Friday letters: county lawsuit, Canada’s good example
County commissioners seemingly want to pollute our air
Thank you to Betsy Leonard for her recent letter pointing out how Garfield County commissioners Tom Jankovsky, John Martin and Mike Samson are misallocating our tax dollars to defend oil and gas companies from having to adopt common sense practices that protect our communities and environment. In case you missed it, the county is suing the state Air Quality Control Commission over a new rule that requires more frequent inspections of oil and gas facilities within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds and neighborhoods, and prompt repairs when necessary.
The commissioners have also completely surrendered their authority to reasonably regulate natural gas development in order to protect their constituents. All oil and gas development in Colorado must receive a state permit as well as local government approval before it can be built. Unfortunately for us, Garfield County has made oil and gas development a “use by right” across the county. That means oil and gas waste pits and multi-well pads do not need to go through any local government approval process before they are built.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Other local governments have shown far more interest in protecting public health. Adams County, for example, requires oil and gas facilities to receive a permit and requires wells to be sited at least 1,000 feet away from homes. That’s double the minimum 500-foot setback required by the state.
We deserve better from our local government. The county should drop its lawsuit to kill a rule that protects our children, and the county commissioners should enact local regulations that make it easier for all of us to breathe clean air.
I lived 15 years in Canada and enjoyed the extensive social services that Canada provides all residents. Here is good news from a country that acts decisively and collaboratively with all its provinces to meet individual and business needs during this pandemic.
If a company has lost 15% of its gross income in March, and 30% in April and May, the government is paying 75% of their employees’ salaries. An individual who has lost their income gets $2,000 a month for four months. Essential service workers who earn less than $2,500 a month are having their salaries topped up in a collaboration between the federal and provincial governments.
Canada is sending $157.5 million to homeless shelters to help provide more beds and add partitions in sleeping quarters to keep people separate and $50 million to shelters for battered women and children to provide the same along with $350 million to nonprofits that serve the most vulnerable.
Canada is providing $305 million to an Indigenous Community Support fund to assess and meet needs for safety on native reserves along with extra funding for food and protective gear for people living on native lands and more funds for their health services.
There are programs to put college students to work doing paid national service this summer that will also pay $5,000 toward their tuition in the fall. Government leadership has united to take care of the ill through its national health care system and to help those working and out of work to meet all their basic needs without hardship.
You can access the information at Canada’s Covid-19 Economic Response Plan.
Canada, thank you for leading by example and using tax dollars to serve all residents.
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