Printed Letters: November 17, 2016

Higher royalties results in local revenues

The Bureau of Land Management oversees the production of oil and natural gas on federal lands. These lands and the minerals they contain are owned by all Americans.

A portion of the money generated by the sale of federal oil and gas is returned to taxpayers in the form of royalty payments to the federal government, states and local communities. That money supports local schools, fire departments and the construction of roads and bridges.

Currently, a significant portion of the gas produced is wasted when it is vented to the atmosphere or burned at the well site. In fact, 200,000 metric tons of methane — the primary component of natural gas — were released from public lands between 2009 and 2014. If captured and sold, that gas would have generated $330 million per year.

Luckily, the BLM decided to resolve this issue and finalized a new rule on Tuesday that will limit methane waste. The requirements, if fully implemented, will keep gas in the pipeline, increasing the amount of money returned to local communities. A fair return to taxpayers means a better quality of life here on the Western Slope. We can use that revenue for many great things, like putting it toward our schools and infrastructure.

When you drive around Mesa County you’ll see numerous roads, buildings and sidewalks in need of repair. Our schools in District 51 are in desperate need of funding, as we rate average to below average compared to other school districts across the state. With the amount of money oil and gas companies make off of the resources extracted from our public lands, it is only right that our county benefits during the process.

As many of us know living in Mesa County, the impacts of the oil patch’s unpredictable boom and bust cycles are always felt on our local economy. Ensuring a fair return to taxpayers from royalties is simply smart for our community’s financial health now and into the future. The BLM methane rule provides insurance that our resources aren’t taken for next to nothing.

VICTORIA ONTIVEROS

Grand Junction

Protestors should know that Trump won fair and square

Eileen O’Toole (“We really need to talk about bigotry in the open”) takes issue with the notion that conservatives accepted the results of the last eight years. Well, since that election eight years ago was legal, we had to. But she goes on to denigrate “massive numbers of bigots disrupting everything both inside and outside the government.”

Wow! Just how did the country exist with all that massive “disruption?” She also said “...the Koch Brothers now own our government….” I guess I missed that sale. Further on in her letter she alleges, “white power rhetoric is even more disturbing now.” That eruption of “white power” is another event I have not noticed. She goes on to urge “upset protestors start planning for the next vote in two years and the one in four years.”

First off, these “protestors” should try to remember their civics course, if they ever took one. If not, then read the Constitution and research why we have an Electoral College. President-elect Trump won fair and square.

Oh, and by the way, “bigot” is defined by Webster as “A person who holds blindly and intolerantly to a particular creed or opinion.” That works both ways, be it a liberal or a conservative.

CREIGHTON BRICKER
Grand Junction

Redlands roundabout is 
unwanted and unwarranted

Many hundreds of taxpayers feel the proposed Redlands roundabout is unwanted, unwarranted, and unworkable.

At the “open house” regarding same, the engineers’ attitude was a tad patronizing and 100 percent evasive. Mike Curtis and Zane Znamenacek refused to admit the project is a done deal, and the mayor would not respond. (I guess our petition in opposition is being used for toilet paper.) Todd Hollenbeck alone had the guts to be truthful.

Our intersection bears no resemblance to the other roundabouts presented as examples of success. Without traffic lights, vehicles from dozens of side streets feeding onto Highway 340 will be unable to join the steady stream of which the engineers are so enamored.

Yes, the intersection can be made better, but this roundabout is like bringing an elephant gun to a mosquito problem. Someone should go back to the drawing board.

LIANE ABRAMS
Grand Junction

Reducing speed limits at 
intersection may be solution

The editorial defending the Redlands roundabout spouts a lot of numbers, statistics, and predictions calling this a public safety issue. I, and many Redlands residents, feel that simply reducing the speed limit on the approaches would mitigate any safety issue without impacting traffic flow, and, as you have pointed out, free several million dollars up for a higher priority project elsewhere, of which there are many.

The inconvenience of construction has never been the main bone of contention. A lot of the population of the Redlands and users of the intersection believe that if there is nothing to repair, don’t repair it (and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!).

PAT CLARK
Grand Junction


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Thursday’s letter from Creighton Bricker (“Protesters should know that Trump won fair and square”) conflates two non-synonymous standards – legal and “fair and square”.

While those “protesters should know that Trump won” the election legally under Article II, Section 1, of our Constitution (providing for the Electoral College), Bricker himself must know – as do those protesters—that Trump did not win “fair and square” (a familiar idiom meaning “honestly and straightforwardly”).

Rather, by all objective measures, Trump was the most dishonest presidential candidate in U.S. history—cynically banking on the now-confirmed expectation that his devoted base of resentment-filled “deplorables” was entirely immune from fact-checking and would continue to be mesmerized by his rhetoric even when they knew he was lying.

Likewise, while Trump’s campaign was “straightforward” in its direct appeal to atavistic racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, nativism, and religious intolerance, he still has not released his tax returns (the most “straightforward” proof of personal integrity) and has confidently taken conflicting positions on a host of issues – even as he, Pence, and other surrogates bald-facedly denied saying what is captured on video-tape and tweets.

Bricker also employs the oldest propagandistic trick in the books – projecting his own bigotry on those who call out bigotry when they see it.  Bricker’s “tell” is conveniently ignoring the facts that Trump’s political rise began with racist “birtherism”, that he then stoked exaggerated fears of Hispanic and Muslim immigrants, and that Republicans in the South oppose Medicaid expansion because it disproportionately benefits minorities.

Protestors perceive that a victorious minority of misled voters abandoned democracy in favor of an autocrat.  Photos of the Trump family resemble those of the Romanovs (with Stephen Bannon mimicking Rasputin off-camera).  While no one seeks for the Trumps the fate that befell the Romanovs, only the delusional can seriously believe that a Trump presidency and twice-failed Republican fiscal policies will “Make America Great Again”.

Such as Mr. Bricker apparently rely on some K-12 civics course they had a very long time ago.  They then jump to the Constitution as their source.  The only problem with such so-called “reasoning” is that a civics course is but a general and overly broad view of how things are organized, with only a very brief overview of how things work.  That is about all they know about their own country.  That is particularly tragic, since intelligent discourse requires a much deeper knowledge of many things, including what human civilization is all about, why people establish governments, who and what they are meant to serve, and what happens when they don’t.

This country and this society, just as any other country or society worthy of the distinction of being “civilized” has to accept that it is about human beings, and consequently humanism.  It is not about money, gods, etc.  That is what many (Mr. Bricker being a classic example)have never learned that, have forgotten it, or have placed something else “above” that, undoubtedly convinced that they have discovered something “brand new”.  Unfortunately for him, as well as for all too many others, what they believe is as old as recorded history, and most probably goes back even further than that. 

The historians, Will and Ariel Durant, stated it quite well as the end of one of their volumes in The Story of Civilization”.  It was that if there is one lesson that members of one generation cannot pass on to any subsequent generation, each generation seemingly having to learn it on its own, is that human beings are but human beings.  Some of us would go even further and state that even members of any particular generation, even if they learn it, will all too soon forget it and will have to re-learn it.  That is what has always plagued humanity, the failure to accept that and, for no other reason than pure human ego (or super-ego), convinces itself that it can be more than that.  It is specifically those individuals who are the cause of all conflicts, from the personal to the international level.

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