Open letter to town of Carbondale town trustees, and city of Glenwood Springs City Council:
I read with interest the article in the Post Independent regarding distribution of state severance tax revenues and mineral lease fees. According to the Post Independent, “The amount is meant to compensate counties, towns and school districts for impacts from mineral development in their areas. Glenwood Springs will receive approximately $1.3 million and Carbondale $846,684.”
Now, this begs the question, how can the council of Glenwood Springs and the trustees of Carbondale, in all good conscience, take these funds? Both municipalities have taken strong positions opposing natural gas development and leasing on the Roan Plateau and the Thompson Divide area. In addition, they have seen little or no impacts from the current development. It would seem that these two municipalities would hold to their strong and long-held beliefs and principles, and not take any of this blood money. It would seem entirely appropriate and in line with their current public stands to give back this windfall from the ill gotten gains of the oil and gas industry.
I am not a citizen of either community, but I would encourage the citizens of these two fine communities to contact their respective governments and urge them to give back these funds. It is easy to be principled when no gains come from the objections to these activities. However it takes tremendous courage to hold true to these principles when dollars walk through the door. But maybe I am wrong and these two municipalities will just keep the money and prove that principles and positions count only when money is not involved.
The Post Independent and citizens of our local communities have taken great interest in the fact that funding for juvenile diversion services was slated to be cut from the state budget. As reported in the Aug. 4 edition of the Post Independent, Garfield County commissioners stepped forward to provide financial support to prevent the loss of diversion services in Garfield County. I want to acknowledge the concern for young people, the safety of our communities and the fiscal wisdom displayed by the commissioners in making this decision.
I am happy to confirm that Gov. Ritter put the complete allocation for juvenile diversion back into the state budget. It was a unique and pleasant experience for YouthZone to return money to the county because state funding was continued.
YouthZone provides a juvenile diversion program in Garfield and Pitkin counties. Juvenile Diversion is a program designed to prevent first-time and low-level youth offenders from escalating in the criminal system. Through an intervention program targeted at meaningful consequences and the issues that are creating barriers to responsible behavior, YouthZone works with youth to get them on a positive path.
The YouthZone Diversion Program success rate (youth who do not re-offend) consistently runs between 92 percent and 86 percent. Not only is this positive for the youth and their family, it saves law enforcement and criminal justice resources in time and money at a variety of levels. According to information from the Department of Youth Corrections, committing one youth to the department will cost Colorado taxpayers more than $79,000 a year.
The savings associated with juvenile diversion add up quickly and significantly. There is no more suitable time than the present to keep juvenile diversion programming available.
Our communities can be assured that the YouthZone Juvenile Diversion Program will continue without interruption. We are grateful for all the support shown for this work.
Debbie Wilde, executive director
Regarding Silt’s public art in the roundabout: Remind me not to visit there. With so many people going around in circles obsessing over one aspect of it, it can’t be a safe place to drive.
In response to the Silt round-a-bout sculpture:
Has anyone been to the Glenwood Springs Fall Art Festival? The art festival is a great conglomeration of many people’s art work. Art is an individual’s personal interpretation. It is OK if you like or dislike someone’s perception. That is what art is.
The most encouraging news that came out of the Thompson Divide meeting held in Carbondale this past Thursday night was that several other communities in other states were successful in protecting their landscapes and wilderness areas from gas drilling. Is it impossible to stop gas drilling? No. But we need your help.
The Thompson Divide Coalition was formed to prevent oil and gas development in the Thompson Divide area (200,000 plus acres) including Thompson and Fourmile Creek watersheds, Muddy Basin, Coal Basin and the headwaters of East Divide Creek. The Thompson Divide Coalition on its website, savethompsondivide.org, so aptly state, “This landscape is our home – it’s the backyard that we play in, the skyline of our sunsets, the forest that filters our air and provides habitat for the wildlife we coexist with. It’s the headwaters of several watersheds that supply the clean water we drink and use for agriculture. And it’s the direct source of the livelihood of most of the ranching families in our area, and indirectly sustains the economies and well-being of Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Redstone and other communities.”
We were informed during the meeting that there is enough gas in this area to power all of the United States vehicles for 34 hours. That’s right, just 34 hours. And for 34 hours, they will threaten the water, lands, forests and wildlife in the Thompson Divide area and spoil our view planes. Anyone who has driven the I-70 corridor west of Glenwood Springs knows what is in store for us if we do not act now. You do not witness the true destruction of land these gas companies cause unless you visit the area or view it from the air. I always looked forward to the drive to Grand Junction for the scenery it provided. Not so much anymore.
Please visit savethompsondivide.org and get involved by writing your congressman and senators at their addresses listed on the site.
Richard T Walker
We are being bombarded with fears that water wells and streams are, or will be, polluted by operations of gas drilling procedures such as fracturing formations and the ingredients to do so.
If there is proof that there are wells that have indications of the introduction of natural gas products or the drilling fluids used to produce them, procedures must change to protect our water supply.
What we need to see is a showing of what contaminants were in the water prior to drilling operations in the area. Thus, we would have a basis on which to bring the guilty companies to task. The state water records surely have samples of both wells and natural streams for comparison. The reason for their existence is to protect water quality.
The need to compare past testing with present is that there is a natural migration of all fluids and gases along fractures. Long Beach, Calif., is a good example of this with its historic seeps of oil into the Pacific. Water isn’t the only thing that follows the lines of least resistance.
Worry not. Be happy and enjoy the warm natural gas hot water and heat until true concerns need to be addressed.
Jack E. Blankenship
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