Letter: The oil and gas beat goes on
On Nov. 25, the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado came out of the closet and held a public powwow at the Garfield County annex in Rifle that featured the cowboys, not the Indians, in a competition to beat the “oilngas jobs” drum. Gov. John Hickenlooper was the guest of honor. It was a steady rhythm and seemed to be music to the governor’s ears.
Mike Samson began with an introduction, and an earnest and off beat admission of the Garfield County expenditure of $200,000 to “disprove” the existing habitat maps for the sage grouse. Samson seemed to expect the governor to adjust his thinking about the bird specifically because of Garfield’s investment. In this drum circle, no expense in pursuit of the greater good of extraction revenue, is thought unworthy.
Our affable governor, who could charm the stripes off wallpaper, finally picked up his drum stick and chimed in with his oft repeated, “hate the split estate law but love the mineral owner” speech. People with these means cannot be deprived of their necessity to pollute because it would constitute a “taking.” This willingness to hide behind a destructive law; and the unwillingness to put health and continued purity of life-sustaining air and water, above the interests of extraction and money, is old news.
The governor praised CDOT for its excellent work connecting towns devastated on the Front Range by a storm on climate change steroids, but most every word (beat) was “rights” (read revenue), “deregulation” (read pollution), and “jobs” (read the blessed few remaining).
The exceptions were Commissioner Doug Monger of Routt County who spoke in defense of the Yampa River and Frank Breslin who asked for space to be made on bridges for vulnerable bikers. The public was not allowed to speak.
The air was veiled with pollution, visible haze in the sun, driving down I-70; this coming to a city near you.
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