Western Slope residents must fight state Air Quality Control Commission

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House District 55’s Representative (and would-be District 7’s Senator) Ray Scott’s latest piece of incumbent campaign literature (“Western Slope residents must fight state Air Quality Control Commission”) – published gratis as a “guest column” by the Sentinel—  affords ample insight into the contrast between Republican Scott and his Democratic challenger, nationally-recognized economic development expert Claudette Konola.

In 1950, Grand Junction’s municipal population was only 14, 504 – compared to an estimated 59,899 in 2012 (a 413% increase).  Similarly, Mesa County’s population in 1950 was 38,794 – compared to 147,848 in 2012 (a 381% increase).

Nevertheless, as Asbury natural gas began flowing into Grand Junction in the 1950s, there were undoubtedly some local “conservatives” who stridently proclaimed that the conversion to natural gas was “destroying jobs” in the coal industry and putting local delivery services out of business, thereby increasing unemployment and threatening “small businesses”.

There were also likely some coal industry shills who looked at the darkened morning sky and insisted that “government is the problem” – even as taxpayers (presumably) funded the acquisition of rights of way and the installation of infrastructure.  At some point, local building codes (“regulations”) were enacted to insure the safety of gas delivery systems.

Meanwhile, the extractive industries proved to be “boom or bust”—and the most stable sources of local jobs became local governments and the medical community.

More recently, attracted by its cleaner air, unique geography, and medical facilities (like the local VA Medical Center), military (and other) retirees flocked to the Grand Valley—contributing to a more diversified economy and heightened concerns about air quality.

Thus, hopefully, Mesa County’s “party status” will constructively contribute to crafting sensible rules—rather than serve as an obstructive vehicle for “throwback” promoters of oil & gas interests (like Scott)  – that will adequately protect public health.

What an incredible article by our Representative Ray Scott in today’s Sentinel. Last time I checked we, the public, were paying him to serve us. His article this morning could easily have been written by a representative of the energy industry? Everywhere I go in this community I hear people complaining about our air quality, some people having serious health repercussions with respiratory ailments beyond just being an annoyance. Scott seems to imply that people in less populated areas don’t need clean air to breathe. Apparently we are a hardier breed. He further seems to imply that clean air is somehow a detriment to employment, particularly locally. May I remind him that there is a nationwide glut of natural gas and production will only take place where it can be done for the least expense and that doesn’t include production in our area. The cost of production locally is the result of natural conditions not oppressive regulations. 
For Scott’s suggestion that we fight the Air Quality Control Commission is outrageous in the face of the facts. We live in an area that is subject to inversions during the winter time that holds the bad air in for days and weeks at a time. We also can’t seem to let go of the practice of open burning and using fireplace burning for heat. Scott is correct in the importance of natural gas for heating. Fireplaces are nice but in a sensitive area such as ours gas logs work well and can be just as welcoming as a nice fire in the fireplace.
Representative Scott needs to pay attention to his true constituents, the public, and stop being a lackey, water carrier for the energy industry. Fortunately he will have a very credible opponent in the upcoming election. He should be shown the door.
John Borgen, 


Ah yes, does anyone remember the Vernal Utah summit – the illegal meeting for the Garfield commishs. Hosted by O&G, these guys got their marching orders and have been in lock step ever since.
But let us take a look at Scott’s sophomoric piece. He builds a high school like “fight theme and a typical pub “fear this” strawman. “Behold, the DENVERites are at the gate!” Rah, Rah, Rah, OUR team can beat their team!
This isn’t a Denver problem, it is a problem for every person in the areas of O&G production. Your health and well-being are the prices being paid. Rangeley this last year was beset with ozone (it was Utah’s fault said the protectors of O&G). Garfield is the highest in the state for O&G produced hazardous air pollutants which include benzene. Ozone, the BETX emissions, the NOXs, SO2s, and, yes, CO2s are unhealthy for people, livestock, wild game, and crops. NOXs not going into Ozone making become acid rain along with SO2s and CO2s. Ozone and SO2s are pulmonary damaging chemicals and Ozone damages plants as well. The acid rains damage everything.
The push here is not coming from State politics or the rivalries of Scott’s paranoia, it is coming from revised EPA standards coming down for the national well-being. Many of the big operators have signed on to these changes. One reason being that for much of their stuff they are already compliant. This can be seen in the pollutant inventories being lower on the front range with 2/3 more production than the western slope. The pollutant inventories show the western slope operators have not done as much in restricting and gathering pollutants and now they are leaders in the state in emmissions.
Garfield was notified by the State early in 2013 about their problems, but have decided to evidently ignore or side with O&G that profit is more important than people’s health and well-being.
  See picture and chart at: http://fromthestyx.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/back-in-the-ozone-again/

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