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Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

I read with interest the Oct. 21 article by John Colson regarding the recently released gas leasing draft EIS for the White River National Forest. Since I had been involved in the writing and analysis of the original 1993 EIS, I wanted to chime in on a few things.

First of all, the acres that were made available for leasing were those that industry was showing an interest in and were geologically the most likely to be productive. The reason that a leasing analysis was done is because the law requires the BLM to develop the U.S. mineral estate. On national forest, the Forest Service was required to take a close look and to facilitate that development while protecting the surface resources.

Unlike recreation, allowing the development of minerals is required by law. Providing recreation is allowed, but is required only in wilderness areas.



The 1993 decision did identify the Thompson Divide area, which also includes Sunlight Mountain Resort, as available for leasing. The stipulation map for the area shows that Sunlight had a No Surface Occupancy (NSO) stipulation on it. This was because the area had high potential for oil and gas resources, and the ID team felt that it could be developed from adjacent lands with technologies such as directional drilling.

Because of the NSO stipulation, Sunlight, and a fairly large area around Sunlight, could not have a rig on the surface. There were also many other NSO and timing stipulations in this area for cutthroat trout habitat.



The bottom line is that Sunlight and the Thompson Divide area were looked at carefully in the 1993 EIS, and appropriate designations and stipulations were developed as required by law. I anticipate that the final product of the recent exercise will also meet these requirements.

Once the Forest Service decision is made, the BLM plans to adopt the analysis so that it can then subsequently carry out the leasing decisions. The BLM cannot override the Forest Service availability and surface protection stipulations.

Gary Osier

Rifle

Nearly 3 million Americans have epilepsy. Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder affecting all age groups, yet the public is largely unaware it is a serious condition with severe consequences for people living with epilepsy and for their families.

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month, and I am one of thousands of volunteers working to raise awareness of this condition.

Epilepsy is common, but many people don’t know what to do when someone is having a seizure. That’s why the Epilepsy Foundation is asking everyone to learn about epilepsy and take the Get Seizure Smart quiz in November.

The interactive quiz, downloadable resources and other tools to recognize National Epilepsy Awareness Month are available at http://www.GetSeizureSmart.org.

As a mother of someone affected by epilepsy, I strongly encourage everyone to get educated and take the quiz. My son’s life, or that of someone you know, may depend on it.

Megan Noonan

Carbondale

The citizens of Garfield County will once again have a chance through the democratic process to help increase the protection of our beautiful valley by electing new county commissioners.

The town of Carbondale is at risk with the proposed waste transfer station. This is a critical issue and the outcome may well shape our future. Carbondale has matured from the heavy industrial past and is prospering with impressive arts, culture, tourism and undisturbed natural beauty without environmental risks.

Certain parcels of land in our county are specifically zoned for industrial use, yet a waste transfer station needs specific permitting. The waste transfer station needs a special permit, where a non-environmentally sensitive (fire and water danger) business would not.

The commissioners’ decision to grant this special permit should weigh heavily on how it will affect the citizens who voted them in office. In this case, over 300 property owners (not just one NIMBY) and a significant amount of already depressed property values will be negatively affected.

The major pathways to our schools will be competing with heavy truck traffic. The citizens of Carbondale will bear these negative effects and risks of this facility, while a single private company will reap the benefit. This is not a good deal for our town.

Let’s vote in a fresh perspective to our key decision makers, new leaders who understand what our cities have become and are not living only in the past. We have evolved and so must the attitudes of our commissioners.

The commissioner candidates Sonja Linman and Alek Briedis have been clear about their views on this negative potential development while those currently in office have not. The new candidates see the future, respect the past and are not influenced by relationships reflecting past mindsets.

The permission to alter the direction of Carbondale is significant, and the current commissioners are undecided. Let’s vote in leaders who know where they stand.

This issue affects Carbondale; the next may well be yours.

Please don’t trash Carbondale, and don’t waste your vote.

Ron Speaker

Carbondale

Garfield County citizens have a chance this November to help secure the future of our ranchlands, rivers and recreation economy. A yes vote on Question 1A will generate funds to establish and maintain a countywide program that protects our valued ranchlands and open space.

Growing up in Garfield County, I’ve seen a lot of changes, and with our county’s population projected to double in the next 20 years, I understand the need to plan ahead, and to protect the very things that give us a reason to live here.

If approved by voters, the open lands program would provide resources for purchasing development rights from willing landowners using conservation easements and incentives that allow working farms and ranches to continue operating on open lands and produce local products.

The program would also allow municipalities or the county to purchase land from willing landowners to create parks and trails, protect waterways and wildlife habitat, and connect existing green belts throughout the county.

After reviewing various other county programs, Garfield County citizens have designed a program that is built for our unique county. We all live here because we love this place, so let’s make an effort to preserve Garfield County’s legacy as a beautiful place to live and work – vote yes on 1A.

Michael Gorman

Carbondale

The Ranchlands, Rivers, and Recreation economy measure – Question 1A – is an opportunity we as a county cannot afford to pass up. Garfield County’s greatest assets are our lands and rivers. For generations these lands have been used for ranching and recreation, and they remain critical cogs in our local economy. It only makes sense to invest in our greatest assets.

Vacationers travel from all over to enjoy the natural beauty, recreational opportunities and quality of life that this county provides. This sustains local business and provides valuable jobs. Of course hunters and anglers understand the value of healthy wildlife habitat and river corridors, and the businesses that cater to them do as well.

With a 10-year sunset clause and an affordable sales tax amounting to roughly $3.25 per family per month (a little more than a cup of coffee) this a no-brainer.

Not only will a program like this support our economy but it also supports our quality of life. If you love the beautiful views, enjoying time by the river, taking a walk on a trail, or catching a glimpse of wildlife, this is a measure for you. Garfield County needs to invest and protect this beautiful place.

Recently, I was in the lobby of CMC’s Glenwood Center when a picture caught my eye. It was a picture of the Roaring Fork Valley near Glenwood taken in 1925. It was a stark contrast to the valley we know today. I had to stop and wonder what our valley might look like 100 years from now if we don’t act to protect the place that we love. Or looking forward, what will Garfield County be like for my children? Will they have the same quality of life that we do today? Vote yes on 1A to stimulate our economy and protect the beautiful place that we call home.

Philip Halliwell

Glenwood Springs

I have just read Mary Boland’s column of Oct. 25, and I’m very sorry to hear she will no longer be writing for the post. I wish her the best.

Dorothy Fazzi

Fruita

A vote on Question 1A is a vote for our children’s future. This cycle, voters have a chance to preserve more of our county’s invaluable natural assets for future generations.

Ranchlands, rivers, and recreation are central to our quality of life, and underpin our recreation-based economy. These natural amenities attract and retain investors, employees, and entrepreneurs, which ultimately fuel our economy, bolster our housing values, and afford a better quality of life for us and our children.

As a sportsman, I’m impressed with the broad base of support for Question 1A, which includes endorsements from a wide range of associations like the Holy Cross Cattlemen’s Association, West Slope Oil and Gas Association, Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Coalition, and the Ferdinand Hayden Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

As an avid skier, hunter, and fly fisherman, I’m excited about the new access to public lands this will provide. As a father, I look forward to sharing these open spaces with my son in the future.

Most of all, however, I support the voluntary nature of this program. Rather than exact open space from otherwise enthusiastic developers or unwilling landowners, 1A creates a pot of funds that can only be used to enter into voluntary conservation agreements with willing landowners. Funds will be used to create parks, trails, and recreation opportunities, as well as preserve working ranches, wildlife habitat, and valuable riparian corridors.

As an unaffiliated voter, I oppose any increase in the size or influence of government. But this program is a well-designed, lean, and temporary program that will reap far more in rewards than it costs citizens, creating the greatest amount of good of the greatest number in the long run. Please join me in voting yes on 1A to support or economy, and our quality of life.

Chad Lee

Glenwood Springs

To reference John Cooper’s letter of Oct. 25 based on his direct campaign connections – just like my direct connections – he knows the poll he refers to was conducted by Bellweather Research and Peak Campaigns. It was a bipartisan Garfield County poll paid for by national conservative and progressive interests. Bits and pieces of facts don’t make up a whole truth.

Take the recent state campaign reports for the candidates. Both Aleks Briedis and Sonja Linman have full disclosure about their campaign activities. What you see is what you get – campaigns built by the people, for the people, grassroots democracy at its best.

Now, look at the incumbents’ campaigns. Like their records, something is missing. Every time a fancy flyer from Northwest Colorado Alliance (NCA) comes around supporting the incumbents, the cost per mailing is somewhere between $7,000 and $10,000. There’s been at least six flyers with rumors that more are coming.

Most radio ads cost between $12 and $25 for a 30-second slot. How many ads have we heard throughout the Roaring Fork Valley sponsored by NCA for Samson and Martin? It’s clear NCA is electioneering, but you won’t find state campaign finance reports from NCA detailing donors and expenses. Where’s the full disclosure and transparency on the incumbents’ campaigns?

Add up the NCA mailers received, the radio ads heard, and compare those numbers to what’s being reported by the incumbents. Those numbers leave more questions than answers. Who’s paying for these fancy mailers and radio ads? Who’s trying to buy our local elections? And why?

The answers are alarming. Samson and Martin have amassed corporate networks, making decisions disguised as public interest. With networks that include 501c4s, 501c6s, and tools like 527 support without campaign trackers, voters need to be aware that objects in the smoke-screened mirror are larger than they appear.

Transparency is the litmus test for truth this election cycle. When we expand the facts with transparency, our incumbents’ puffing and campaign numbers don’t add up to trust. It’s time to hold Mr. Samson and Mr. Martin accountable, and vote them out.

Anita Sherman

Glenwood Springs

I grew up in Glenwood Springs, and now live in Carbondale. I am writing to express my strong belief in the open lands program on the ballot this November. As someone who has lived in the valley for most of his life, I have seen this place change a lot and believe now is the time to make lasting steps to save what tracts of open land we have left. If passed, 1A will;

• Establish an open lands program for the county.

• Raise around $2 million per year for the purchase of land, development rights, and to operate the program.

• Raise money for the county and municipalities to purchase things such as river access, easements for trails, and provide incentives for ranchers to continue ranching rather than subdividing and selling.

Though the money raised for this program would come in the form of a 0.25 percent sales tax, I believe most of us are here because of the beauty and recreational opportunities this place provides. This tax amounts to 25 cents on every $100 spent, and that’s not on groceries or prescription drugs. That is a negligible price to pay.

The allure of this place is a product of our environment, and it’s up to you, the citizens of Garfield County, to make it happen. Please vote yes on 1A.

Shane Spyker

Carbondale

I won’t have to shell out any money to support NPR, it’s been bought, but I will buy my health care. It’s reassuring to know that any injustice to the United States will be met with direct military action. They’ll be no sorting things out later. All the illegals will be deported and no taxes will be imposed.

I live in a dream world; I am a fan of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s. They only have the vision of an old and dying America.

Without vision or purpose, we go on faith, and there’s not enough to go around. That’s what Barack Obama doesn’t see.

All things being equal, at least Obama is more consistent in what he says than Romney. Perhaps I need to read “The Audacity of Hope” after I cast my vote.

Fred Stewart

Grand Junction

When you are driving up and down Highways 82 or 133, or just traveling on a small road into the hills or mountains, imagine what the rolling terrain, the vistas in all directions, and the open fields would look like if it were all developed.

This is certainly what could happen unless these areas are protected. What is now open could be covered with houses or commercial buildings, and forever closed off to wildlife, any recreational use, or just enjoyment.

Protecting open space is essential for wildlife. Wildlife is already suffering from the amount of land that has been taken away. These creatures deserve areas in which to roam across the three counties that make up the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond.

With the increase of population, careful and intelligent planning is essential so that the quality of life we know now is not destroyed. Open space, whether on a ranch or farm or other still natural areas, is critical to the future of the valley.

Living here, we want to be able to continue to enjoy the open vistas, to walk on trails and visit parks, to know that the wildlife has a safe home, and to realize that we, our children, grandchildren and beyond, will be able to enjoy rural and historic areas of Garfield County.

Please vote yes on 1A to protect our land.

We won’t have to imagine the ugly; we will forever enjoy the beauty.

Carol Duell

Carbondale

I picked up the Post Independent on Oct. 26 and I was so deeply saddened by the headline, “SG Interests applies to drill near Sunlight.” For those who have been paying attention to this, it’s now a possible horrible reality.

Thompson Divide is the next area for gas and oil exploration. It runs from Silt to Carbondale and is some of our most treasured areas in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Imagine being at the top of Sunlight Mountain looking out at the amazing view and seeing gas wells. Imagine the impacts it will have on the wilderness areas, as roads and huge trucks scar the landscape. Imagine the effects it will have on our air and water quality. Remember our watershed is located in the drilling areas proposed.

Imagine more traffic on Grand Avenue as gas and oil trucks proceed to Midland Avenue and then onto Four Mile.

But it creates jobs right? For a while, but they are not sustainable. Once the drilling is completed they pull out, leaving us with the reminder they were there, forever, never being able to get back what they have taken. It will have an effect on the economy and livelihoods that are sustainable, and have been here for a very long time and supported this valley through thick and thin.

Really think about this. Is it worth it?

Patty Grace

Glenwood Springs

I am writing in regard to the Oct. 25 article, “Energy, ranching groups endorse Question 1A.”

I am a student attending Colorado Mesa University and I just recently flew over the Roan Plateau with the conservation group Eco Flight based out of Aspen.

Until seen from an aerial perspective, I would have never been able to comprehend the change that the landscape has endured due to the presence of the natural gas industry. Littered with roads winding up to plateaus never before reachable by car that network dozens of well pads, together resembling a spider web from the air, the Roan Plateau alone is a great representation of what we will, and have done to access energy.

To some, the development of this area provides jobs, to others development is defined as an insult.

Question 1A seems to be a solution that will benefit all parties that use the area. This might only be a small step to improving the quality of life in Garfield County and how people use the area, but a step that will one day establish a staircase that leads to common ground of conservation and use, rather than either-or. To me, it is so refreshing to see a solution instead of just an argument.

Tyler Hutchinson

Grand Junction

I am once again disappointed that the Post Independent publically endorses candidates for office. I truly believe to be a good representation of our valley and a fair and unobstructed deliverer of the news, the paper should remain impartial.

I know the editors do not agree, but when papers continue to riddle themselves with bad calls, they can go away. I am disappointed the Post Independent put its propaganda out for non-educated voters so they will follow your endorsement. Shame on you.

Put out the real story out on both sides so the voters who are uneducated about politics can make a educated vote by the truth, if you know what that is.

Laura Martin

Rifle

This January, core government functions such as TRIO-Upward Bound and student support services programs, medical research, education, public safety and air traffic control will face deep cuts under an arcane budget tool known as “sequestration.” If lawmakers can’t put politics aside to avoid it, these cuts will compromise our nation’s security, global competitiveness, and economic growth as millions of American jobs are lost.

Teachers will be taken out of our classrooms, airports will close, cutting-edge research on cures for cancer will be stifled, and Upward Bound services for high school youth and student support services for college undergrads will be canceled.

Experts agree these essential jobs and services are not the drivers of our nation’s debt, and they have already done more than their part to reduce the deficit. They would be cut to levels not seen since the Eisenhower presidency.

I urge U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, Sen. Michael Bennet and Sen. Mark Udall to work with their colleagues in Congress to find a balanced approach to balance the budget. Only through balance can we avoid these devastating cuts and put our nation on a sustainable fiscal path.

Debi Martinez-Brun

Carbondale

The most important decisions to me are our county commissioner races. I know I’m not the only county resident who has come out of a conversation with John Martin scratching my head and thinking, “What did he say?”

What you need to remember is that everyone living in Garfield County for the last 20 years is an expert in the subject of energy extraction. The BLM made a very important and correct decision to limit leasing for research on oil shale. The Garfield BOCC, in a hidden and illegal meeting, decided to protest that decision. That decision has been rescinded, but we must know, why was it made in the first place?

Aleks Briedis and Sonja Linman will not do this to Garfield County. These people are approachable and not prone to deception. We need them.

I am a Democrat, and as such I’ll urge readers to vote my ticket. I am also a lifelong resident of Garfield County. I love this place. We have had a diverse economy here forever. Extraction has come and gone more times than I can count in my lifetime.

Mr. Briedis and Ms. Linman will take advantage of our economic diversity, not because it is new, but because it has always been here. There was no gas drilling when I grew up here, yet we survived, and so did others.

From Barack Obama and Joe Biden, to Sal Pace, to Emily Tracy, to Jo Ann Baxter, to Regent Stephen Ludwig and Jessica Garrow, and to Aleks Briedis and Sonja Linman, their interests are our interests.

Vote for yourself. Vote Democratic.

David Mead

Rifle

Living in this valley we have many treasures – some more easily visible than others. One of my favorites is the Symphony in the Valley, which has been performing in the valley for the past 20 years.

The Musical Collage concert conducted by Carlos Elias on Oct. 21 was outstanding.

This group of unpaid musicians just keeps getting better and better, playing more complicated music every season. We are fortunate to have them share their talents. I look forward to their next performances, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, Tchaikovsky in Christmas.

M. Susan Cashel

Glenwood Springs

Has anyone noticed the darkness on I-70 from Gypsum to Parachute at the on and off ramps? It seems the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) hasn’t been replacing the lights at these on and off ramps. More of the lights are out instead of working.

Where is our tax money going? You see CDOT vehicles driving up and down I-70, but none of them replacing burned-out lights or bad photovoltaic sensors. Is our tax money going to CDOT to just drive up and down the interstate and turn potholes into bumps because of terrible patch work?

Will CDOT address this problem of the lights or just turn a blind eye to the problem?

Curt Hanson

Gypsum

If you hunt or fish, I urge you to vote yes for Question 1A, the Ranchlands, Rivers and Recreation Economy measure. It creates a local source of revenue to enable willing landowners to preserve the lands that provide habitat for game and support healthy fisheries.

Rifle is regularly recognized as one of the best places to hunt and fish in the country. It’s a big part of our economy. Anyone who hunts knows that game needs habitat and room to roam. We’re fortunate locally to have a number of large, well-managed ranch properties that provide habitat and migration corridors for wildlife. Anglers know that healthy fisheries also rely on maintaining healthy riparian corridors.

Question 1A will create a non-regulatory program that can invest in areas that our fish and game rely upon. It creates a tool landowners can use to gain equity from their land through conservation. For our communities, it also creates a pool of funds to create new parks and trails, projects like Rifle’s Centennial Park.

The cost is minimal. It’s a 0.25 percent sales tax that isn’t collected on food and prescription drugs. It will cost the average family less than $3.25 a month. That is a worthwhile investment for anyone who is serious about diversifying our economy.

Question 1A is streamlined and efficient and has accountability measures built in. A maximum of 5 percent of the revenue can be used for administrative costs, and any leftover will go back into the actual program.

It does not create a new county department or require new staff. It was designed to get the best bang for the buck without adding more bureaucracy. It will be administered by an appointed board of people from throughout Garfield County.

And the program is temporary. It automatically expires in 10 years.

Question 1A is well thought out and now is the time to put this type of program in place. If you don’t hunt and fish, but you care about our economy and quality of life, 1A deserves your vote.

Raymond Langstaff

Rifle

I disagree with the Post Independent’s editorial of Oct. 15 on the subject of Question 1A, the open space sales tax.

The estimated cost per household is $3.24 per month, or $39 per year per household. Tell me the last time a government cost estimated was close to correct on any program they are promoting.

Garfield County is approximately 70 percent publicly owned land, consisting of national forests and public domain (BLM lands).

Programs such as Question 1A are historically subject to fraud and special interest benefits statewide and nationwide. With very few exceptions, public lands have adequate access, and the means exist to acquire additional access if needed.

Most important, the proposal will take about $2 million a year out of county residents’ pockets. We don’t need any new taxes. Programs are already in place to acquire conservation easements.

Question 1A is ill conceived and supported by special interest groups that stand to benefit. The tax would amount to a subsidy to certain ranch owners of over a $1 million every year for 10 years. And of course a bureaucracy will be created that will campaign to continue and increase the tax. When was the last time a temporary tax turned out to be temporary?

The Garfield County commissioners agreed to have the proposal placed on the ballot, but the commissioners are opposed to the proposal.

Question 1A will make Garfield County more expensive for oil and gas companies to operate in because they will have to pay the additional tax on pipe and supplies. All residents will see our taxes go up on cell phone use, land lines use, and TV monthly bills as well as anything we buy at stores except some food and drugs, according to my county contact.

This is another tax we do not need. Vote no on ballot question 1A.

Richard Woodrow

Glenwood Springs


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