Printed letters, Dec. 12, 2010

Kudos to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission for its efforts to ensure every Coloradan can breathe cleaner air. Its decision Thursday to implement the Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act and embrace abundant natural gas will reduce air pollution, create jobs and propel Colorado toward a more prosperous energy future.

Coal-fired power plants are among the largest contributors to air pollution nationwide, and in Colorado specifically. The American Lung Association estimates that more than 65,000 children in the Denver metro area suffer from asthma. Low-income and minority populations are hit hardest due to less access to health care. Coloradans cannot continue to bear the burden of polluted air anymore.

The PUC’s decision to increase Colorado’s use of cleaner energy sources such as domestic natural gas will help us move toward our clean air goals. Natural gas emits half the carbon dioxide of coal, 80 percent less nitrogen oxide than coal, and virtually no sulfur dioxide, mercury or particulate matter. The implementation of House BIll 1365 will also create clean, good-paying jobs for local residents and funnel more money into our state’s economy.

We all deserve clean air. I commend the PUC for its decision to protect human health and the environment.

POLLY BACA

former State Senator

Denver

Where has our American sense of duty gone?

The reeling reaction of Democratic and Republican leadership to the bipartisan debt commission recommendations on reducing national debt raise the question: Where has our American sense of duty gone? Perhaps, we have, regrettably, adopted a more pervasive and pernicious value of entitlement.

Former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and President Bill Clinton’s former chief of staff Erskine Bowles reached agreement on a proposed series of budget cuts and tax increases that trim $4 trillion from our national debt by 2020. Instead of being hailed as American heroes, they and their recommendations have been assailed as unacceptable. Why? Here’s what some say.

✓ “Gradually raising the full retirement age for Social Security pension to 69 is heartless.” Really, when life expectancy is rising, and the need for veteran talent in the workplace has never been higher?

✓ “A gradual increase in gasoline tax to 15 cents a gallon to ensure highway infrastructure is exorbitant.” Really, when it sustains our highway system and creates construction jobs?

✓ “Cutting domestic and military spending is collectively wrong.” When the goals are a more productive government and a smarter military strategy?

✓ “Limiting or eliminating popular tax breaks is deplorable.” When we can better pay our debt, reform taxes and simplify the tax code?

✓ “Limiting medical malpractice awards and reducing farm subsidies is wrong.” When we can reduce medical and tax expenses for the long term?

The challenge to sustain our greatness as a nation, as creative people, vital entrepreneurs and effective families awaits our collective energies. Meeting the challenge of putting treasure back in balance begs for our enduring resolve. That challenge, however, cannot be met if we continue to sustain an entitlement psyche instead of one of personal and collective commitment to sacrifice for our united future.

WILLIAM P. GARDNER, III

Grand Junction

START II treaty is just a feel-good plan

The merits of START II and all other agreements between world powers are essentially worthless at best and can be very dangerous at worst.

When a super power, such as the United States, deals with countries like Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela and North Korea on a matter of substance, the United States will lose and in the process make the world a more dangerous place to live.

Anyone who doubts this never learned much from history. START is nothing more than a feel-good plan for disaster down the road. The United States needs to put all its resources into becoming so strong that no country dares to challenge its superiority.

You may remember that Hitler made a treaty with England to never invade Sudetenland. We have, sorry to say, a number of Hitlers all over the world. But it makes no difference.

JOHN O. SPENDRUP

Grand Junction



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