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Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

In May we celebrate National Air Quality Awareness Week. Garfield County Public Health has partnered with the city of Aspen, Eagle County, Mesa County, Pitkin County, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on a very informative regional air quality awareness campaign called “Share the Air.”

Our goal is to promote consistent messages about common environmental factors found in indoor and outdoor air that may trigger adverse health effects. During the month of May, our focus will be on common regional air quality issues among communities that “share the air” in major air sheds along the Roaring Fork and the Colorado rivers.

Our partnership recognizes that communities within Garfield County and across this region have identified and are managing a variety of their own challenging localized air quality issues, including those associated with industrial development.



As growth and development is projected to increase substantially over the next several years, Garfield County Public Health is committed to ongoing air quality improvement initiatives that will ensure clean air, regardless of future growth and development in our communities.

Thus far, our county air quality management program has been active in the areas of air quality monitoring and related research, air quality improvement projects, and a variety of education and outreach initiatives. We are hopeful these types of initiatives will continue in the future to demonstrate that we are a proactive community, with each one of us playing a role in preserving the elements of our environment that we value most.



The fact is, we all contribute to our local and regional air quality. Individuals, local communities, small businesses, and large industries alike contribute to the quality of our air through a variety of different sources. To successfully keep our air clean, we need all of our residents to assist us with our efforts by playing an active role in protecting and improving air quality in our region.

The goal this month is to (1) provide information regarding several key air quality issues in Garfield County, (2) explain why it’s important to know about each issue, and (3) show what individuals can do to help mitigate problems associated with these issues.

Watch the area newspapers and listen for radio spots throughout the month for information about protecting air quality and keeping your environment healthy.

For more information about this campaign or any other air quality related efforts in Garfield County, please contact Garfield County Public Health at 625-5200 ext. 8123.

Jim Rada

Garfield County Public Health

Rifle

Each time I drive by the old racquet club site on Midland Avenue, which is now the construction staging area for the Atkinson Canal trail project, I am amazed at the amount of materials, equipment and manpower being devoted to this project.

Now they’re going to close the bridge for four days. How much money is being spent on this and where did it come from?

It looks like it’s going to be beautiful, and it will be a nice amenity for the relatively small number of people who will benefit from it.

Why was the decision made to spend this kind of money on a “feel good” project while South Midland Avenue has been left to deteriorate into the dangerous condition we see today? The paving is deplorable, there is no guardrail in places that need it, and the falling rocks are potentially deadly.

Now that Donegan Road has been upgraded into the fabulous thoroughfare we see today, could we please put Midland next on the list?

I realize that Donegan was in bad shape, but was it really more important than South Midland? How much money was spent on that project? I’m sure that the people who got new retaining walls built on their property for free appreciate it.

What will it take to make South Midland a priority? Are we going to wait until a motorist is injured (or worse) by a falling rock? What if it happens to a schoolbus?

It would be a huge inconvenience for those of us who live south of town to endure the construction delays, but it will be an even bigger inconvenience if a rockslide closed the road altogether.

Those who dream of a South Bridge must realize that something must be done to improve this section of Midland first. Personally, I’d like to see something happen immediately. It’s long overdue.

Stephen Davis

Glenwood Springs

I am greatly disappointed by the decision of the Garfield County Commissioners announced on May 2 to terminate the Battlement Mesa Health Impact Analysis (HIA) being performed by the Colorado School of Public Health under contract, leaving available only a draft – of which the status and content can be challenged and marginalized by all comers.

In fact, I feel betrayed, and urge them to reconsider.

I consider it the responsibility of the county commissioners to employ every measure available to protect the health, safety, and welfare of residents in Garfield County communities in the face of industrial operations that have been planned in the immediate vicinity of various Battlement Mesa neighborhoods.

I call on Commissioners Martin, Samson and Jankovsky to explain a logical reason why they decided as they did.

The main pretext given, that the comment periods and drafts were dragging out indefinitely, makes absolutely no sense considering the fact that the commissioners granted two 30-day extensions that extended the draft process beyond the contract date. In both cases, industry generated a large volume of contradictory comments.

All the commissioners had to do was to set an end to the comment periods before the expiration of the county’s contract for the HIA.

I consider it the responsibility of the county commissioners to have the Colorado School of Public Health complete the longer-term Environmental Health Monitoring Study, as contracted separately, in order to help ensure the future health, safety, and welfare of Battlement Mesa residents. Will the commissioners support this?

I hereby officially ask Commissioner Martin, Commissioner Samson, and Commissioner Jankovsky to state individually whether he wants industrial operations in our residential communities, and if so, how he plans to protect our health, safety, and welfare with a draft HIA report, and if not, what he will do to prevent these operations.

Failing satisfactory responses to the questions above, and I will no longer support any of these county commissioners in any regard.

Jay Haygood

Battlement Mesa

I’m appalled and disgusted by the Garfield County commissioners’ sudden decision to terminate the Battlement Mesa Health Impact Assessment before it was completed.

One of their most fundamental duties as elected officials is to ensure the health and safety of their constituents. It’s certain that gas drilling has health and safety impacts, but we don’t know exactly what they are or how bad they are. The HIA was supposed to provide us with the hard data.

Garfield County collects millions of dollars each year to mitigate the impacts of oil and gas development. How can the commissioners even decide how to use those funds without first determining what and where the impacts are? You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

Their justification that the study was costing too much is pitiful. Who invests $250,000 in a report and then pulls the plug just before it’s finalized? Only someone who doesn’t want to have to act on the report’s findings.

The commissioners have revealed for all to see that they are utterly, shamelessly, recklessly in the pocket of the oil and gas industry. People are getting sick, properties are being devalued, water and air are being contaminated, communities are being turned upside down by the gas boom – and they’re trying to sweep it all under the rug by suppressing this study. Shame on the commissioners.

David Reed

Carbondale


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