Printed letters, November 8, 2012
When the shedding of tears subsides and the high fives have ceased, we can all be thankful that there are no riots or fighting in the streets or militias storming government offices.
Regardless of our choices, democracy wins again. Now all we have to do is get rid of the stench from the negativity on both sides and get back to normal.
Nation’s biggest problem may be hyper-partisanship
I can’t remember ever being as relieved as when Election Day finally came and went this year.
I’m sure it’ll stay the main topic of conversation for a few more days before melting into history, but at least it signals a coming return to normal TV and an end to the relentless campaign ads. And none too soon, too, because the “robo” calls were driving me as crazy as a rat in a coffee can.
Unfortunately, the election won’t solve what I see as a glaring problem today. If you guessed unemployment or the economy, you guessed wrong.
I believe partisanship is one of the most noticeable problems we face. The inability of either side to compromise has created a deadlock not likely to fade soon. It looks as if the sides have moved to extreme corners and will stay there as long as the two-party system exists. The Founding Fathers warned us about this very thing hundreds of years ago.
At any rate, it’s all over now, and as Americans we need to pull together and make the best of whatever comes. We can start by paying homage to the men and women who’ve fought as America directed them to, to guarantee our right to vote in the first place, even though the election didn’t make everybody happy.
So, let’s remember Veteran’s Day Nov. 11. It’s not partisan, and we all need to thank them for their service to this nation. The parade is downtown at 2 p.m. Saturday. See you there!
Environmental groups really are a single entity
So, it seems that the Denver based environmentalist “watchdog” group, Checks and Balances, is in a tizzy over how Environmentally Conscious Consumers for Oil Shale analyzed the comments to the BLM regarding that agency’s recent study concerning oil shale development and leasing.
As the story alludes, C&B co-director Matt Garrington thinks that counting one letter of support signed by a number of groups as one letter of support is an egregious bit of manipulation. Well, he and his cohorts would know a thing or two about that.
As more and more people are starting to realize, the environmental movement has for many years organized itself at the local levels into various splinter groups for the express purpose of creating the illusion of wider and more varied support than it actually enjoys. For instance, in a particular area, the local environmental lobby may form “Such-and-such River Conservation Alliance,” Ranchers for the Spotted Owl,” “Save Our Local Forest League,” “Citizens Against Heat and Light” and the “Sagebrush Protection Coalition,” all mostly the same people, sharing the same staff, funded from the same sources.
Then, when the time comes to weigh in on a particular issue, such as oil shale, all of these splinter groups can sign on to a single letter, confident that the public-relations arm of their network, folks such as Checks and Balances, will ensure that they are counted as separate organizations, not the single entity that in reality they are.
ECCOS was entirely correct in realizing this political reality and using the BLM’s own matrix in its analysis. It should be credited with seeing through the political games played by the environmental lobby and providing a truer picture to the public.
It’s reasonable to question potential oil shale impacts
It seems that every couple years, oil shale boosters such as Club 20 and the Environmentally Conscious Consumers for Oil Shale trot out the line about oil shale being the solution to our energy problems. But oil shale could cause more problems than it solves.
We don’t know if oil shale will create jobs — or if it will be an economically and environmentally viable energy source. What we do know is that there could be a huge impact to water and wildlife, the very things that support our diverse economy. Communities need to know what this industry could mean — especially for critical resources such as our water supply — before giving it the go-ahead.
Why should we allow oil shale development on 2 million acres in the West when the research and development sites currently being explored and tested have yet to come up with a viable oil extraction method?
Expecting a fair and full airing of potential impacts of oil shale development is a responsible and reasonable request. I hope the BLM and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar understand that we need to know exactly what those impacts are before moving on to large-scale development on our public land. Even schoolchildren know the “look before you leap” rule. We can’t afford to do it the other way around.