Printed Letters: May 4, 2017

We need to keep public lands in public hands

As someone who has helped develop the outdoor industry in Colorado and watched it grow into an economic powerhouse, I am very concerned with the ongoing campaign by anti-public land interests to transfer America’s public lands to states or sell them off to private investors.

I’m skeptical of the review announced last week by President Trump that could scale back or even abolish national monuments in Colorado and elsewhere established in recent decades by presidents of both parties.

This would be a terrible mistake. Public lands such as the new Browns Canyon National Monument preserve incredible outdoor opportunities to hunt, fish, hike, bike, camp and float — and they’re strongly supported by local communities, which understand that these lands offer one of the best new, sustainable ways to grow their local economies.

Let’s not kill the goose that laid the golden egg. Keep our public lands in public hands and don’t roll back protections for our special places.

JIM BARTSCHI
President, Scott Fly Rods
Montrose

Soldiers’ deaths should have received front-page coverage

I came within a year of being in the draft for Vietnam and would have gone had the need still existed. But I would never be hypocritical enough to say I wish I could have gone.

After listening to years of stories all the way from my dad in Korea to a personal friend fighting in Iraq, I have come to believe that these individuals serving our country are members of a very elite club, which the rest of us can never understand, but can appreciate.

Therefore I wonder at why the deaths of three American soldiers goes from The Daily Sentinel’s front page at the start of the war in Iraq to page seven on April 30.

PAUL M. CROSS
Delta

Reform legislation reneges on 
pre-existing conditions promise

From the start of this health care debate a promise has been repeated: the practice of discriminating against people with a pre-existing condition will not be allowed.

In fact, Rep. Scott Tipton even co-sponsored the Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Greg Walden from Oregon in February 2017, designed to ensure that enrollees cannot have benefits excluded from a plan due to a pre-existing condition and that patients will not pay more based on their health care status.

However, the latest amendment to the American Health Care Act reneges on that promise. It allows states the option of waiving the ban on health status rating if they have a high-risk pool — ushering in a patchwork health care system where patients can be charged more for having pre-existing conditions and cancer patients could be priced out of the market.

States would also be allowed to waive the requirement that health coverage must include Essential Health Benefits, leaving cancer patients and survivors with no guarantee that chemotherapy, prescription drugs, prevention services or hospitalization would be covered.

These moves would set back the clock to when individuals with pre-existing conditions like cancer would essentially be denied coverage in certain states.

Join me in calling on Rep, Scott Tipton to stand by his promise and vote against the AHCA and the MacArthur Amendment.

KATHRYN TARMAN, MD
Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)

Grand Junction

Commissioners should reject injection well plan

Residents of Battlement Mesa appreciate the Sentinel editorial last week urging the Garfield County commissioners to reject the plan to locate an oil and gas wastewater disposal well inside our community. We agree that injection wells do not belong in residential areas and so does the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This is purely a land-use decision as injection wells are not about property rights and the commissioners are well within their powers to reject this plan.

The industrial development of our community is well underway now as Ursa is drilling 53 wells inside the community and continuing previous work on pads just outside our boundaries. Soon, Ursa will begin the permitting process to build two to three more pads and dozens of new wells and pipelines inside our community. When one looks at Battlement Mesa from I-70, the centerpiece of the vista is now a pad with giant sound walls adjacent to homes.

We know that Ursa is striving to be a good neighbor through this process but we should not lose sight of the fact that living with oil and gas development in your backyard is not a pleasant experience. Noise, lights, smells, trucks and accidents are all inevitable parts of any industrial activity and we now live with them every day.

Denying an injection well in Battlement Mesa will not stop Ursa’s ability to complete their operations, but is one small piece of this giant industrial plan that does not need to happen so close to where people live. We ask the commissioners to bear this in mind as we begin the next phase of large-scale oil and gas development within our beautiful residential community.

DAVE DEVANNEY
Battlement Mesa


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Mr. Cross states that “if the need still existed” he would have gone to Vietnam.  Some of us would ask him if, even though there was no longer any “Vietnam” did he enlist in any of the military services?  If not, then he cannot possibly even hint at what he “would” have done.

Some who served in the military were drafted, while others of us enlisted.  Some went to Vietnam when there was one, while others did not.  Those of us who enlisted did so, not for any type of glory or to be anything special, but because we were raised to consider serving in the military as a civic obligation, and to do one thing to physically protect this country, not its real estate or selected groups of individuals, but every single individual;  i.e. We were protecting fellow human beings, and specifically the human rights of each and every single one of them.  After that, we moved on into civilian life, but still kept that in mind.  And when someone finds out that we are a veteran and thank us for our service, some of us will say “Thank you” but, in the back of our mind is one thing “What did you do, and what are you doing now, to defend the human rights of every other single person?”  If the answer is “nothing”, or if it applies only to specific individuals and or groups, then we would say “Keep your thanks until you have actually done something.  Otherwise that it is an empty “thank you”.

Some of us are old enough to remember asking our parents why someone died, and those were victims of World War I.  Others were from World War II and Korea.  Vietnam was the war of our generation.  We lost “good friends” during that war, as well as many who were wounded.  Those were not individuals we spoke of as abstractions or statistics, they were real, and that is how we remember them.

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