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

Safeguarding a precious resource

Dear Editors,

News that petroleum giant ExxonMobil supports the disclosure of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process associated with oil and gas drilling here in La Plata County and across the West is a significant step in the right direction, and the company deserves a pat on the back for taking this stance.

In the past, industry has been loath to disclose the chemical cocktails that are injected into the ground to help break up rock and release the flow of natural gas. This makes ExxonMobil’s recent announcement even more significant – if this industry giant, which is poised to take over XTO Energy here in southwest Colorado, can unveil the contents of its fracturing fluid, others will hopefully follow suit. As the company noted in a recent Durango Herald article, this disclosure will certainly encourage other companies to use greener chemicals to access natural gas.

Not only can exposure to these chemicals at the drill site prove harmful to people, but throughout the West, these unnatural chemicals have turned up in groundwater. Drinking wells have become polluted and unsafe in areas of Wyoming and here in Colorado. It’s worth it for industry to unveil the contents of its proprietary fracturing fluids if for no other reason than to give health officials a head start in treating illnesses caused by the accidental ingestion of this material.

On a larger scale, this move is good for our most precious resource – our water. Not only is this resource vital to human health, but it’s absolutely needed to maintain healthy fisheries and wildlife populations. The need for cold, clean water is particularly important to native trout, and there have been instances in Colorado4

where drilling and fracturing pose serious threats to indigenous cutthroat trout populations.

As a sportsman, and a representative of Trout Unlimited, I congratulate ExxonMobil for making this gesture, and I encourage all of the operators in our corner of Colorado to do the same.

– Chuck Wanner, president of the Five Rivers chapter of Trout Unlimited.

A prosperous future

To the Editors:

Last Saturday in Silverton, I was unanimously nominated to be the Democratic candidate for State Representative here in the 59th District.

I am honored that citizens from throughout Southwest Colorado have placed their trust in me.

I am running for State Representative because I want to work together with the citizens of Southwest Colorado for a prosperous future. A prosperous future starts with a good job base and a strong economy. Helping to improve our economy will be my first priority in office. I am listening to voters in Southwest Colorado. They have told me that they want a Representative who is fiscally responsible, and who won’t pass debt down to our children or future generations. They want a Representative who cares about the health and education of our citizens, and someone who will be a responsible steward of our natural resources. Most importantly, they want a Representative who will listen well. I have heard you, and I will work hard to represent you and be a strong voice for our communities in Denver.

I ask for your support in this campaign. Let’s work together to bring a prosperous future to Southwest Colorado. Together, we can make Southwest Colorado an even better place to work, live and raise a family.

– Brian O’Donnell, Candidate for State Representative, District 59

A round of applause for DMR

Dear Editors,The employees at Purgatory should get a big grin and lots of thanks for a great season. I was fortunate enough to be on the mountain 80 days this season and was always greeted with smiles. I’ve never been in any business where everyone I encountered was happy and helpful. To all the folks at Durango Mountain Resort – Way to Go!

– Poppy Harshman, Mayday

Don’t forget Whitehead

Dear Editors,

Sen. Bruce Whitehead deserved a BIG THANK YOU from Ellen Roberts in her Sunday article in the Herald, “Clean Air, Clean Jobs.” Yet nowhere does she mention that Whitehead deserves the credit for HB1365. Whitehead and his bill will create more jobs, lower unemployment in Colorado, give back our blue skies, and generate more revenues for state and local coffers. Sen. Bruce Whitehead has put Colorado on the national scene, and yet nowhere does Roberts acknowledge him. Oh yeah! She’s running for his job in the Senate. My vote goes to Sen. Bruce Whitehead, a clear thinker who is protecting Colorado. Thank you Sen. Whitehead, and I sure am glad that you are from Southwest Colorado.

– Sweetie Marbury, Durango

An ode to the dandelion

Dear Editors,

What is soft and yellow, full of good vitamins for your liver, and spreads seeds-a-plenty all summer long? If you’re thinking of a flower … you’re right – it’s the dandelion.

These little guys have a BIG presence in our community. Some folks shame them and call them “weeds.” We proclaim their beauty; this medicine is what we need!  

In fact, we are so grateful for these small wonders blossoming around town, that we decided a festival was the only way to properly celebrate their glory and get down.

Dandelions remind us to go for the gold! They are important for early season bees that are collecting pollen and making yummy honey. This healthy edible is a delectable addition to salads and green smoothies. They benefit our liver and kidneys and make us smile when we blow away the seeds to make a wish.

So, why all the fuss with Dandelion greatness?

Our intention is to collect as many small yellow wonders that have been “chemical-free” for at least three years and have a huge party with Dandelion food, drinks and, of course, dandelion beer.

We are encouraging everyone in the community to gather them by the masses. And if you’re wondering where to show off your display of collected flowers, I’m sure the folks at Turtle Lake Refuge will know exactly what to do with our wild-edible friends. Please bring as many as you can carry. We are preparing for abundance.

Are you getting in the mood to put on your bright colors and join the party? Look for us next month, near Beltane. We’ll be down at Rotary Park on a Saturday, singing songs and uplifting our hearts. Here’s to the honored guests of pure sunlight, Dandy – Lions!

Keep your eyes open for signs of this important event. Feel free to share your love of local wild-edibles with friends and family. And encourage your City Council men and women to keep parks and schools safe and chemical-free for our children.

Here’s to a happy, healthy spring full of colorful delight.

– Calling all Dandelions, Tyler VanGemert, Durango



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows