Wednesday letters: Oil wells, commissioners, Boebert vs. Mitsch Bush, immigrants, Boebert, Will, and Amendment B
Orphaned oil wells are liabilities
It is about time that someone did something about the orphaned oil wells that scar our state. These aren’t just eyesores; they’re liabilities. It’s happened hundreds of times across Colorado: a company drills a well, extracts resources from our public lands, and then walks away, leaving an uncapped well spewing toxic pollution that we taxpayers have to pay to clean up. We get the pollution, we get sick, and we get the bill because the companies who drilled weren’t required by law to pay enough in bonds up front to cover the costs. Those are the results of a broken oil and gas system with bonding rates set more than sixty years ago.
And this is only getting worse during the recent oil glut and economic decline caused by COVID-19. But we don’t have to let this antiquated system rip us off. Thankfully, someone gets that. A bill just introduced by Sen. Michael Bennet would provide funding to clean up these wells now while also raising federal bonding rates so that our children are not dealing with the same problem in the future.
Now, we just need the rest of the Senate to get on board. Orphaned oil wells are a stain on Colorado’s iconic public lands — and on lands across the country — and every Senator should recognize the need to act. There is no excuse for any more delay because there is a solution on the table that would address this crisis right now. I hope Sen. Bennet’s colleagues realize this and act swiftly to pass his legislation.
Commissioners fighting for Western Slope residents
The drilling is pretty much over in Garfield County, perhaps forever because of market conditions and new technologies. The energy industry has invested billions of dollars drilling thousands of wells and building expensive infrastructure over the past couple of decades in Garfield County. The taxes from these wells have built fire stations, schools, libraries, medical facilities, and much more. These taxes also pay the salaries for the folks who work in these facilities, such as teachers, librarians, firefighters, nurses, and many, many more. The drilling is in decline, but these existing wells can continue to bring in millions of dollars in taxes to the county for many more years to come, perhaps decades. The impacts of building roads and pads, drilling, fracking and flaring these wells are over. These wells are already drilled, they are routinely inspected, they are safe, and they also provide high paying jobs to the families that work in the energy industry.
Garfield County has been recognized nationally for its management of the energy industry, and has even developed its own air quality monitoring (in addition to what the state and feds do); we have great air quality in Garfield County. Unfortunately, the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission is creating regulations for the Front Range, where they do have air problems, that will apply to the Western Slope. This one-size-fits-all approach will make Western Slope wells un-economic and all these valuable wells that are bringing in millions of dollars annually to Garfield County coffers will be turned off permanently. The Garfield County commissioners have challenged these regulations because losing all this revenue will be disastrous to our community. I want to thank our county commissioners for their wisdom and courage for standing up for Garfield County in challenging these regulations. They are fighting for thousands of Western Slope residents who will be devastated by the loss of services, jobs and the economic destruction caused by the new regulations.
Colorado’s Congressional District 3: What’s at stake
I am a student, a naturalist, and public land worshipper. As a young voter concerned about the climate crisis and our imperiled biosphere’s future, I am deeply disturbed by the policies (or lack thereof) of Congressional District 3’s (CD3) candidate Lauren Boebert, and impressed by the policies advocated by candidate Diane Mitsch Bush.
Diane Mitsch Bush, Boebert’s challenger, supports solutions that include transition policies for individuals employed in traditional fossil fuel industries. Transition strategies keep employees employed while protecting the health and welfare of all the residents of CD3. According to the World Resources Institute, investment in the renewable energy sector generates three times more jobs than the fossil fuel industry. In that regard, Mitsch Bush opposes a proposed natural gas pipeline called Jordan Cove that will transport Colorado’s resources to Asian markets and expose communities to pollutants and spills during extraction, storage and transport. Boebert speaks of Mitsch Bush’s plan to strengthen renewable energy as “outsourcing our energy to communists in China” while Boebert supports the pipeline. Excuse me, but where is the Jordan Cove pipeline headed, again?
As a current student who believes in the value of education to my generation and future generations, I think it is appropriate that my representative stands up for public education and lowers college student loan debt. Unlike candidate Boebert, Mitsch-Bush has a proven record of defending public education in the Colorado House of Representatives. Mitsch Bush wisely, and with a view to our future, vows to fight for students and teachers and against predatory student lenders while in the U.S. Congress. I shudder to think of a potential representative, Boebert, who claims unapologetically that there “shouldn’t even be a Department of Education.” What college did Boebert attend?
Spread the word, volunteer, vote. We have a great deal at stake and a great candidate who is experienced and wants to represent us.
Soleil Skye Gaylord
Help change the course of this country
I am not an immigrant. Most of my family has been in this country for generations. Some of them were probably decent, some despicable; some may have had slaves. In fact, I have proof that an ancestor came over on the second crossing of the Mayflower. I wonder how many of the Native Americans they wiped out, on purpose or with disease? All of which is irrelevant, except that I am sick of listening to Trump bash immigrants and his skewed opinion of who is an American.
In a recent tirade in Minnesota, where President Trump targeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), he intimated that his supporters constitute “our” country and that the opposition’s voters are simply not entitled to legitimate political representation.
He warned of the dangers of allowing refugees to resettle in Minnesota. Omar, who is a U.S. citizen, arrived in the United States as a child after her family fled war-torn Somalia.
Please, thinking people of western Colorado, change the course of this country. Get Biden and Harris in, switch the Senate with Hickenlooper, and keep the U.S. House of Representatives with so very qualified Diane Mitsch Bush. Maybe then I’ll stop having bad dreams.
Boebert needs to come out of the shadows
Pistol-packin’ Shooters Grill owner Lauren Boebert is running for Congress against Steamboat Springs Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush. Boebert recently sent me a letter soliciting my support for her campaign.
Boebert writes that she is PRO-FREEDOM, PRO-GUNS, PRO-CONSTITUTION, PRO-ENERGY, PRO-LIFE, PRO-COLORADO, AND PRO-AMERICA. She supports President Trump “100 percent.” She calls Democrats “left-wing lunatics” and uses buzzwords like “socialized medicine,” “AOC,” “the liberal media,” and “Nancy Pelosi” to discredit her opponent. She makes no mention of climate change or health care.
No place in her four-page letter does she single out a single specific program that, if elected, she would oppose or support.
So what, exactly, would Boebert do if elected? We know she owns a restaurant, has four boys, and has had a few run-ins with the law. She likes guns and fries up a mean pork slider. But the United States Congress is a pretty big step for a political newcomer. Why should we elect someone with no political experience? Only Ms. Boebert can answer that. She pulled out of the Club 20 debate when she was told she wouldn’t have access to the questions beforehand. She has not made herself available to participate in a debate hosted by the Pueblo Chieftain or a forum put on by the League of Women Voters.
In order to make an informed choice, voters need more than sound bites and a professed fervent devotion to the president. Ms. Boebert needs to come out of the shadows and face not just her supporters, but her opponent.
Will is honest and transparent
It’s rare these days to turn on your TV, get your mail or look at just about any form of social media without seeing one politician bashing another or a political action committee representing either party informing us how despicable a given candidate is. It is even rarer to have a candidate like Perry Will, a man who still believes that a promise or a handshake is as good as any contract. A man who believes that being honest and transparent is what good governance is all about.
As the former chair of the Colorado Wildlife Commission, It’s heartwarming to see that someone you have known and worked with for 20-plus years has not changed his values or integrity upon being appointed to represent HD 57 in the Colorado Legislature. During my tenure as a Wildlife Commissioner and as a trustee for Great Outdoors Colorado, I’ve had the pleasure to experience firsthand the results when Perry was given the task to work with a number of interest groups to achieve bipartisan results and a positive outcome, a positive outcome that most often benefited the resource we all hold dear, Colorado’s wildlife. Although the 2020 legislative session was fairly abbreviated I watched Perry use those same skills to achieve positive results for the State of Colorado and all residents in Garfield County. It would be my hope that the voters in Garfield County continue to allow Rep. Will to serve in our legislature, to tirelessly work toward making Colorado a better place for us all.
Vote ‘yes’ on Amendment B
Amendment B was referred to the ballot by the Colorado legislature with strong bipartisan support. It would repeal the Gallagher Amendment (which was added to the Colorado Constitution in 1982). Gallagher penalizes rural schools, hospitals and fire departments and forces our local small businesses to shoulder an increasing share of property taxes.
Colorado currently has one of the lowest residential property tax rates in the country, and passing Amendment B freezes the residential property tax rates at their current levels. This means that the current residential property tax rate will remain in place for homeowners and the only way the rate can increase is by a vote of the people.
I strongly encourage you vote “yes” on Amendment B.
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