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Your Letters

Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

After reading the letter to the editor from Tina Holtz (March 3) regarding the enormous economic contribution the oil and gas industry makes to our state, I felt compelled to respond.

Twenty-three billion dollars a year and 70,000 jobs. Wow, that is a lot. I did not attempt to verify those numbers. I am sure they exist.

I would like to offer some other numbers however, created by the Colorado Department of Labor.

Garfield County has a population of roughly 51,000 people, 30,000 of whom are of working age. The oil and gas industry employed an average of 447 people for the last quarter of 2010, reporting total earnings of over $10 million annually.

That averages out to $93,000 per year for each of those 447 individuals. I will let you draw your own conclusions.

Some other numbers that may be of interest are the employment projections over the course of the next 10 years. These numbers are done on a regional basis. For the western region of the state, which currently enjoys 1,028 jobs in the oil and gas industry, there is an anticipated decline of 69 percent. That’s 771 of the 1,028 jobs gone within the next 10 years.

I wonder if all the ostensibly over-concerned citizens have enough time to run these companies off before they take the money and run off on their own.

I would like to offer some friendly advice for Ms. Holtz. If you do not plan to follow the next strike, you may want to explore some other employment options.

Anthony Benham

Silt

I am in the trucking industry and often travel through Glenwood Springs. I am very troubled by the energy policies of the Obama administration.

Today, oil prices topped $100 per barrel. Diesel is over $3.50/gallon. Countries in the Middle East are in turmoil. Yet here in America, Ken Salazar’s Interior Department delays even researching a reserve of oil shale potentially four times larger than the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. What’s going on? If even a small part of this reserve were developed (responsibly, of course), gasoline and diesel prices would stabilize.

The Obama administration is undoing most of what was achieved on oil shale during the Bush administration. Companies made good progress on developing advanced technologies that used less water and energy. Some companies even say their processes will use no water.

However, because of regulatory hurdles and hostility from this administration, oil shale research and investment is drying up. I mean, would you invest huge sums of money into oil shale research in this political environment?

Salazar recently announced that the BLM will take a “fresh look” at oil shale regulations under a settlement with environmentalist groups. If you recall, Salazar repealed previous regulations that gave companies some regulatory certainty. Amazingly, Salazar helped draft the regulations he later repealed. Yet, he didn’t say when his review might happen or what it would entail. He did say he was in no hurry.

Salazar also just announced a potentially illegal new wildlands policy at BLM to get around Congress’s power to create wilderness areas. This will add more costly red tape to energy development.

Sky-high gas prices and oil supply disruptions are looming. These will hurt ordinary working Americans the most. How can this administration be against encouraging private research into oil shale? If they care about the American middle-class, how can they continue to bash this huge domestic resource?

Mike Downey

Neodesha, Kan.


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