Letters to the Editor
The Bair Chase Development at the base of Cattle Creek has recently been reopened for public comment. Citizens have until Dec. 12 to have their voices heard.Many are aware that the Garfield County Commissioners had recently changed the zoning from a 230-home proposal to a high density 979 homes, called “Cattle Creek Crossing.” With 979 homes, there is no crossing Highway 82 for the elk, there is no space there left to graze.I must speak for the elk. I have seen elk wintering in the Roaring Fork Valley since I was a boy. They are forced down to feed while snow blankets the high country. This 282-acre parcel of land is some of the last great open space on the valley floor. It also lies in the heart of their migration corridor.I propose maintaining the zoning at no more than 230 homes, creating an overpass over Highway 82, allowing the elk to cross without slamming into my daily commute. I also suggest as much open space as is economically possible by grouping development together, and allowing the elk a place to feed. I recommend a “no dog” policy and a fence restriction on the units providing the elk open range. In an ideal world, we could do a land trade with the BLM and the Aspen Land Trust, protecting this parcel and developing a less sensitive, non-winter-grazing area.Anyone who lives here realizes that elk are a major blessing on our valley, our lifestyle and our economy. If we do not act soon, it will be too late for them because there will be no open space left to protect. Quality of life here in the Valley is changing rapidly, but for none so rapidly as our elk herds.Mike VanianGlenwood Springs
Thanks to Dennis Webb for covering the air quality education presentation. I was remiss in failing to attend this meeting in person. Many people are waiting with great interest to hear the results of the air quality studies. We know from visual observation that there is an excess of particulates in the air. How much of that is caused by the diesel truck traffic that roars around every road in Western Garfield County? In the face of global warming, perhaps Halliburton and the gas companies could be made to switch to less-polluting engines. How about natural gas engines?Of equal interest was a Nov. 29 article in the New York Times, headlined “EPA is sued by 12 states over reports on chemicals.” This suit asks the EPA to “restore all the chemical reporting requirements that were previously part of its Toxic Release Inventory program or TRI.” As of December, companies were allowed to reduce the amount of information reported. To quote New York Attorney General Andrew Como and the Times, “The lawsuit sought to restore a public right to information about chemical hazards ‘despite the Bush Administration’s best attempts to hide it’.”We must ask the state health department and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to step into the gas regulation arena and force gas companies to give us total access to chemical information. After all, what are the gas companies afraid of?Barb CoddingtonGlenwood Springs
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