Printed letters, Dec. 2, 2010

I want to commend Gary Harmon on his excellent article about the GAO Report on oil shale and water.

The GAO report wisely recommends that the federal government take steps on oil shale right now, including the establishment of baseline conditions for water quality, modeling regional groundwater movement and studying the interaction between groundwater and surface water.

Water use and protection are top priorities for companies now working in oil shale. Environmentalists are right to say that water is an issue. But, it is not an insurmountable problem.

Water use estimates for oil shale are dropping every year and water protections are constantly improving. Indeed, the GAO report says there is sufficient water to start commercial oil shale development.

Yet, we won’t fully understand the water issue until we begin small-scale commercial development, including work on federal lands where the richest oil shale deposits are located.

Perhaps the most important point is that large-scale commercial development of oil shale will not occur any time soon. The industry will start small and grow slowly in the coming decades. As this small industry advances, we’ll see first-hand the impacts to water.

We should also discover new technologies that will further minimize impacts to water.

Some people want to stop all oil shale research right now. But, whether you like it or not, America will increasingly depend on oil for many decades to come, even with the development of new energy and conservation technologies.

With this reality in mind, the choice is very clear. Shall we continue researching and innovating to see if we can develop our massive domestic oil-shale resources?

Or, shall we continue down the current road of increasing dependence on foreign oil?

CURTIS MOORE Environmentally Conscious Consumers for Oil Shale

Grand Junction

Don’t change name of Kit Carson Mountain

I read the Nov. 21 Associated Press article on renaming Kit Carson Mountain, and feel very strongly that this should not be done.

Many of the Indian tribes of the Southwest had sacred mountains that they frequently visited to reconnect with spirits of their ancestors and to revitalize their sense of the majesty of nature.

I do not believe that Kit Carson Mountain is sacred to any Indian tribe, including the Navajo.

But it is sacred to my family for exactly the same reasons that motivated the Indian tribes.

We are descendants of Kit Carson, and very proud of the role he played in winning the West for the United States. And our family sport of mountain climbing has provided our way to reconnect with nature.

On Aug. 25, 1989, my two sons and I climbed Kit Carson Mountain, which was a very special and pivotal event in our family history. Since then, we have climbed many of Colorado’s fourteeners, but we often return to the Sangre de Cristos and always relive the Kit Carson experience at family reunions with a sense of reverence.

When Kit Carson retired from his long career in the service of his country, he retired to live out his final days in the place he loved the best — Colorado.

When I retired four years ago, my wife and I made the identical decision, and relocated to Colorado from Virginia.

We also wanted to spend our last days near the majestic mountains that had given us so much joy and inspiration in years past. In fact, my will directs that my ashes shall be scattered by one of my descendants from the peak of Kit Carson Mountain.

DR. KENT CARSON Grand Junction

‘Zipper’ lanes a mistake for Interstate 70 traffic

Are Colorado’s state lawmakers about to make some serious, even fatal, mistakes involving transportation issues?

There are 183 bridges that are defective. Some will fall sooner than others. Some are on hazardous-waste routes and many more on school-bus routes. Do we ignore this problem, as did Minnesota?

Even worse is the growing plan to build “zipper” lanes. This plan adds lanes on Interstate 70 eastbound and reduces westbound lanes.

This means that Western Slope residents on the way home from Broncos games, etc. will have an additional 90 minutes in backed-up traffic. This wait will come at 10,000 feet elevation in cold weather.

Carbon monoxide builds up at higher elevations more than at lower elevations. Car heaters will draw in this carbon monoxide since most exhaust systems are not up to speed.

In addition, emergency vehicles westbound will also face backups.

Engineers who constructed the Eisenhower Tunnel understood this. That’s why vents and fans are on the roof. There are many answers to I-70 jams, but “zipper” lanes aren’t one of them.

R.K. SAMPSON

Denver



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