Letters to the Editor
Dear Editor,When we as Americans began to assess the potential for injury in a car accident, we sought ways to minimize that risk. At first, drivers were encouraged to use seat belts; eventually it became a law to buckle up. Laws were passed to provide an extra level of safety for children and infants by requiring special car seats for them. Rational and prudent people applied common sense to a problem and took steps to minimize risk.We face a similar task today when we look at the increase in drilling in our county. According to the Sept. 2 article by Associated Press reporter Judith Kohler, “Statewide, a record 5,904 drilling permits were approved last year, more than double the 2,915 issued in 2004. Garfield County, home to Rifle, accounted for 31 percent of those permits and this year leads the state with 37 percent – 1,196 – of 3,273 permits approved through July 13.” The article clearly spells out the economic costs and benefits of having industry in our valley, but it does not address the health risks that come with it.As the drilling for natural gas increases in Garfield County, we are faced with new health risks from some of the chemicals used or produced in the drilling process. Increases in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ground level ozone are most concerning. It is time for us to seek common sense ways to minimize the health risks posed by exposure to these chemicals. Requiring afterburners and controlling condensate tanks to limit evaporation of toxic chemicals are two possible methods to manage our risks. We invite industry to work with us to implement these, and other, common sense answers to minimize our exposure.When we saw potential for harm associated with driving, we did not abandon driving our cars, we worked together to reduce the danger. Drilling for natural gas is an industry that will be a part of our community for many years; now is the time to recognize and manage the risks that our industrial neighbors bring with them. Joyce Wizer, secretary Grand Valley Citizens AllianceRifle
Dear Editor,Yes, we are in a dry year, and bears are out of food in the high country. We’ve had dry years before, why is the bear issue such a problem today? The real issue here is the DOW bear management.The DOW needs to issue more bear tags and bring back the spring and baiting hunts to reduce the overall numbers. Bears are very territorial combined with urban sprawl, and we now have more bears in our backyards.With more bears desperate for food, they are losing their fear of humans to get something to eat. If the bears were managed properly, and not by public vote, there would be enough food for them to stay up high. A guy in Aspen was arrested for baiting a bear. Only a few years ago, it was legal to bait a bear in Colorado. That was the only way you could get one close enough to shoot after he tore up your livestock camp for years on end. The guy didn’t have the meat from his bear processed. Have you ever tasted bear? It’s putrid. The meat is considered inedible and will not be accepted by any charity. You can’t even give it away. My question is this, what did the DOW do with the meat from the seven bears that they shot in Pitkin County? Did they have it processed? Or was it dumped in the nearest landfill? If so, why does the DOW get away with breaking their own laws, and then arrest anyone else that does the same? And what about the hides? Where are they? My point here is we do have a bear problem, and the bears need to be managed, just like any other wildlife. The numbers need to be taken down to fit the lands they roam in. We all want bears, but we don’t want them in our backyards.The DOW needs to stop pointing fingers at others and make a plan to manage the overpopulation of bears. This problem is not going to go away, even in a good year.Barb HillParachute
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