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Since Congress recessed, the political blather over the immediate need to open more lands for oil drilling, the prices of oil and refined products have decreased. Crude has declined $11/barrel and gasoline has declined 20 cents/gallon as demand has continued to slow. In the first 234 days of 2008, Americans reduced oil demand by 756,000 barrels/day compared to last year; that’s roughly equivalent to the government’s best guess as to the peak oil production from Alaska’s Arctic Refuge 20 years out. If we’re still using oil as our major transportation fuel then, God help us.There is no urgency to lift drilling moratoria, and nobody has even revisited why these moratoria were originally instituted. After seven years of “drill here, drill now,” the price of oil has skyrocketed, and we’re more dependent on imports. That is proven failed policy and is not sustainable. The only real solution is to develop non-petroleum transportation technology, fuels and infrastructure. And, while politicians suggest that more drilling now will reduce gasoline prices, which Americans want to believe, the government’s own studies refute this carefully worded ploy. Oil companies have leased 68 million acres pending development with much more public land approved for drilling that is being leased quarterly. The only urgency is that Republicans fear losing the White House and the ability to filibuster the Senate, and they still owe big oil some favors. A responsible Congress would terminate this more-of-the-same policy and implement real solutions.Greg ScottEvergreen

The second amendment is apparently an issue that is leading some voters to support Republican John McCain for president, as evidenced by the rally for gun rights and McCain’s campaign in Grand Junction on Wednesday.While I generally vote Democratic and am a firm Obama supporter, I too consider the right to bear arms an essential constitutional right and would also be concerned if Obama opposed the second amendment.However, he doesn’t. Barack is a former constitutional law professor, and is on record numerous times affirming that the right to bear arms is “an individual right.” He also acknowledges the importance of hunting to America’s sportsmen and women, and the need to conserve wildlands and the outdoors. The American Hunters and Shooters Association, which supports commonsense gun policy and the right to bear arms, endorsed Obama. Their president, Ray Schoenke, said Obama would be “a strong and authentic voice for America’s hunters and shooters.”McCain and Obama have each voted for certain limits to the second amendment: a federal assault weapons ban and a semiautomatic weapons ban in Illinois, respectively. Gun rights advocates may want to consider more closely whether there is really a substantial difference between the two on this issue.Mackenzie GibsonGrand Junction


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