Wednesday letters: Oil and gas permits, and bald eagle preserve |

Wednesday letters: Oil and gas permits, and bald eagle preserve

Stop permitting now

Eighty-seven oil and gas drilling permits have been issued by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission since the passage of Senate Bill 181 in April. That legislation changed the priority of the COGCC from promoting the oil and gas industry to protecting public health, safety, welfare, the environment and wildlife, and the rules are still being written.

The new permits come despite pleas from community, environmental, and climate groups for moratoria on drilling and fracking until the new rules are in place sometime next year. The permits being approved now are under the old rules which have been deemed to provide unsatisfactory safeguards.

What is it about leave it in the ground the COGCC doesn’t understand? Colorado’s air quality is three times worse than Beijing’s and we haven’t met federal standards for decades.

Are you still working in the industry and concerned about your job? You should be. Like typical American businessmen, your employers have failed to anticipate changing market conditions and written a business plan that calls for the company to make money the way they always have.
It’s time to move on; to renewable energy, to tourism, to hemp, to anything with a future. Join us in bringing this destructive industry to a halt and call for the COGCC to withhold permits until, at least, the new protective rules are in place.

Fred Malo Jr.

Preventing shared land with eagles along Crystal River is nonsensical greenwashing

We are now entering the time of year when public lands are “closed” to hikers and other non-motorized, non-hunting recreationists for the alleged protection of wildlife, based on the political power of people whose extreme concern for the welfare of wildlife is like “helicopter parenting” of children.

One example concerns the area along the Crystal River in Carbondale that was established as a “Bald Eagle Preserve” as a condition of the creation of the River Valley Ranch planned community. This “preserve” was left in essentially its natural, heavily vegetated condition. The key to protecting all species of wildlife is to preserve “cover” consisting of natural vegetation and rugged terrain features. In evolving survival instincts over the millennia — threatened by predators much more lethal than people hiking down a trail — wild animals have become amazingly adept at using cover to avoid real and perceived threats.

Eagles have made a wonderful comeback over the past several decades because of prohibitions on hunting them and on the use of persistent pesticides such as DDT. I love to observe eagles as well as other wildlife, and I have never seen any evidence of their being disturbed by my presence, and have visited numerous places where they nest in towns and other areas open all year to the general public.

In the case of the “Bald Eagle Preserve” in Carbondale, the only eagles there are ones that occasionally fly through, searching for fish in the Crystal River. So, unless they are a subspecies that is more “sensitive” to humans than their cousins elsewhere throughout North America, preventing people from sharing the land along the Crystal River with them is one more example of nonsensical, feel-good greenwashing. Carried to this ridiculous extreme, other areas of Carbondale should be “closed” to outsiders, to protect the ”critical habitat” of that most “sensitive” of species — the left-winged loon.

Carl Ted Stude

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