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Letters to the editor

Original letter addressed to the Garfield County CommissionersDear Editor,I am concerned with the number of existing gravel pits and with the number of applications for new gravel pits going before you for approval. Is anyone looking at what the cumulative effect all of these pits are having on our water shed, the environment, the wildlife, and the reclamation? Another concern has to do with the vulnerability of the shoreline if and when we have a 50- or 100-year flood.If the riverbanks are compromised by a flood, the course of the river could change, and the UMTRA sites could be submerged with unknown consequences. Why are the reclamation sites not reseeded and/or planted with native shrubs and trees, rather than allowing noxious plants to take over? The sites along Highway 6 are covered with tamarisk and olive trees. In the last P&Z meeting, Mark Bean said that the Comprehensive Plan will not be revisited until the population reaches 50,000. There must be circumstances where the plan can be modified if warranted. The gravel pit situation is serious enough to warrant that. The county is seeing an unprecedented number of gravel pit applications, and that alone should raise questions on the overall effect they have to our area.I am not asking that gravel pit applications be denied but postponed, until experts can assess what is going on. Please consider postponing all gravel pit applications until a more comprehensive study can be made that will look at the overall picture of our river, its banks, the watershed area, the vulnerability of the old mill tailing sites, the wildlife, and the reclamation of the pits.Since the majority of the demand for gravel is from the gas industry, and since the gas industry brings in its fracing sand and acid by train, why can’t it bring in gravel by the same means? This would allow county officials time to bring in experts needed to improve the gravel pit application requirements and processes.Nella D. BarkerRifle

Dear Editor, I want to thank the neighbors who live on West Carson Circle, for the wonderful fireworks display that lit up the night skies at 10:30 p.m. June 1. I have to ask you, “Why can’t you understand why the neighbors threw a tizzy over it?” For starters, many of your neighbors leave for work between 3 and 7 a.m. while you are still asleep and get home between 5 and 8 p.m. when you first started your pyrotechnics show. Second, those fireworks are illegal in the State of Colorado unless done by a professional with a license to do so. Which I am sure you do not have. Fourth, guess it’s a good thing that dispatch didn’t care enough and thought our calls to the Sheriff’s Department were frivolous and didn’t see the need to once again send a sheriff out, yet told many of us one was on the way. Did they get lost or take the scenic route to West Carson Circle? I am sure they were sleeping. Why wake them up for something as minor as fireworks being shot out of a cannon into the night sky? Fifth, it’s the first of June, not the Fourth of July. Last but not least, “fire danger high” means that you can send our personal belongings up in smoke with your stupidity. Mr. Vallario, remember we voted you into office and we can vote you out.Wendy LoughParachute

Dear Editor,Lately we have been hearing a great deal about the importance of becoming less dependent on foreign oil. However, there is a matter of greater importance that seems to be getting ignored, and that is our dependence on other countries for food. In the last year, we have seen what happens when we have to rely on other countries for our fuel, as prices have exploded. What if that were our food supply, and they decide to cut of exports to the United States? We are heading in the direction of not being able to feed ourselves. We are suffering already, as farms and ranches are turned into housing developments and malls. Then there are droughts, floods and hurricanes that wipe out a few more. Now there is another threat to our food supply. As farmers and ranchers struggle with already low prices, expenses are going through the roof. The EPA has changed the laws on diesel fuel, which powers most of the equipment needed for farming, and also the semitrailer trucks which haul most everything we buy. As of June 1, they have reduced the amount of sulfur allowed in diesel. This is causing even larger price increases in diesel fuel, and will likely reduce fuel mileage. It may even damage older models. Now, I’m not against cleaning up the environment, but why haven’t we been warned that this was coming?Personally, I don’t want to rely on many of those other countries for my food. Few have the rules and regulations for food safety that we have. How will you know what has been put on that salad you are eating? And then we will be paying $30 for a hamburger, because we made another country mad and they decided to quit selling us beef. Your food does not come from the grocery store, it is the result of someone doing a lot of hard work and not getting much back. So support your local farmers and ranchers. They are more important than you realize.Kelly PorterSilt


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