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Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

We can be proud of Kathleen Curry and the dedication she has shown in working toward the creation of a bill ” HB 1219 ” that could have taken a big step toward protecting surface owners faced with natural-gas production on their property without running industry out of Colorado or ignoring mineral-estate owners.

Unfortunately, the bill was killed in committee, lost by one vote. And two Western Slope representatives, Ray Rose and Josh Penry, voted against the bill.



We would like to invite representatives Rose and Penry to visit with our neighbors and us at our home. We can tell them about hayfields destroyed, industry chemical spills, water wells rendered unusable, creeks contaminated with benzene, bumper-to-bumper semis on private dirt roads just big enough for two cars to pass and the noise of compressor stations. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

We could ask misters Rose and Penry what they think about takings ” land, production, air and water quality, peace and quiet, and the consistent need for landowner vigilance ” without any statutory requirement for compensation. We could explain that with 10-acre down-hole well spacing and five-acre well-pad sites, even with voluntary directional drilling (written off as a compensation to surface owners), up to 25 percent of our surface could be altered by industry.



We could prepare them in case someday they find themselves facing industry’s notice to drill on their property.

Orlyn and Carol Bell

Silt

Dear Editor,

Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s Emma to Glenwood Rio Grande Trail budget was no sooner approved at $5 million over five years, than staff increased its cost to $8 million. RFTA is building a 10-foot-wide trail with a riding/jogging path alongside.

To stay within budget, staff has proposed scrapping rails and building on the railbed. It violates the board-approved rule to keep off the rails where economical, leading to countless discussions.

What’s wrong? We need a trail by 2010, not the highway proposed. Build a smaller trail or a crushed-gravel trail, like that above Emma, entirely on the rail bed to Carbondale. Live within the $5 million budgeted.

The rails from Glenwood Springs to Carbondale are operational for a lightweight engine at speeds of 20 mph. They represent a $5 million investment if laid new. Building on the rail bed disseminates a functioning railroad and impacts the CIS preferred alignment.

Leave these rails, as a reminder they are the Corridor Investment Study’s preferred alignment.

If the trail is implemented on the railbed, trail enthusiasts and adjacent homeowners will have forgotten the railway is “banked,” and never permit it to be returned to light-rail use. Of the many rails-to-trails projects in the United States, few have returned to share rail.

The trail is started at Emma and as budgeted won’t reach Carbondale for several years. Take the time to decide the fate of the remaining section.

Kip Wheeler

Aspen Trails and Rails

Aspen


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