Letters to the editor
Dear Editor,In the Sept. 17 edition, Mr. Olander made a statement in his recent letter to the editor that I just can’t let pass. He said, “Morality cannot be legislated.” It is true that you are not able to change the heart of a man by legislation, and therefore not his personal moral station. But you can control his external behavior by legislation. In fact it is imperative, if we are to have a peaceful society, that we (through civil government) impose moral restraints on the population as a whole. If you reason it out, the decision-making process and justification of all laws is necessarily morally based. From the laws against murder and owning dangerous animals, which reflect a moral value placed on human life, to other laws against shoplifting, drug dealing, and wearing seat belts, which impose the (moral) code necessary for any society to operate, a peaceful society will always require adherence to some moral code. The struggle to maintain a healthy society has become more difficult as the government bureaucracy has increasingly come to think of itself as not accountable to any higher authority, the way the framers our constitution did. Rather, they delude themselves into thinking they are the highest authority and are exempt from any law themselves, not accountable to the people or to the ultimate authority.With lawmakers jettisoning the anchor for our moral-civil public behavior code, we are drifting toward the black days of the ‘might makes right’ mentality of a police state. We will all be longing for the days when we could point to a higher moral code with which we could hold the bureaucracy accountable.These days it is very popular to establish ourselves as our own highest authority, rejecting any external moral constraints on our behavior. While seductively attractive as a personal, enlightened philosophy, it has been demonstrated by history to rapidly spiral into chaos. Instead of all people pointing to a higher authority-based external code, we busy ourselves touting the beauty of our personal concepts. The result is he with the biggest club makes the rules.Mark TalbottParachute
Dear Editor,Are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) dangerous? Michael Larime’s recent letter would seem to indicate that the VOC emissions from the gas field are decreasing and are not a risk. The number of wells is increasing. How can the pollution be decreasing? Area citizens report worsening health and poor air quality. How can this be OK? No air quality monitoring is required to assess the levels of dangerous chemicals in the air. No water quality monitoring is required to assess the damage done to aquifers by production pits overflowing, hazardous waste spilling at well sites, or the location of numerous wells by the Colorado River. This needs to change.The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) will meet from 2-4 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Old Courthouse on Rood Street in Grand Junction. They need to understand the importance of local environmental quality to people who live 24 hours a day by a well, not just those who work there 40 hours per week. They need to understand the gas industry activity and its pollutants are affecting public health in the county. VOCs are just one toxic pollutant from natural gas development, causing cancer, respiratory ailments, reproductive failure, and many more life-threatening illnesses. They need to understand poisonous ground-level ozone levels are increasing and water quality is being negatively impacted as a result of the gas industry activities. What are we doing to our children by living in Garfield County? We can assess the risk and make good personal choices as to diet; we cannot choose to quit breathing to control our risk from VOCs or easily remove pollution from our drinking water. We need the COGCC to help us.The COGCC has eight new commissioners because of citizen concerns, appointed to do a better job of balancing development and impacts. They need to hear from us.Please help convey to the COGCC the importance of good rules to protect our health. Join us in Grand Junction and let your concerns be heard. For more information about the hearing, contact Patrick Barker at 379-3252.Elizabeth Chandler, New Castle and the Executive Board of Grand Valley Citizens Alliance
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