Printed letters, Feb. 25, 2011

I’m writing to applaud the Grand Junction field office of the BLM for submitting a very thoughtful application for needed law enforcement to the state Off Highway Vehicle Grant Program.

Last summer, new guidelines were unanimously approved by the State Parks Board which paved the way for law enforcement and restoration grant applications to be considered for funding. The BLM’s grant application underscores the need for more law enforcement patrolling OHV areas and justifies the changes made by the Parks Board. I applaud the BLM’s grant application.

The BLM’s Grand Junction field office manages 1.5 million acres of public land, yet it has not had a commissioned, law-enforcement officer dedicated to the field office for years. This has led to a feeling among some reckless, off-road riders that anything goes.

The state has stepped up to address the problem of reckless off-road riding by providing resources to the federal government through this $4 million grant program. Now it’s time for the feds to step up. A first step would be to increase the fines and penalties for reckless riders – surely OHV clubs could get behind a strong and consistent set of deterrents to ensure reckless riders don’t ruin the fun for everyone else.

A second step would be to require all off-road riders to have visible ID tags on their machines. This would greatly help officers track riders from a distance and allow peers to report bad behavior, greatly increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of every law enforcement dollar.

I hope that the BLM’s grant is approved by the State Parks Board so the agency can put the needed boots on the ground to manage OHV use on our public lands.

RICH CARDWELL

Fruita

Health care reform is bound to be detrimental

Two items that have appeared on the editorial page of late regarding Obamacare have me wondering about what the people who support it are thinking. Could it be that they think we have got to have it regardless of how we get it?

John Borgen writes that critical to making it happen is that everybody has the responsibility to pay into the system. Interesting! If that is so, then why did the Obama administration exempt over 1,000 businesses and organizations when they began to scream about the new costs imposed on them?  Doesn’t that shoot holes in his argument?

Secondly, Dr. Michael Pramenko says that those who wish to defund Obamacare need to provide specifics as to how that will be done.

If memory serves me correctly, Americans were told that Obamacare had to be passed to find out what was in it. Seems to me a curious double standard.

It’s pretty obvious that regardless of how it ruins health care, harms the economy, destroys jobs, raises taxes and the debt to those that want it, it’s damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.

RICK L. COLEMAN

Grand Junction

Salazar shows he doesn’t really support oil shale

On Feb. 15, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that his department and the BLM will be taking a fresh look at oil shale regulations. Disturbingly, he gave no time line for starting or completing this review.

He further went on to say there was no urgency to this new review, because commercial production was still many years away. Many, including pro-energy Reps. Scott Tipton, R-Colo. and Jim Matheson, D-Utah, were highly critical of Salazar’s announcement.

A few years ago, research into oil shale advanced steadily under Bush administration policies. Six research, demonstration and development leases were offered in Colorado and Utah. Draft regulations were issued.

These actions offered energy companies a path to turn their research investments into commercial production, as long as they met strict environmental standards. In other words, companies were given some regulatory certainty. A second round of RD&D leases were in the works when President Bush left office.

Enter President Obama and Sec. Salazar. The second round of RD&D leases were withdrawn. The draft regulations were repealed, and are now being given a “fresh look” at some undetermined future date.

Not surprisingly, oil shale research and development on BLM lands have slowed considerably.

Companies have made huge progress in oil shale — including dramatic reductions in water usage, as was shown in a recent Colorado Water Conservation Board report. However, you cannot expect these companies to continue pouring money into oil shale research, when they see no light at the end of the tunnel.

Salazar claims he supports oil shale and wants to see research continue. However, actions speak louder than words. If he truly supports oil shale, he needs to give these companies some regulatory certainty.

CURTIS MOORE Environmentally Conscious Consumers for Oil Shale Grand Junction



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