May 12, 2020

Tuesday letters: DeGolia, oil and gas, and protesters

Tuesday letters: DeGolia, oil and gas, and protesters


DeGolia will protect our region’s environment

Ranchers, like most people, living in the Crystal, Roaring Fork, and Eagle Valleys rely on clean air, clean water, and a stable climate for our livelihoods. Protecting local land and water, and ensuring a rapid transition to a clean energy future to protect our climate is critical to another hundred years of sustainable agriculture. By voting in the Holy Cross Energy board elections this month, you can support this transition and ensure local food security for future generations.

Alex DeGolia, running for the Western Territory seat, is the best candidate to tackle these challenges. Through his service on the Thompson Divide Coalition board and work on clean energy and climate advocacy at the Carbondale-based Catena Foundation, Alex is already active in protecting local land and water. He has a PhD in environmental management, served as a White House natural resources staffer, and would be an excellent addition to an organization that’s made significant progress on these issues in recent years.

Your Holy Cross ballot will arrive in the next few days. Remember to fill it out and return it, and we hope you will vote for Alex DeGolia to protect our region’s environment for years to come.

Support Local Journalism

Bill Fales and Marj Perry
Carbondale

Garfield County consistently denies basic protections with oil and gas

Dwayne Knudson recently praised the Garfield County commissioners for conditions of approval on two drilling pads located in my community, Battlement Mesa. His letter to the editor points to these as proof of their balanced leadership on oil and gas decisions.

Let me clarify that the Garfield commissioners did not embrace these conditions as Knudson implies. While both Ursa Operating LLC and the county planning department began the permitting process with many conditions of approval in place, Battlement Mesa residents had to fight very hard to secure critical protections. We spent thousands of hours writing comments, hosting community meetings and speaking in public hearings. In spite of all our work, the community was denied 12 basic protections we thought particularly important, such as emergency response plans, toxic air pollution controls of storage tanks, and repair of major leaks within 24 hours.

The stark truth remains that despite the many conditions tied to the Battlement Mesa drilling permits, residents have experienced significant negative impacts. From pipeline breaks and resulting flooding to chemical fires, noise and odor complaints, there is no pretending that drilling close to the places people live and work can be made OK with conditions of approval.

Over the years, Garfield County has consistently sided with industry over their constituents in Battlement Mesa and other communities. Now the commissioners are suing the state to stop basic protections for public health and the environment recently adopted by the state Air Quality Control Commission. Siding with industry once again, the commissioners are attempting to stop new statewide rules that require:
• More frequent leak detection and rapid repair within 1,000 feet of homes and schools
• Better emission controls for storage tanks to limit release of methane and volatile organic compounds that create harmful ozone
• Annual inspections for leaks at low-producing wells

Battlement Mesa is an exception to how decisions are made in Garfield County, where oil and gas development is treated as a “use by right” and goes through little to no local permitting. This is why it is critical to have strong statewide rules to protect our air quality and public health.

Dave Devanney
Chair of Battlement Concerned Citizens
Battlement Mesa

Send protesters, guns, and terrorists

Protesters with guns aren’t protesters. They’re terrorists. Gandhi and Martin Luther King would never approve.

I’m all for protecting those dissenters right to assemble peaceably, but firearms don’t send a message of peace. Even if a state had open carry laws, would that give them the right to storm the capital with weapons and threaten the governor? If a group of black civil rights marchers pulled that, they’d be gunned down by the state police.

All this goes back to the gun freaks who out-hoarded the toilet paper hoarders when the shelter at home order was first announced. Who’re they going to shoot? The virus? Not even Tom Horn could make that shot.

Fred Malo Jr.
Carbondale





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