a construction contract.

Your contribution, large or small, may make the difference in having, or not having, a resurrected theater of which the community can be proud, one that will provide an economic and cultural boost to the valley. Check for more information. Please consider a donation.


Grand Junction


BLM should endeavor
to keep more lands wild

As a climber, hiker and generally “motivated for exploration” kind of person, I have a good deal of experience with the different levels of BLM management.

I have climbed near oil and gas development, been shot at by hunters and enjoyed complete solitude while exploring canyons within the Grand Junction Field Office. There are many places in the field office that I would love to see stay wild.

As much as I appreciate the value of ATVs, guns, driving my car (using oil), heating my home (natural gas), I think we have designated enough public land for development. I would love for future generations of people to experience this area in the same state it is in today. BLM should protect more lands, keeping their wild integrity intact, in its final draft.


Grand Junction


Dennis Webb focused attention
 on severe problem of bad air

I was happy to see Dennis Webb’s article in The Daily Sentinel, bringing attention to a severe problem: our bad air. 

The story was correct in tying high ozone levels to the oil and gas industry.  Many studies show that oil and gas operations have a huge influence on our clean air, particularly along Colorado’s Front Range.

We have many industries in western Colorado that provide jobs and boost our economy while being regulated for the benefit and sustainability of our community and land, such as tourism, hunting and fishing, outdoor recreation and agriculture.

Webb’s story about high ozone levels tied to oil and gas drilling confirms my support for further regulation of the industry.

While we need the resources, if left unregulated, oil and gas drilling will discourage other industries, families and already-threatened wildlife from the areas we hold most dear.

It’s time to step up and take our air quality seriously for the long-term viability of the industry and for the sake of our community.


Grand Junction


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