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Your Letters

Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The second inauguration of Barack Obama affirms to the nation that the belief many of us held when we first witnessed him speak at the Democratic convention on the behalf of the presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004, that Barack Obama was on a path toward greatness.

With Obamacare, the closing down of two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan), the steady hand in the handling of the Gulf oil spill, the strength showed against a stonewalling Congress, and an impressive win over the Republican candidate Mitt Romney for a second term, President Obama has demonstrated he is the leader for the times.

It is my notion that fair-minded Republicans and Democrats are standing proudly in the sense of wishing the president a successful second term. A successful second term for President Barack Obama would mean in the eyes of the world a successful America.

Alfred Waddell

West Dennis, Mass.

Judith Lewis Mernit, author of the Jan. 8 article on the energy-water nexus, made a number of unsubstantiated statements, starting with the one about oil shale “using enormous amounts of water.”

By whose estimates? The sense of the article seemed to be that no one knows how much water the industry will use, so how can we at the same time accept such blanket statements?

Also, Ms. Mernit failed to cite the most recent, credible and scientific numbers from Colorado School of Mines oil shale expert Jeremy Boak, who has reported that a full scale oil shale industry will likely only require one to three barrels of water per barrel of oil produced.

While this may seem like a considerable amount, it needs to be remembered that it still represents only a tiny fraction of total water usage, especially as compared to other uses. Agriculture, for example, is far more water intensive, though there is (rightly) no active movement to restrict that industry, which is just as vital to our nation and economy as energy is.

The paragraph “The Energy Department might understand that hydrofracturing for natural gas could contaminate local water supplies, for instance, but the Environmental Protection Agency may lack baseline studies showing the water’s condition before industry got there” was also irresponsible on the part of the author; it first insinuates that hydraulic fracturing contaminates water supplies – an unsubstantiated assertion that lacks any basis – and then ignores the fact that the industry has a voluntarily background water testing program in place, with 100 percent compliance in Garfield County.

There is a political dimension to the water-energy issue that the author seemed to skirt around. How is it, for example, that a comprehensive study completed in 2008 by the BLM – which included a full analysis of water needs – determined that 2 million acres were suitable for oil shale leasing, while an identical study repeated in 2011 with the same information suddenly determined that the acreage needs to be reduced dramatically?

Such omissions and dubious assertions made what could have been an important, thought-provoking article vague and incomplete.

Shirley Starr


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