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Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

It is time for everyone to become engaged in the discussion of natural gas drilling in the Roaring Fork Valley. If you didn’t have an opportunity to read Scott Condon’s article in Thursday’s Aspen Times and Glenwood Springs Post Independent, then please check it out online.

SG Interests and Encana have leases to produce natural gas on public lands in the Thompson Divide region that includes Four Mile Creek and Thompson Creek, as well as portions of the Muddy Basin, Coal Basin and the headwaters of East Divide Creek. Both are talking about moving ahead with staking and submitting applications to drill to the BLM. If they take these steps, the BLM will discuss how they can drill, not if they can drill.

The Thompson Divide Coalition has been engaged in formal dialogue with our congressional delegation, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, and the industry about retiring the leases in the Thompson Divide region, through legislation, industry withdrawal and/or the purchase of the leases from the industry.

Because negotiations are continuing, if SG Interests and Encana move forward with staking and submitting applications to drill, their actions will be in conflict with the intent of ongoing discussions.

Please attend a Thompson Divide Coalition town hall meeting this week. They will be held in Carbondale, Redstone, Glenwood Springs and Aspen.

This is the time for all of us to become involved. If applications to drill are approved, it will be too late to protect lands that are important for agriculture, recreation, hunting, fishing and wildlife range.

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We also need to be concerned about water quality and traffic impacts. Hundreds of trucks will travel through Glenwood Springs daily if drilling occurs up Four Mile and in the Thompson Creek area. Because Grand Avenue is already congested, many business owners recognize the direct impacts such activity will have on their bottom line.

Please join your neighbors in support of the Thompson Divide Coalition’s efforts to keep natural gas development out of the Roaring Fork Valley.

Tresi Houpt

Glenwood Springs

It was bound to happen. Following the Aurora shootings, saner members of society waited (only briefly) for the inevitable response from the Code Duello crowd on how best to deal with insane shooters.

Edward Wilks’ solution: introduce more shooters to the scene. In his July 22 letter, Mr. Wilks advocates amateur, inexperienced vigilante-style armed citizens “shooting them [murderers] into incapacitation.” Hard to do when the target is covered head to toe in ballistic armor, as was the Aurora shooter.

Mr. Wilks’ bio includes 10 years of law enforcement. It also includes an impressive resume of weapons-related experience. However there is nothing of combat experience in our armed forces. I wonder how many times he has stood, unprotected, in the line of fire and tried to draw a bead on a target that is already sending fire his way. Arguing that adding more projectiles to a crowded, dark and smoke-filled theater would somehow lessen the number of injured or killed is unrealistic and nonsensical.

What if there are multiple armed vigilantes? Will they automatically assume that it’s them against one shooter or will they think there is a group attack under way and they’ve got to take out some of these other people shooting? There would be bullets flying everywhere. His solution needs a reality check.

While Mr. Wilks’ students might fare better than a totally untrained and inexperienced handgun user, I still have serious doubts about that ability when the bullets are flying. From personal experience, I can testify that the “whuff!” of a bullet past your ear tends to make one forget training and think only of cover and escape.

However well-intentioned Mr. Wilks’ solution may sound, the recent spate of domestic mass shootings were in all in open scenes in which there was little or no cover, and a counter attacker would be likely to draw even more fire, endangering those close to them and likely causing their own injury or death. The Jared Loughners and the James Holmes of the world are not going to stop shooting just because someone shoots back: They’re looking for suicide via police.

Bob Shettel