Wednesday letters: Oil & gas emissions, Wilhelm and water, and U.S. Postal Service

GHG Emissions Control in Garfield County

I sent the following comment to the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission in advance of their August 20 rulemaking hearing:

I’m from Garfield County. Senate Bill 181, which granted the authority to regulate the oil and gas industry to local governments, was no boon to our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in this county.

The Garfield County government is opposed to any regulations on the industry. They believe the county’s financial viability is dependent on oil and gas. As I’m sure you know, they’re spending $1.5 million of the taxpayer’s money on a lawsuit accusing the AQCC of regulatory overreach in your attempts to control emissions.

Their argument is the West Slope doesn’t have the air quality problems the Front Range has, so shouldn’t be restricted to the same standards. It’s true, we don’t have the inversions they have on the Front Range and Grand Junction, but that doesn’t mean our oil and gas operations aren’t emitting just as much GHG’s. For the sake of the climate, Garfield County needs emissions controls just as stringent as the rest of the state.

Colorado isn’t on track to meet the GHG emissions goals set forth in House Bill 1261. We have no fracking ban and this process contributes 40% of this state’s GHG emissions.

As more and more oil and gas companies go bankrupt, orphaned wells leaking massive amounts of methane have yet to be addressed by your commission. The industry should post a bond before drilling to ensure there’s enough money to clean up their mess after they’re gone and the taxpayers don’t get stuck with the bill.

This is no time to back off from regulation or be intimidated by litigation. It’s time to double down.

Anyone wishing to make comments on AQCC rulemaking before their August 20 hearing may do so at

Fred Malo Jr.,

Wilhelm will make our water privileges a priority

With the recent wildfires in the Roaring Fork Valley, as well as the frighteningly large Pine Gulch Fire to the west, we have all been reminded that we live in a high desert climate. Our summers can be incredibly dry, and with the lack of rainfall, our rivers and streams become immeasurably important to the survival of our communities.

As the quality of our water supply, as well as electric supply from the Shoshone power plant, is threatened by the Grizzly Creek Fire, I’ve been thinking about what needs to be done to maintain our water rights. On top of the obvious essential need for water from our rivers, so many members of our communities rely on the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers for their livelihoods — tourism based industries like commercial rafting, fishing guide services, and hot springs pools could all be in jeopardy if we do not protect our waters.

One thing that our community can do to help further the conversation about environmental concerns and water use rights is to elect local representatives who will make these things a priority. This is a huge reason why I will be casting my November ballot for Colin Wilhelm to represent Colorado House District 57. Colin has made it clear that the intricacies of understanding and fighting for our water privileges is one of his highest priorities. Given the fire dangers and environmental concerns currently happening, I feel it is extremely pressing that our communities be represented by someone who understands, as Mr. Wilhelm does, that this issue is paramount.

Caitlin Kennett
Glenwood Springs

U.S. Postal Service is a service and deserves our support

There has been much comment, with opposing views, on the U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”).

What is missing on both sides of the debate is the importance of the last word in the name of the agency — “service.”

Like a fire service, or an ambulance service, or a mountain rescue service, the Post Office is intended to “serve” the public and is not intended as a profit-making agency.

 A letter is delivered from Key West, Florida, to Cutbank, Montana, for 50 cents. Moreover, the Post Office is often the only means of written and package communication to hundreds of small communities throughout the nation. (Which FedEx, DHL and UPS do not serve at all, or will charge you a small fortune for the exception.)

USPS management itself tries for more efficiency, like no Saturday home delivery or closing excess offices which are proximate to others, but are met with refusal by the Congress! Indeed, the USPS regularly asks for such relief and is rebuffed for political reasons.

Privatization is not the solution to all ills. The Post Office is a service, and a very good one, and deserves our support.

And it is critical in times of emergency, such as now, and in facilitating maximum participation in voting.

James DeFrancia
Steamboat Springs

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