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Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Post Independent columnist James Kellogg claims that the coal and natural gas industries are being “assaulted” by regulations requiring utilities to obtain part of their electricity portfolio from wind, solar and other renewable sources. These measures, he contends, will increase the cost of electricity by an average of 39 percent and help to “destroy the viability of the American free market economy with energy rationing, soaring costs, and bankrupt businesses.”

The facts indicate otherwise.

Glenwood Springs’ 2009 Climate Action Plan called for our municipal electric system to obtain 30 percent of its electric supply from renewable sources by 2012. We’re already well on our way to meeting that goal, without drastically increasing costs.

The city recently contracted with the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska to increase wind energy from roughly 12 percent to 28 percent of our total electricity use. Our energy consultant (JK Energy) estimates that more than doubling our wind energy purchases will cost the city about $162,000 annually. The resulting 1.5 percent rate increase will raise the average homeowner’s $55 electric bill by less than $1 a month.

Rather than destroying the free market economy, we’re making a deliberate choice to significantly reduce our carbon emissions while supporting the growth of a thriving, increasingly viable clean-energy economy.

Colorado was one of the first states to initiate a renewable energy portfolio standard in 2004. Not only has this not led to energy rationing, soaring costs, and bankrupt businesses, it has helped create thousands of new jobs, while making Colorado a leader in renewable energy technology. Today, our state ranks fourth nationally in the total number of clean-energy jobs with 1,600 companies employing more than 19,000 workers.

Clearly, it’s going to take decades to reduce our dependency on traditional coal, gas, oil and nuclear energy sources, and there’s no reason to demonize those still-essential industries.

But in the meantime, we should continue to chart a course towards increased renewable energy use. And a few modest incentives to further that goal make good business, as well as environmental, sense.

Russ Arensman

Glenwood Springs

I was disappointed and saddened to read Nikki Fender’s letter, “County ‘made a mistake’ in dismissing Jordan,” in the June 25 Post Independent.

Like many, I’m puzzled by Jordan’s dismissal when she seemed to have been doing a superb job. However, to suggest that the commissioners have received money for firing Jordan is a scurrilous attack on people doing their best to help Garfield County.

Although I’ve met Tom Jankovsky only once, I know both John Martin and Mike Samson. They’re both honest, conscientious men, trying their best to do a difficult, complex job. From what I can see, they’re doing their job well.

And isn’t it true that, despite much criticism, John Martin was largely responsible for the county setting up a large cash reserve over the past few years that has now saved our library system and other county agencies from a financial debacle?

Please, let’s keep our critiques focused on fact.

Karl Oelke

Glenwood Springs

The arrest of two Hispanic gang leaders and illegal aliens prompted the leader of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition to demand an apology from the Garfield County sheriff and ICE officials. They demand an apology for taking the criminals and handcuffing them in front of their children on Father’s Day.

They would also like both departments to promise to never do this again. The sheriff’s department denies that version. Even if it went down like the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition says, are they serious?

I don’t know if we should laugh or cry at the audacity and ignorance of this organization that represents illegal immigrants in this state.

The sheriff’s department and ICE work for and are paid by the American citizens of this country. They did their job and, in doing so, took two dangerous gang leaders off the street, making everyone safer. If these two had been any other race, nothing would have been said. Social Services would have been called and the children taken away. Nothing would have been said. Father’s Day is not a national day of amnesty for criminals.

Today, this country is being run by politicians who refuse to do anything about securing our borders and ridding our land of the illegal aliens that have come here. Several states, such as Arizona, are trying to do something about it, but end up spending millions in court costs.

Foreign countries such as Mexico have spoken out against these states. Three South American countries have protested southern states’ attempts at passing tough immigration laws.

Washington has turned its back on its citizens and in Arizona’s case sided with foreign countries. Because of this, groups like the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition can speak out demanding apologies for arresting criminals because of their race and immigration status.

Criminals need to be arrested and taken off the streets. These two men have been deported before and came back. They are known gang members. If the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition has a problem with that, that’s too bad.

Norm Shroll

Glenwood Springs

Now that summer has arrived and I am getting out more, I can’t help but observe the disgusting and rudeness of smokers.

Is the open vehicle window a better way to distinguish a cigarette than an ashtray? Or do ashtrays only catch on fire when full or the owner feels it’s a hassle to empty the ashtray?

How about the dried foliage along the roads in this drought-ridden climate? Have litterbug smokers considered the danger of fire risks?

Cigarettes lying on the road or grass are easily consumed by small children and animals. The Centers for Disease Control studied children 6 – 24 months who ingested cigarette butts and found they cause an illness that causes vomiting, gagging, nausea and lethargy.

The chemicals that leach out of cigarettes are deadly to the water flea. Fish, birds, whales and other marine creatures have been found to have plastic in their stomachs from plastic cigarette butts.

And gardeners who smoke are passing on the tomato mosaic virus through their own skin and tools. TMV is also found on peppers and ornamentals as well as houseplants. TMV is a serious virus and could harm many greenhouse operations.

Should a tax be levied on tobacco to cover fires, emergency room fees for children, and loss of greenhouse sales?

And last but not least, science has proven second-hand smoke is even dangerous to smokers. Double your trouble!

Raven Paige

Rifle


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