This letter responds to a recent press release from the environmental group, Center for Western Priorities, which asserted that Colorado has a "spill problem" because 495 oil and gas spills occurred statewide last year.

At least that's the scary — and false — storyline that CWP is selling.

CWP has distorted key facts to make oil and gas spills seem as if they are a routine danger to drinking water. For example, it failed to mention Colorado has more than 50,000 active oil and gas wells, meaning less than 1 percent experienced a spill last year.

These spills are relatively rare — not routine — because the industry takes this issue very seriously and Colorado has tough prevention and clean-up regulations.

State regulators issued a report last year analyzing 12 months of spill reports, and barely 20 percent of the 399 reported spills ever came into contact with groundwater, surface water or dry drainages. More importantly, however, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission found zero drinking water wells were impacted.

That doesn't make the industry perfect or eliminate the potential impacts of spills. But when the impacts are limited and being managed, you have to wonder why the "nonpartisan" CWP is campaigning so hard against Colorado's natural resource-based economy.

In reality, CWP is highly political. Last year, CWP aired "anti-fracking attack ads" to help ban fracking in cities along the Front Range, according to the Washington Examiner. CWP's website also shows the group wants more restrictions on federal oil and gas leasing — as if the current limits aren't restrictive enough.

CWP's leadership is actually based in Washington, D.C., and the group is part of a $36.5 million foundation called the New Venture Fund that gives money to anti-industry activist campaigns. CWP claims to have "Western priorities," but don't be fooled. It's just another out-of-state activist group opposed to resource development in Colorado.


Grand Junction

Scant coverage of address

by Obama was disappointing

I opened my Daily Sentinel Wednesday morning, expecting a fair compilation of much of the text of President Obama's State of the Union speech. As the speech was more than an hour long and filled with some pretty quotable statements, I wanted to better digest some of what he said.

I was rather stunned to find that the Sentinel article had as much of an AP reporter's opinion of Obama's legislative action history/prognosis, and Republican contrariness, as that of the president's text.

Where were the quotes about educational reforms, including massive student loan travails and public/private research collaborations? Where was the synopsis about many energy issues, including renewables and climate change? Where were the foreign trade and policy matters and the U.S. economic data? Where was the challenge to conservatives to offer an effective alternative to the Affordable Care Act? Where were statements regarding tax and specific wage reforms and savings programs?

I feel that the Sentinel has been doing a fairly respectable job maintaining journalistic reporting standards in this era of opinion media. The Sentinel's effort on the State of the Union address should be embarrassing.


Grand Junction

Gilpin County a good example

of benefits casinos offer

I am responding to your statements Jan. 18 concerning the De Beque Wildhorse gaming committee that is starting a process we hope will bring in money to improve not only the tax base in the area, but also surrounding areas and Mesa County. Thanks for mentioning us in the Sentinel. We are not an area that is well known, so any comments will help.

I moved to the De Beque area in 1994 from Gilpin County. I built three homes in that county, starting in 1970. Gilpin County lacked everything except an historical background. The economy was slow, and there were only a volunteer fire department with an old hearse used for an emergency vehicle, a small cabin for a library and one store/gas station. Our kids were transported over mountain roads to Boulder County for school.

After people voted to allow casinos, Gilpin now has a state-of-the-art fire department with proper emergency vehicles, a great library, recreation facilities and beautiful schools.

The Jan. 18 editorial stated that "the Sentinel has long opposed efforts to expand casino gambling in Colorado," partially due to gambling addiction issues. In that same edition was also an article about how the wine industry's single "economic ripple" added about $16 million to Colorado's economy in 2012. Doesn't the production of alcohol in the form of wine enable alcoholism — also an addiction? Does the Sentinel also oppose the building of more wineries?

If the measure of gambling in De Beque is a success, it will benefit the town, surrounding towns, recreation areas and Mesa County in the same way gambling helped Gilpin County.

The questions concerning gambling, the wine and brewing industries and legalizing marijuana, causing some to spend money on things they cannot afford, are ongoing and will never be resolved. Can a person weigh the economic impact that will benefit most people and businesses on the Western Slope against the small percentage of folks who will be irresponsible?


De Beque


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