Printed letters, Feb. 1, 2011

The Colorado Water Conservation Board just completed its 2010 update to the Statewide Water Supply Initiative. The report came to the alarming conclusion that Colorado may face a shortfall of up to 630,000 acre-feet of water per year by 2050, under a “high-growth” scenario that includes a 550,000 barrel-per-day oil shale industry.

When it comes to Colorado’s water, oil shale is a common whipping-boy among opponents of fossil fuels. However, this new report clearly shows that the “elephant-in-the-room” for Colorado’s water is growth on the Front Range.

When you break the numbers down, you can see there is a key geographic component. With high-growth, water demand for municipal and industrial uses in the river basins that include the Front Range metropolitan areas of Denver, Aurora, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Pueblo is expected to increase 664,700 acre-feet of water per year by 2050.

By comparison, demand in the oil shale producing basins of western Colorado is expected to increase 206,240 acre-feet of water per year by 2050. Using Yampa/White River Basin Roundtable numbers, a 550,000 barrel-per-day oil shale industry would consume roughly 45,000 acre-feet of water per year.

Do the math. By 2050, the water used by a moderately-sized oil shale industry (45,000 acre-feet) will pale in comparison to the water needed to fuel growth on the Front Range (664,700 acre-feet).

As Coloradans, we must face our complicated water challenges together. In addition, energy companies must continue to work on technologies that will reduce oil shale’s water consumption.

However, keeping water here on the Western Slope will help promote our region’s economic growth. Additionally — if we so choose — that water could support a moderately-sized oil shale industry.

CURTIS MOORE

Executive Director

Environmentally Conscious

Consumers for Oil Shale

Grand Junction

Mideast riots point to more oil problems here

I see many of the Mideast countries are rioting and trying to overthrow their governments.

What if they all put in Islamic-run replacements like Iran did? What if they got together and put a moratorium on oil sales to the United States in protest to our support of Israel, as they have in the past? What if the anti-U.S. government in Venezuela followed?

How would we survive, now that we have prevented the oil companies from drilling in most offshore areas and even in the remote ANWR region of Alaska?

Even if that does not happen, they are projecting gasoline at $4 to $5 per gallon. Sure does not sound like a coherent energy or defense policy.

BOB UHL

Grand Junction

Pitkin County supports DeGette’s wilderness bill

The Daily Sentinel’s Jan. 15 article, “Wilderness advocates size up a changed political landscape,” left out some important details on one of the wilderness proposals mentioned.

Rep. Diana DeGette, a long-time champion for Colorado wilderness, has engaged in broad outreach over the past year on her legislation, and has found areas of strong support.

After extensive conversations with the congresswoman and her staff, the Pitkin County Commission unanimously endorsed legislative designation for the local areas in her bill in September 2010.

That endorsement included recognition of the local area’s wilderness values, as well as the recreational and economic benefits that wilderness provides to local communities.

Residents of Pitkin County place a high value on protected land, and that is reflected in the continued support from the county commission. We support Rep. DeGette’s entire wilderness bill, and particularly local areas included in the bill, Assignation Ridge and Eagle Mountain.

We will continue to help to see these areas become wilderness, and commend Rep. DeGette for her thorough outreach on the issue in Pitkin County.

JACK HATFIELD Pitkin County Commissioner

Aspen

Buescher has solid record of working for Colorado

I am writing in response to a letter to the editor by Richard Rininger, criticizing The Daily Sentinel about Bernie Buescher.

I applaud the Sentinel for the support for Bernie. If it wasn’t for Bernie our PERA retirement benefits would have been in trouble a few years ago. He held special meetings with members to gain input on changes that needed to be made to keep PERA solvent.

If it wasn’t for Bernie, there wouldn’t be a State Fair. He pulled the fair out of financial trouble.

What about the money he saved the state while he was the secretary of state, that he was giving back to the state to help with the debt problem? Now the new Republican doesn’t want to give it back.

I think Mr. Rininger should check the do-nothing record of Laura Bradford. I know many people wish Bernie was still in office. He was always approachable, regardless of party affiliation.

RON STONEBURNER SR.

Grand Junction



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