Printed letters, April 18, 2010

HB 1365 will cost jobs and money

For many years, we on the Western Slope of Colorado have known we are the stepchildren of the Front-Range politicians on most issues. It now appears this relationship extends even among our neighboring senate and representative districts.

I am referring to the recently passed HB 1365. I actually held out hope that even Gov. Ritter would wake up before he signs this job-costing, consumer expensive bill.

The ultimate insult was seeing Sen. Josh Penry as a co-sponsor of this bill in the Senate. Then for added measure, his excuses reported in The Daily Sentinel of impacts being “overblown” and that “we had to enact this measure or the EPA would step in and force it anyway.” Then make them force it. It’s called sticking up for your residents of Colorado. It’s called doing the right thing.

My wife and I have owned a dry cleaner, laundry and carpet-cleaning business since 1981 in Paonia and I have spent my entire life here. Many of our friends and by far the majority of our customers are directly employed or indirectly associated with coal mines. These hard-working, Christian people want nothing more than to be left alone and allowed to raise their families and pay their bills. Most of us in the North Fork look at things fairly simply and see HB 1365 as an attack on us, with Penry leading the charge with his sponsorship of the bill.

Why does our state government choose not to support such a long-standing contributor to our economy? The clean coal of the Western Slope is revered nationally and worldwide. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand the benefits of our coal, not only to BTU output versus cost, but the taxes and fees paid to local governments, special districts and schools for the education of our kids.

Sen. Penry has made an absolutely terrible decision in cosponsoring the fast-tracked HB 1365. The entire process reeked of under-the-table deal making. We can only pray and hope for a reasonable future Legislature that will quickly repeal this bill.



EPA regulations are stifling business

The Environmental Protection Agency has given itself the authority to regulate any and all people, organizations and activities that produce CO2 — at least if the amount is more than 25,000 metric tons a year.

Now, despite the fact we all produce CO2, the EPA will demand reports from those it deems to be polluters, which will likely include many, many more businesses and organizations than ever before.  As it gathers information, the EPA will “tailor” regulation and enforcement to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

Think about that for a moment. Almost any entity or place where something is grown, transported, constructed, mined, manufactured, visited, heated or cooled will soon have to issue reports and probably get permits never before required. In Colorado, it will mean a flood of requests for authorizations to the Department of Public Health and Environment, which is already stretched thin. One can only imagine the delays in new construction, mining and agriculture that will result.

The good news is that states are pushing back, though unfortunately Colorado isn’t one of them. At least 15 are now challenging the EPA’s findings and intentions. Colorado is staying on the sidelines with neither of its senators opting to challenge the agency’s overreaching.

In the meantime — as businesspeople deal with increased regulation and the cheapest ways of addressing it — development languishes on alternative forms of energy and pollution prevention. Why? Because as long as Washington, D.C., and the EPA remain unpredictable as to how or what they will regulate, businesses will simply not invest or innovate.


Grand Junction

Editorial cartoon was offensive and incorrect

Newspapers should inform, educate and entertain. While The Daily Sentinel’s Tea Party editorial cartoon in the April 11 paper might entertain some of your audience, I’m not the only one who found it highly offensive. The Sentinel should better serve its readers by providing a tightly written, factual piece about the Tea Party movement.




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