Thursday letters: Abandoned oil & gas wells, Youthentity, masks and the economy, farmer’s market
Protect Colorado taxpayers from abandoned oil & gas wells
Tresi Houpt’s June 22 column appearing in the Post Independent is a prime example of what leadership in Garfield County ought to look like. With her experience as a commissioner both here and in the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), Tresi’s advocacy for common sense measures to protect the health and safety of Coloradans is a breath of fresh air amidst the toxic stench of the oil and gas industry sycophants who currently occupy our county commission.
In particular, Tresi is correct to point out the bonding crisis that is threatening to railroad Colorado taxpayers with millions of dollars in costs to clean up the industry’s mess. Oil and gas operators know that it is their responsibility to plug wells so that our water and air isn’t polluted once production is finished; we shouldn’t have to use our tax dollars to compensate for the industry’s fundamental mismanagement of their finances.
Unfortunately, Colorado’s problems with irresponsible operators and lax bonding rules do not end at our state’s borders. After having borrowed billions of dollars against tenuous assets and duping investors with dubious financial reports, industry now looks to the federal government for bailouts as historically low oil prices portend bankruptcy for firms throughout the nation — potentially leaving thousands of wells abandoned to spew toxic sludge and carcinogens into our water and air while waiting for taxpayers to foot the clean up bill.
We deserve better. We deserve to breathe clean air and drink uncontaminated water. We deserve to have our hard-earned tax dollars put to work for us instead of the oil and gas industry. We deserve adequate financial assurance that wells will be plugged after production. Let’s join Tresi in her support of the COGCC, and work together to demand that Congress plug abandoned wells across the country, pass strong federal bonding requirements, and hold industry accountable.
Investing in our young people will pay dividends
In light of COVID, Youthentity – along with many nonprofit organizations — worried we faced a future in which we could not serve as many students this year without our annual fundraiser. Last week during our annual (and first virtual) Pig Roast Fundraiser, our worries were assuaged as our network rallied to support youth financial literacy and career development among Colorado’s Western Slope.
Thank you to the businesses and individuals who sponsored this year’s Virtual Pig Roast Fundraiser, and to those who participated in the online auction and raffle and donated to our Five Year Life Plan initiative. Many thanks to those who purchased virtual Super Supporter event tickets, one of which included a direct donation to local restaurants in the form of gift cards. Not only did your donation move to support Youthentity, this virtual ticket also raised over $3,000 for local restaurants – cash that went directly to restaurants’ payroll and operating costs.
We are heartened to know that our community values and appreciates the critical part that financial literacy and career readiness plays in building resilient communities. Investing in our young people will pay dividends as they grow up to be the next generation of business owners, employees and community members.
Wear a mask and keep our economy open
You’re talking about your freedom? Your 1st Amendment rights? Do you seriously want to be like Texas, Arizona, Florida or one of the many states that opened too soon and refuse to wear masks and are now going backwards? Do you want your business shut down yet again because you think your rights are being infringed upon? Who are you going to blame when we are forced back into closing our restaurants, pools and churches again?
Oh yeah, it’s the liberal snowflake governor’s fault that you refuse to do anything to protect yourself or others. Nothing like being able to blame someone else for being ignorant. Please pull your head out, take a breath and put on your mask. You’ll appreciate it when you don’t get sick, make someone else sick and when you work to keep our economy open.
Why can’t we pick own produce at Farmer’s Market?
Can someone explain why the rules designed to protect us from COVID-19 seem extra strict for the farm stands at Garfield County Farmer’s Markets? Since I can freely move around the produce aisle at City Market to select and bag my fruits and vegetables, why can I not do the same at an outdoor produce market? At the Saturday Market in the RFSD district office parking lot (1405 Grand Ave.) the farm stand staff had to pick out the vegetables, put them into a bag and then hand it over to me. I’m fine with their choices, but it does seem odd that we don’t have to do this across the street at City Market. This seems less efficient for shoppers and farmers alike. The experience has left me wondering how this is protecting us from the virus. I can agree to limiting the number of shoppers at one time, wearing a mask and social distancing but allowing zero shoppers into the stand seems like a real hit to the ability of the farmer to sell his produce. I would like to shop for farm fresh fruits and vegetables outdoors this summer; please don’t make the rules so strict that farmers decide to not participate in the markets.
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Kuhlenberg for school board