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Sunday letters: Impacts of tourism, and state’s rights

What impact is tourism creating?

Establishing a baseline for the environmental impact of the quarry expansion puts us in classic Catch 22. The BLM can’t establish a baseline without drilling and the same drilling might damage the other use on that sector of public managed land. It leaves us guessing as to whether there is a conflict between a surface mine and a tourist destination, which may need to protect the whole of the watershed to remain viable.

Certainly caution should be taken in this matter. We only have to look at the many coal seams burning to understand the introduction of outside air into a closed underground environment can have irreversible consequences.

I think it is overdue that BLM take the time and allocate the resources into studying the true nature of the impact of the hot springs within the lands they manage. We need to step back and actually generate concrete data on the full impact of a use that came into being long before the necessity of environmental assessments to see what is true. We need a means to get beyond just guessing. So the land can be managed as the multiple uses BLM designation allows without one infringing on the viability of another.

Drilling is a poor option, however the new digital age may have created methods less invasive that we can employ to map the structure and the full extent of the hot spring aquifer. Maybe we all need to step back and put our funding toward studying the current use. Then maybe this portion of federal land can be moved into a category that protects the whole of the historic and sacred aquifer, allowing outside uses to have better tools to mitigate what it is they are capable of mitigating — including the environmental impact of tourism and the unsustainable footprint of poorly paid workers and inflated housing values common to visionless destination resorts. What tourism too is creating with little concern about the future of the planet.

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Eric Olander,
Glenwood Springs

Civil War was about state’s rights

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation made him. It was about state’s rights, The Civil War was, until it wasn’t. “The United States ARE” is how we referred to ourselves before the Civil War. Each state was like a little country, independent of each other for setting its own policies. Not such a good idea if those policies included such things as slavery, that was an economic necessity in the South, and could only be leveraged as new states were added. Compromise reached a breaking-point when that “monkey” Lincoln became president. War!

In the summer of the election of 1864, Lincoln reviewed troops. 6’4” and wearing a stove pipe hat, he sat astride a horse. A pant leg up to his knee, his look underscored his weaknesses. He had declared emancipation for the slaves, but Grant was in a year long stand-off with Lee, and Sherman couldn’t capture Atlanta. What a fool, this “Union man”, who couldn’t back-up his words. It changed with Union victories, ergo, slavery was abolished. “The war about states rights” became “a war to end slavery”.

”The South shall rise again!” It has, metaphorically: Republicans. Democrats are about micromanaging the Executive Branch, ergo US: “Individual Rights!” You choose.

Fred Stewart,
Grand Junction


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