Printed letters, August 18, 2010

Oil industry has never been properly monitored

Years ago, at a congressional hearing in Fort Bragg, a fishing town in northern California, I testified against gas drilling off that wild Pacific coast. The citizens hung bed sheets from their second-story windows painted, “NO DRILLING.”

They could have used the jobs, but they did not want their ocean livelihood tainted by oil spills. We won. There has been no drilling off the California northern coast ever since.

The U.S. Minerals Management Service has failed to appear at a third of gas and oil accident scenes, retrieved only 16 fines out of 400 Gulf incidents and never investigated every blowout, as their rules require according to a Houston Chronicle analysis.

The five major oil companies — BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and Shell — all use the same subcontractor, the Response Group, to write up their preparation plans for Gulf operations.

There are major errors and omissions that overstate a company’s preparedness to deal with uncontrollable leaks, according to the Associated Press. Three of the companies’ 2009 plans, including BP’s, list a consultant who died five years ago. Four list protection of walruses, sea lions, and seals, which do not live in the Gulf. Clearly these plans were written for the Arctic area.

In 1981, a federal moratorium was decreed on all new offshore drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and parts of Alaska. However, all around the world rigs leak, spill, have blow-outs, release toxins, pollute the water and air, kill workers, birds and fish and ruin people’s livelihoods.

A moratorium is needed — yes. But will the “too big to fail” oil industry learn from its glaring mistakes?

PEGGY RAWLINS Grand Junction

Closing auto dealerships was a definite mistake

A recent report by Troubled Asset Relief Program Special Inspector General Barofsky (appointed by the Obama administration) has been virtually ignored by the major media. That report dealt with the administration’s decision to force GM and Chrysler to close 2,000 dealerships.

Closing those 2,000 dealerships cost an estimated 100,000 people their jobs during this recession. The closures were made despite GM’s assertion that closing dealerships would not save the manufacturer one cent and could, in fact, cause the loss of customer loyalty and sales, especially in rural America, where buyers would have to drive to areas with more brands available.

The report also found that the decisions about which dealerships to retain were based on three factors: They were recent appointments, key wholesale parts dealers or minority or woman-owned dealerships. So many dealerships in rural areas, where those businesses supported small economies and local organizations, were closed simply because they were owned by white men.

The closings yanked the Dodge dealership from Hellman Motors in Delta. We bought our last pickup, a Dodge, there. I will not buy another Dodge because I now have to go to Grand Junction for Dodge service.

Our next vehicles will be Fords. Ford did not take bailout money and it offers local service. GM and Chrysler have lost my business because Obama, using racial and gender preferences, caused profitable dealerships to be closed.



Talley’s closing response has been overwhelming

Most of you know me as Dyan from Talley’s or Sarge. The response to our closing the doors was overwhelming.

I just wanted to thank Grand Junction for all the support and memories. I would also like to thank our wonderful staff for staying with us until the very end. That meant a lot to us.

It was a bittersweet time for all and we will miss you. Talley’s customers are the best!

DYAN KOEPNICK Grand Junction


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