Friday letters: Climate, rabbits, construction industry, and quarry
We’re out of time for small, moderate steps in climate crisis
It’s wonderful to have Emily Golden speak out about the climate crisis. Some of us who have been writing letters for close to a decade are grateful for fresh voices. Emily understands that it is beyond simple personal choices, those that cost no money, at this point. Because fossil fuels are such a basic part of the economy, we must have enlightened government intervention. If even modified capitalism is to become a system that we stick with, it must be regulated; otherwise it’s current growth model consumes all the resources we need to live such as clean air and water; well modeled by the RMR plans that now threaten Glenwood Springs. This is not to mention the corporate gobbling of capital and wealth that creates such a desperate struggle for the majority of the world.
I am at odds with Emily when she states she does not intend to depress you or scare you or imply we’re doomed. We need to be depressed and scared and face the facts of a sickness we have. Our current lifestyle is well compared to cancer, which untreated, kills its host. We must face the chemotherapy of lifestyle change. It will be painful and disrupt our lives, but creates a chance of preventing our children a worse pain.
I will venture to suggest to you whom to vote for in 2020. They must have the climate crisis as their top priority. We are out of time for small, moderate steps. The Democrat’s Senate primary in this state is a perfect example. We must not replace the atrocious Cory Gardner with a candidate sympathetic to oil and gas. We can easily elect a Democrat, but the fate of air and water quality, especially on the eastern slope, may rest on sympathy to regulations on this industry. We must face uncomfortable facts and vote for life, or start thinking of the story we will tell the grandchildren about what we have or have not done to save our ecosystem as it crumbles around us. It is that dramatic.
The Sopris Avenue ‘Feed Lot’
Community. Common unity. We humans gather together in groups for many reasons. We have common interests and beliefs. We then make rules, regulations and laws to preserve these standards. That is part of living in a community.
The Post Independent article of Nov. 13 (“Rabbit restriction in Carbondale farmer’s crosshairs”) on Matt Kennedy prompted me to write. Mr. Kennedy has been in violation of the laws and standards of Carbondale for years. He was finally cited on his disregard of the laws in July and flagrantly continues to do so to the present. The cute, cuddly bunnies on the cover of the Post Independent are bred, fed and slaughtered. The smell from his “feed lot” can be overwhelming at times. The conditions are barren — just dirt and mud with minimal shelter. Rabbits get loose and run all over the neighborhood. Several rabbits have been found dead in nearby yards.
I have had a large garden on Sopris Avenue for more than 30 years. I raise most of the food for my family and give the rest away to friends, neighbors and the community. I have never had a complaint filed against me and have not disobeyed any community standards or laws.
Difficult for construction industry to support Trump
Concerning Jerome Dayton’s letter on November 19, asking if Trump is a good businessman, there is an additional reason for the accumulation of his wealth. He often stiffed contractors and subcontractors who did work on his projects and refused to pay them. If you are in the construction industry, it would be difficult to support a person like that.
Quarry needs rail access to make a profit
According to a map provided by the Colorado Railroad Museum, Colorado has had in excess of 90 different railroads. The fact that there are now only a few is at least partially a testament to the difficulty of running a railroad profitably through these mountains. Certainly, if you have a choice on how to send your freight, you’ll bypass this state entirely, as they originally did when building the transcontinental railroad. You’d probably go through Wyoming instead, where the highest elevation on the entire route is a touch over 8,000 feet and open enough that you can run on double track the whole way.
This is most likely why just about the only trains you see running through Glenwood are coal trains coming out of the North Fork of the Gunnison and Amtrak. Coal, however, is dying. With over 500 power generators shut down since 2010 including, most recently, the Nucla and Navajo plants, both of which had direct access to coal. So it’s anybody’s guess when the margins aren’t going to be large enough any more to make North Fork coal economically feasible. When that happens, and it could be very soon, the trains will very likely stop running through our town.
That’s a scary thought for our tourist industry, but it also has significant implications on the mine question. The limestone from that mine will likely be used as gravel. As such it’s probably literally cheaper than dirt, which is to say its profit margins are likely even skinnier than coal’s. One has to assume it’ll only make economic sense for them to work that quarry if they have rail access, but they almost certainly can’t afford to pay the UP enough to keep the line open themselves. This may be part of the reasoning behind their current push.
Going all-in on their lease right now seems like a win-win for them. They either get out as much as they can before the train goes away and the value of their holding essentially goes to zero, or they scare us enough that we buy them out or facilitate a swap. Just something to consider as we work out our game plan.
Rail line could directly access quarry
In 1956 when the present owners of the Glenwood Hot Springs made their purchase from Frank Kistler, Kistler said as a closing note, “as long as you have naturally heated water, you can’t go wrong”, or something to that effect. All Glenwood Hot Springs executives have heeded that maxim. The naturally heated spring water is the life blood of Glenwood’s tourist industry. Who would want to mess that up? It’s hard enough to second guess a leak in a roof much less the origin of a hot spring.
Assuming that the water wouldn’t be disturbed, would 300 truck loads a day be conducive to the tourist industry? What about the scar it would leave on the mountain? A smaller, but more evident scar exists adjacent to town… long abandoned since the ’50s.
So, what would be the impact and result of this newly proposed mining expansion over a thousand feet above town?
It would be less evident than the abandoned quarry. But, what would it do to the landscape?
Two things could happen. A rail line could be cut directly beneath the proposed quarry and ore could be loaded down a shaft and transported directly by rail. When the mining was exhausted, the quarry could be terraced for housing development. The shaft would be safe access to town… kind of a quid quo pro.
This is all assuming the spring waters weren’t effected.
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