Friday letters: Boys and buses, oil industry mess, climate action, Afghanistan exit strategy, Boebert social media, and Aviation Expo
School bus tale
Each school morning, a small girl arrives at the bus stop and squats in front of a dense bush that protects her from the down valley breeze. In a few minutes, a Latina arrives and stands beside the bush. They wait without speaking.
A minute or two before the bus arrives, a tall boy, ball cap backward, comes from the east and when the bus arrives, he always boards first, giving the girls the day’s first taste of the male BS that girls and women confront.
Whether the boy is just another despicable bully is unknown since no other boys are present to challenge his behavior. Nevertheless, the question remains, has his mother taught him nothing?
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Clean up your mess
As the oil and gas industry fades into the sunset due to low demand and the emphasis on renewable energy sources, it’s leaving behind a mess for taxpayers to clean up. Currently, there are 35,000 wells in the state that are completely inactive or producing too little to make them economically viable.
Left uncapped or improperly capped, these wells leak methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. The local and state governments are left with paying for the capping and cleanup and the industry gets off scot-free.
That’s what Garfield County’s oil and gas mitigation fund, of which the commissioners foolishly and unsuccessfully spent nearly $2 million on a lawsuit challenging state regulations, was for. Currently, the industry has no incentive to pay for plugging abandoned wells.
Senate Bill 181-19 reprioritized the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s mission to include protecting public health and safety and not just promoting the industry. It was passed in April of 2019 and the COGCC still hasn’t defined the new rules the industry must observe. Meanwhile, drilling leases are being approved under the old rules.
Not only should the COGCC pause all drilling permits until the new rules are in place, but it needs to establish financial assurance rules, where the industry puts funds up front for plugging, reclamation, and damage to the environment and climate.
The COGCC is in rulemaking process now. We should contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org and demand they include these provisions. A note to Gov. Jared Polis at GovernorPolis@state.co.us wouldn’t hurt, either.
Fred Malo Jr.
I’ve been devoted to climate action for about 10 years. We have been saying that the destruction from climate change will be a catastrophe for our children and especially our grandchildren. To be honest, that didn’t mean anything to most people.
But people now see, and many experience, the deaths and massive economic loss of hurricanes, heat waves and wildfires. What was a moral choice about two generations from now can be a matter of survival for us. Then throw in the COVID-19 delta virus.
I’ve been saying that getting people’s concern is just about impossible in our little paradise called Carbondale. Other than some smoke in the air, our biggest problems are a shortage of school teachers, bus drivers and dishwashers; and maybe a few things missing on the grocery shelves. And, of course, the perennial shortfall of affordable housing.
Nothing like a horde of climate refugees to bid up the housing and rental markets. It’s a great time for long-time locals to cash out. But where do you go?
I think we are at a crossroads. Carbondale and the valley have been “vibrantly” perking along for the past few years. Many thousands of new units are built, under construction or planned. The population of the valley is rapidly increasing, and consequently the new greenhouse gas emissions that go along with growth are also increasing.
But that is just the opposite of what our various climate action plans call for. We are a very minor part of the world, but we ought to be doing our part. Instead, the short-term profits of development take precedent over all other values.
If you think development improves quality of life, take a drive down to Denver. Stop in Vail, Frisco or Breckenridge. See how people are driving each other crazy and ruining their health.
Any chance we could have some discussion about this?
Enter the words “exit strategy” in a search engine and you will find that those two words are used to identify a contingency plan for exiting one’s current situation, either after a specified objective has been achieved, or following failure to achieve a specified objective.
While exit strategies are frequently associated with military planning, businesses also develop such contingency plans, as do political organizations, individuals and groups charged with developing foreign affairs plans, etc.
In July 2021, President Biden set Aug. 31 as the date for ending U.S. presence in Afghanistan. Anyone watching TV news coverage of U.S. efforts to exit that country as August drew to a close, knows that the situation at Kabul’s air base could have used a good exit strategy.
Unfortunately, it was not obvious that anyone had given an appropriate amount of thought to preparing something that might even be called a contingency plan for getting all Americans out of the country, much less the thousands of Afghan interpreters, translators, their families and others who had aided U.S. forces, and would be in danger of Taliban reprisal.
The president apparently knew that his decision would be unpopular. “I know my decision on Afghanistan will be criticized. But I would rather take all that criticism than pass this responsibility on to yet another president. I am president of the United States of America. The buck stops with me”
To many of us it appeared that he had simply stiffened his back, and decided that his chosen exit date would not be changed. Defending his actions he later said: “I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit.”
It’s reasonable to conclude that extending a “forever exit” would have simply invited delays, but devising a plan that would accelerate relocation of individuals and their families that were likely to be targets of Taliban reprisal was feasible.
Given the large number of such people still waiting at the Kabul airport, it may be appropriate for someone on the president’s staff to point out that “The buck stops with me” is not an exit strategy.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this letter incorrectly identified where some Americans stranded in Afghanistan were from.
Lauren Boebert is all over social media now, whining about how the U.S. did not get all its citizens out of Afghanistan on time.
Uh, OK. It was announced six months ago for all Americans to make arrangements to return to the United States or face long lines, and some harassment, unless they make haste.
Lauren Boebert took up their cause.
Then, we find out the biggest group of Americans left behind were from San Diego.
That was last week. Now Boebert is whining about all those “Afghan refugees” moving into a neighborhood near you and I. I thought the TV show Fear Factor was over.
Great news came out of Denver last Thursday when the Colorado State Legislature announced plans to redo voting districts, specifically Rifle, and put it in the voting district that Boulder is in.
Is this poetic justice or what?
And, one year from November, Lauren Boebert will be running against a very liberal guy, who does not lose many elections, especially to a “fringe candidate.” She had her 5 minutes of fame.
Aviation Expo thanks
Thanks to all involved in putting on last weekend’s Aviation Expo at the Glenwood Springs Airport. We thoroughly enjoyed the air show and the opportunity to sit in and learn about a great many airplanes and helicopters.
Thanks to airport and city staff, shuttle drivers, musical talent, booth operators, Glenwood Fire and all the pilots for a well-run and fun event.
It’s hard to believe a year has passed since that same runway was lined end-to-end with heavy fire helicopters to battle the Grizzly Creek Fire. Emergency or fun, both are good reminders of the value of our small-town airport.
It’s a shame that the mayor and others on council eagerly plot its demise. For this year at least, my kids got to experience the same thrill I felt at their age, watching wings lift passengers off toward Mount Sopris.
I hope that opportunity, and our “Gem of the Rockies” airport stick around.
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