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August 30, 2012
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LETTER: Lack of refineries is the reason we rely on foreign oil

Recently, Gov. Mitt Romney proposed that the U.S. become "Energy Independent" by expanding offshore drilling. However, he was somewhat shortsighted in his approach. Increasing the supply of energy resources, though extremely important, does not necessarily mean less dependence on foreign imports.

In western Colorado and Utah, we have a tremendous supply of natural gas and oil. In the Piceance Basin alone, hundreds, if not thousands of wells have been drilled and immediately capped until the price of natural gas increases, and then they will be placed in production. This is a sound business practice that rewards initiative.

However, the lack of refineries is the bottleneck that prevents getting our energy resources to market. No new refineries have been built in the United States since 1977 and those that do exist, cannot keep up with the supply being sent to them. Also, when existing refineries have an "occurrence," not only are supplies interrupted, but financial budgets are affected. Building refineries should be the initial goal of an energy policy, not drilling.

With new refineries, our infrastructure should be repaired updated and improved, by which truckers, railroaders, and shippers can transport the goods. Furthermore, all energy resources should be part of the equation; oil, natural gas, coal, wind, solar, chemical and nuclear.

Additionally, environmental concerns must be addressed. Any native Coloradoan can attest to the sulfuric acid-stained rivers in Ouray and Silverton, and the mountains that have been made into sludge ponds near Leadville. Coloradoans have paid the price for over 100 years of mismanaged environmental laws.

All of this takes money and initiative. It takes political statesmanship of working across the aisle, making hard decisions, and not leaving anything off the table - including new taxes. As a result, I do not see it happening at all.

Ronald P. Franklin

Grand Junction

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The Post Independent Updated Aug 30, 2012 04:49PM Published Aug 30, 2012 04:48PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.