Printed letters, April 13, 2010

Express your opinion without angry rants

Lately, while running errands, I have found myself on the receiving end of people’s opinions of President Obama. These opinions are laced with violent threats against the president and it concerns me to live in a community where people feel comfortable enough to express this to strangers.

I understand that there are major changes occurring in our country concerning health care and nuclear weapons and that change is often frightening for people. But the comments I have heard concerning the president are quite troubling.

Not only are most of them mired in illogical and misinformed thinking, but some go as far as to insinuate that any violence against the president is deserved. This is a sharp contrast to the time when negative statements toward the Bush administration were seen as wildly unpatriotic.

It’s easy to say something won’t work because this way we can reap the benefits if it succeeds and not be held accountable if it fails. It’s much harder to have faith that the ideals we voted for will be upheld in the wake of such negative talk.

As a person who has been affected by gun violence, lost friends to the war and felt the financial stress of providing health care for my loved ones, I have a personal stake in working toward a nation where these troubles might be lessened for future generations.

Maybe in the meantime, while we take baby steps toward this reality, we can all express our opinions with intelligent compassion instead of angry rants based on the misinformation spewed by fanatical talk-radio pundits whose main agenda is spreading fear.

Perhaps it is time to turn off the radio, get informed through unbiased news sources and remember to have a basic respect for human life and the future of this country.



Reports of drilling spills are quite disconcerting

I was perusing the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission database the other day, doing research for a college paper, and I discovered that records of spills and other releases of potentially harmful chemicals are publicly available. Many of these are quite disconcerting.

Encana alone has reported 245 of these incidents since October of 2002, the earliest date for which electronic summaries are available, and a majority took place in Garfield and Mesa Counties.

A number of these reports cite contamination of surface and groundwater. Others, like this one, note damage to important wildlife areas:

“A production pit containing drilling liquids and petroleum hydrocarbons overflowed sometime in the spring of 2007 and ran down into a wetlands area at the base of the DCU-35 well pad. EnCana was notified by the Forest Service of the incident on June 12, 2007. The quantity and date are unknown.”

I encourage people who are concerned about the environmental impacts of the natural gas industry to take a gander at these reports.


Glenwood Springs

Hickenlooper, Democrats pander for industry funds

I much agree with the sentiments expressed in Bill Grant’s April 7 column, “Will Hickenlooper represent entire state or be a shill for big energy?”

Hickenlooper is pandering to the gas industry for political reasons. He probably is seeking their financial support, as well as hoping that they will not heavily support the opposition in the upcoming election. So, will big gas industry money trump the public interest in Colorado this fall election?

Does Hickenlooper support the position that the gas industry should be permitted to drill everywhere without limits, regardless of impacts on human welfare and the environment?

Or is this the now-familiar Democratic Party strategy of surrender, then negotiate? The premature abandonment of a principled position encourages the opposition to demand still further concessions.

Let’s hope that Western Slope people still so adversely affected by natural gas extraction practices will not be totally left out of the election calculations of the Democratic Party this fall.


Battlement Mesa


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