Letters to the editor
Ursa takes right steps
Ursa Resources Co. is seeking Garfield County approval of its plan to drill 53 gas wells on two drill pads, as well as a wastewater injection well, and about two and one-half miles of gas pipeline in the Battlement Mesa PUD. This is only Phase 1 of the plan. Ultimately, it appears their plans will include five or more well pads, more injection wells and more pipelines. This work will include drilling, fracking, completion and production at these pads to harvest natural gas from the more shallow strata of gas producing shale. Eventually they will return to the PUD to drill for the gas in the deeper strati. Such heavy industrial operations are clearly not compatible with a residential community and will depress the community for the long term.
The two drill pads proposed in phase 1 pose a serious threat to the homes located upslope from them. These are the same steep, tinder-dry slopes that burned in the late 1990s and destroyed or damaged several homes. Children playing with matches at the base started the fire. A fire here will move swiftly up the slope, especially if aided by Battlement Mesa’s frequent strong upslope winds. The threat of ignition and other hazards is real. For example, the Grand Valley Fire District responded to 16 fire and explosion incidents, 27 vehicle accidents and nine hazardous materials incidents within the district between Jan. 1, 2004, and Oct. 4, 2009. The Rifle Fire District responded to 423 incidents involving the gas industry including 53 fires and explosions and 111 hazardous materials incidents between Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 9, 2009. Should this really be in our neighborhood — near our homes?
Harvesting our natural gas resources is an inherently dangerous and risky operation despite best management practices and multiple safety precautions. It should not be allowed in a residential community such as Battlement Mesa. I urge our county commissioners to protect us from these risks by disapproving Ursa’s application. Please do not relegate Battlement Mesa to Garfield County’s throwaway community.
Marijuana fear mongering
After reading Norman Feck’s letter about the evil effects of pot legalization, I was reminded of an old sit-com character, Archie Bunker. The late Carol O’Conner’s portrayal was full of euphemisms and ignorance which he brashly displayed, usually sans logic.
Archie and Norm subscribe to what I call the “Killer Weed Mentality.” Back in the ‘50s, our government disseminated false information about marijuana and hemp. This was done to protect the paper and petrochemical industries from competition with hemp while dissuading our youth with lies from sampling this new “sin.” The term “gateway drug” was coined by one of Nixon’s minions for a sound bite in Tricky Dicky’s war on drugs. There is no scientific proof of this claim.
Now Norm says he knows pot is to blame for crime in the valley because when rain is falling from dark skies and his boots are muddy he knows it is raining no matter what those stoner weathermen predicted. Good metaphor, so deep. Out of civility I won’t say what it’s deep in.
But Norman is way funnier than Archie Bunker because Norm is actually serious. The drugs the DA and police chief were referring to were meth and coke and heroin, not pot. The time for killer weed ignorance has passed, time to join the 21st century.
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Newly hired Rifle Police Officer Kalob Foreman refers to the feeling as getting “Monday-morning quarterbacked to death.”