Printed Letters: September 3, 2017

Commissioners must vet Fram proposal

Our hearts sank when the Mesa County senior planner explained to the commissioners that “there were expensive solutions to Alanco’s stinky ponds but Alanco had neither the money nor expertise to use them.” Low budget options were tried, with the last leaving a hydrochloric acid smell.

Now, it’s not known if the waste ponds even work properly because of lack of use from the drilling slow down. To community taxpayers, it does not appear our county commissioners used a financial vetting process to protect us from Alanco’s damaging speculation.

As citizens who have commented in each phase, we were stunned when our county commissioners signed off on the environmental assessment with Fram selecting Alanco’s compromised ponds as their first choice of a dumpsite.

Vetting/due diligence is the risk assessment process of investigating all facts, conditions, rules, laws, environmental regulations, financial considerations and health effects of a speculative proposal. A report from the Norwegian company owning Fram stated they failed to file their spring 2017 financial statement and have sold equipment to secure operating funds.

In order for Fram’s project to be seriously “vetted” the BLM needs a complete Environmental Impact Statement, technically reviewing each facet of Fram’s proposal including a bonding requirement much higher than the $10,000 per well pad proposed.

The city of Grand Junction will have the option, upon BLM approval, to sell pristine, fresh drinking water to Fram “for drilling, dust control and hydrostatic testing.” They need the results of a BLM EIS and Fram’s financials to see if they warrant that level of support.

Critically, in this “low potential area,” our county commissioners should vet Fram’s financials along with an Environmental Impact Statement to determine if they can bring the project to a strong position or if they are creating another Alanco type failure.

JANET JOHNSON
Grand Junction

CDPHE committed to a fair rulemaking process

I appreciate the engagement of the Rio Blanco County commissioners on the Air Quality Control Commission’s upcoming oil and gas regulatory rulemaking hearing. I want to assure them that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is committed to a fair and impartial rulemaking process founded on sound science, and an open and transparent assessment of the policy implications of potential new air quality requirements.

As Rio Blanco commissioners alluded to in a recent op-ed column, CDPHE, through the Air Pollution Control Division, has proposed a new set of regulatory requirements that apply only in the Denver Metro/North Front Range ozone non-attainment area.

However, the commission has its own independent statutory authority to adopt rules that differ from what the CDPHE proposes, including the geographic scope of the requirements. Likewise, other parties to the rulemaking have the legal right to advance alternate proposals, including in this case proposals that would expand requirements to the rest of the state. But while recognizing that the commission and other parties have independent authority and rights under Colorado law, CDPHE remains committed to the scope of the rule as initially proposed, and does not intend either to modify its proposal to include a statewide component, or support any alternate state-wide proposals that may arise during the rulemaking process.

It was not the intent of the commission’s administrator, Michael Silverstein, to advocate for statewide applicability of the rule. Rather his sole intent was to provide the reporter with information regarding where the rulemaking process stood, including the fact that applying the rules statewide was one possible outcome. Nor was it Mr. Silverstein’s intent to suggest that he was in any way speaking for the commission.

Mr. Silverstein’s role is to ensure that the commission’s procedural rules for rulemakings are strictly adhered to and that the Colorado Administrative Procedures Act is complied with. I can assure you that Mr. Silverstein is acutely aware of the concerns noted by Rio Blanco officials and that this rulemaking hearing will be conducted professionally and appropriately.

LARRY WOLK
Executive director and 
chief medical officer,
Colorado Department 
of Public Health and Environment
Denver

Recent Sentinel article did not promote the local economy

Our local college sets up a career center specifically to try to get graduates to stay here with their skills. The Daily Sentinel publishes an article the next day how high school kids can’t wait to leave with very negative comments. I thought The Daily Sentinel was pro local economy.

JILL BREMAN
Grand Junction

Street’s name change is 
progressive and respectful

Thank you to City Council for your progressive and respectful North Avenue name change to University Boulevard. CMU is so deserving. Progress and growth generally means change.

TOM KELLEY
Grand Junction


COMMENTS

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
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Ms. Breman, while perhaps well intended, is choosing to ignore reality, as most people all too frequently do.  Whether they are high school students or college students, they largely have limited opportunities in the area.  That is primarily because those who have been in charge (politicians and such) represent the “old order” and have (for decades) not been able to see the future.  What was reality for them, they believe should be the future for others and, while they may claim to want progress, it must be under their terms, terms that serve their own self-interests.

Ms. Janet Johnson brings up a good point, that prior to approving any agreement with any company or private individual, public officials need to insure that any party must have the financial resources to either complete a particular project and clean up after themselves.  Anything else places the public at risk of having to assume the burden of either completing a project or cleaning up afterwards.

I would agree that $10,000 bond or insurance per well is far too little an amount as, if something happens, that amount could easily be exceeded, as it all too frequently has in the past. 

Ms. Johnson points out such a case with Alanco, and hot only public officials but the general public should take heed of this example and others like them.

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