Our letters section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.

‘Won’t get fooled again’

Dear Editors,

Last summer, a Mercy Hospital nurse fell seriously ill after treating an oil/gas worker who was “soaked in unknown chemicals.” She was suffering from liver, heart and lung failure in Mercy’s intensive care unit. So-called privacy rules prevented the naming of the oil and gas worker’s employer and shielded the energy company from having to provide any information about the chemicals used in the fields. Like so many horror stories that emanate from the contemporary human condition, one nightmare is superseded the next day by new revelations and preoccupations. Our attention is temporarily diverted.

But on Tues., May 26, an article entitled, “Is the Water Supply for 8 Million People in New York City at Risk,” appeared on Truthdig, a web magazine. It was written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges. In the article, Hedges talked about the chemical pollution and safety hazards involved with natural gas production: “three to five million gallons of water per well mixed with resin-coated sand and a cocktail of hazardous chemicals, including hydrochloric acid, nitrogen, biocides, surfactants, friction reducers and benzene, are used to facilitate the fracturing of the shale to extract gas.” This technology was developed by Halliburton. Over half of the toxic water used in gas production is left underground threatening drinking water supplies while some 35-45 percent is stored above ground in evaporation pits that contain drilling muds and frac’ing fluids. When the pits are closed, they have the potential to become a Superfund site.

TEDX at www.endocrinedisruption.com, based in Paonia,  tracks human health and environmental threats posed by endocrine disruptors, and argues that, in addition to water and land contamination, “each stage of (natural gas) production and delivery, tons of toxic volatile compounds, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, etc., and fugitive natural gas (methane), escape and mix with nitrogen oxides from exhaust of diesel-driven, mobile and stationary equipment to produce ground-level ozone (air pollution).” Diesel-driven trucks often work around the clock hauling condensate water to central evaporation pits. State, local and federal regulations are at best a band-aid of thinly disguised rules and regulations that hold energy producers to little account.  

The nurse who treated the oil and gas worker is back at work. Oil and gas tax revenues play a substantial role in funding our governmental budgets. Julian Darley in his book, High Noon for Natural Gas, notes that natural gas production has already peaked in North America. Gas production in La Plata County has also peaked. Frantic downspacing and natural gas fracturing is a desperate attempt to maintain “higher” levels of gas production in light of the downturn of available gas. In the short term, the trade-off seems plausible: local jobs and tax revenues. The long term, however, may be a nightmare: ill-health and budget deficits. Right now it seems practical to see oil and gas producers as our benefactors. There are over 425 fracturing products that contain 344 chemicals used in natural gas production. Money seems to be a plausible incentive to circumscribe and inhibit environmental oversight and regulation of the natural gas industry.  In a corporate dominated market economy where money is the principle value, public safety will always be a second-class citizen, and as for clean, drinkable water, well there’s always corporate bottled water. No need to worry about watersheds or downstream users.

– Dennis Lum, Durango


Another take on the ‘arts’

Dear anyone who has an opinion on the Durango Arts Center:

As you all know, there has been much confusion about the path of the Durango Arts Center, home to many community arts programs. The National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities definition of art says that the term “arts” includes music, dance, drama, folk art, painting, sculpture, photography, etc. My point is that performing and visual arts are included in this description, which has not been acknowledged in previous articles on the subject of the Arts Center. As a member of the resident group, Ovation, I feel that the performing arts is a lifeline for many of our communities’ children and teens. The Durango Performing Arts Co. is home to roughly 100 kids, who only ask for space to rehearse, a stage to perform upon, and an audience to perform for. This is a small fee to sustain a community necessity. Consequently, the Durango Arts Center has a dance studio and newly renovated theater. So, if I had a “magic paintbrush” people would realize that visual and performing arts can live together under one roof. In the immortal words of Zac Efron (in “High School Musical”), “We’re all in this together!”

– Rosie Schultz, Durango


Of Obama and appeasement

To the Editors:

President Obama is making mistakes impacting our foreign policy.

The Administration tried appeasement when it declared Chavez’s president-for-life referendum was “for the most part … a process that was fully consistent with a democratic process.”

The Administration looked the other way when Russia pressured Kyrgyestan to shut down a valuable U.S. air base.

In Turkey Obama said, “The United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam,” which is true, but he should have stated the U.S. will pursue Islamic terrorists.

The President warned North Korea it would suffer “consequences” if it went ahead with the launch of a long range missile, but North Korea snubbed the U.S. and launched the missile on a 2,000 mile run. Also, North Korea recently restarted its nuclear weapons development program.

President Obama attempted to charm Iran, but Iran’s parliament speaker rebuked our President and told him the U.S. has to acknowledge 60 years of crimes against Iran, change our policies and abandon Israel.

Obama is making reconciliation overtures to Cuba, but Cuba is negotiating to allow Russian warships and aircraft to refuel at Cuban bases; and Russia might be allowed to reopen an electronic intelligence gathering operation in Lourdes.

Appeasing and apologizing (for nothing) to these totalitarian countries is interpreted as groveling weakness by the Administration, and it is jeopardizing our national security.

– Donald A. Moskowitz, via e-mail


Beware of Government Motors

Dear Eds,

Let’s see a show of hands as to how many of you Obama voters will turn in your sticker-laden Toyotas, Hondas, V-Dubs and Subarus for a new Government Motors car. Of course, you’ll buy locally at Morehart/Murphy so that we can count on the sales tax to keep the rec center running at full speed. So what if the widows and orphans were depending on the income from their GM and Chrysler bonds. They never supported Obama with money and get out the vote programs like the United Auto Workers union that now has six times the equity in GM than the bond holders! I take back my letter that said the Obama administration is supporting creeping socialism. It’s not “creeping”  anymore, it’s full speed ahead!

– Dennis Pierce, Durango



In this week's issue...

July 18, 2024
Rebuilding Craig

Agreement helps carve a path forward for town long dependent on coal

July 11, 2024
Reining it in

Amid rise in complaints, City embarks on renewed campaign to educate dog owners

July 11, 2024
Rolling retro

Vintage bikes get their day to shine with upcoming swap and sale