Printed letters, Sept. 2, 2011

U.S. Reps. Dick Lamborn and Scott Tipton’s use of tax dollars, staff time and congressional authority to hold an oversight hearing in Grand Junction to tell themselves what they wanted to believe exhibits the same approach to solving our nation’s critical problems as the Bush-Cheney administration used to determine there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Lamborn and Tipton called witnesses to assert that oil shale is the solution to our dependence on foreign oil and unemployment. The main thrust of the industry-tilted panel was that the BLM is responsible for preventing oil shale development. According to oil executives, the BLM’s current review of the 2008 programmatic environmental impact statement is creating “regulatory uncertainty,” preventing leasing of federal lands to oil shale innovators and experimenters.

This is a simplistic, blame-the-government response to the complex, technological uncertainties of oil shale development.

The 2005 Energy Policy Act required the BLM to develop commercial leasing on the basis of a programmatic environmental analysis. But industry uncertainties regarding the magnitude and pace of oil shale development, water and energy requirements, numbers of employees and specific technologies resulted in a broadly speculative, flawed PEIS, without commercial leasing that clearly needs reviewing.

Oil shale executives are using their congressmen to demand maximum access to federal land with minimum regulation. This puts the BLM in a tough spot, since its duty is to sustain multiple uses of federal land, to protect water and air quality and to prevent damage to federal oil shale deposits by untested technologies, while allowing scientifically sound research projects access to federal oil shale. The BLM is moving cautiously because of past failures and giveaways, including the $8 billion Congress spent for synthetic fuels development in the 1980s.

Developing federal oil shale is a very serious, very uncertain business. Political theater in the form of a congressional hearing is not helpful. The United States deserves more from its leaders than what Lamborn and Tipton provided in the Grand Junction hearing.

CHARLES KERR

Grand Junction

People raising grandkids have resource with county

Thank you to The Daily Sentinel for printing the recent article about grandparents playing a larger role in child-rearing and the challenges they face during these difficult economic times.

Grandparents and other relatives who take on guardianship and responsibility for children in their extended families are truly performing a labor of love and exhibiting selfless dedication. This article highlighted the financial, emotional and other hardships they encounter as they struggle to provide this important care.

During this economic recession, more people are struggling to make ends meet. We recognize that fewer family members are financially able to care for children while faced with their own financial hardships. These grandparents are heroes and without their unconditional love, many more children in our community would be placed in foster care rather than being able to live with a loved one whom they know and trust.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of children living in a grandparent’s home has increased significantly over the past decade.

Approximately 20 percent of these children have neither parent present and the grandparents are solely responsible for their basic needs. For these grandparents, raising another family wasn’t part of the plan.

I want to take this opportunity to applaud these grandparents and other family members who step up to the plate when their loved ones need them. We know that financial strains are not the only issues faced by these families and that raising a second family can bring with it a constellation of new family issues.

To get help for whatever additional problems arise, Western Colorado 2-1-1 Resources & Referrals has an extensive listing of public and nonprofit health and human service programs available to families in Mesa County.

I encourage residents to to get connected to support and assistance by simply dialing 2-1-1, or 244-8400 if calling from a cell phone.

On behalf of our entire department, and other families, I want to say thank you to all grandparents and other family members raising children from their extended families. Thank you for your love, support and dedication to children in our community who need it most.

TRACEY GARCHAR, Director

Mesa County Department of Human Services

Grand Junction

Sentinel reporters show they respect written word

I would like to express my appreciation for the fine writing of The Daily Sentinel reporters, especially Rachel Sauer. It is always a treat to read her feature articles. Clearly, she cares about her words and the effect they will have upon her readers.

Even my son-in-law, visiting from Colorado Springs, commented on the power of her language as he read her story last week on the Glade Park school.

Her writing is powerful and full of voice. It’s clear she researches her subjects and makes them her own. She, and the others on your team (Dave Buchanan, Bill Haggerty, Denny Herzog, Emily Anderson) make reading The Daily Sentinel worthwhile.  Thanks for employing writers like these who respect the written word.

SHARI VANDERVELDE

Grand Junction



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