Correction: A July 26 Uncensored column, “Mental health care, not gun laws,” incorrectly stated that among the laws believed to have been broken by the suspect in the July 20 Aurora movie theater shootings was that he had acquired an extended magazine for his AR-15. The 100-round magazine was illegal until 2004.
Finley’s poison pill
I read with both amusement and a bit of consternation the article describing Longmont City Council Member Bonnie Finley’s attempt to inject a poison pill onto the November ballot. (“Longmont city council member: Tax people for fracking lawsuit costs,” News, Aug. 9.) She’s apparently so frightened that the charter amendment, The Longmont Public Health, Safety and Welfare Act, will pass and be upheld by the courts that she’s looking for a method to scare the bejesus out of the Longmont electorate. What better way to do this than to start talking about taxes, always a “four-letter word” in Longmont.
Longmont is entitled to a fair election on the issue. Blatant voter manipulation is an abuse of the democratic process. And that’s precisely what Bonnie Finley is proposing. Ms. Finley ought to be ashamed of herself.
The Health, Safety and Wellness Act would prohibit the extremely hazardous process of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) as well as waste injection wells within the city limits of Longmont. Fracking lowers property values, damages taxpayer-funded roads, endangers our health and safety, and contaminates the air we breathe and water we drink. Bonnie Finley wants to derail a citizen effort to keep Longmont a great place to live so that the oil and gas industry can frack next to our homes, schools and Union Reservoir.
The Finley Tax was slipped into discussion during “Mayor and Council Comments” at the July 24 city council meeting. Her position is predicated on her belief that mineral rights owners would be deprived of the property right to access those minerals. Ms. Finley grossly, and probably intentionally, misreads the language of the charter amendment.
The amendment prohibits the extraction method of hydraulic fracking. It does not ban oil and gas drilling by other methods. Owners or lessees of minerals are free to use other methods of acquisition besides hydraulic fracking. They are not being deprived of all economically beneficial uses of their minerals.
Think of the oil and gas industry as a fisherman. When the Longmont voters pass the hydraulic fracking prohibition, they will be effectively saying, “You can’t fish with dynamite. You can buy a rod and reel and go fishing and eat all the fish you can catch by that method. You just can’t blow up the lake because it’s a faster way to get a whole lot more fish.”
The charter amendment is telling the oil and gas industry and their political supporters like Ms. Finley that they can’t access and sell these minerals using an inherently harmful process. Make no mistake, fracking is harmful to children, families, the community and the environment. The evidence keeps mounting, much to the dismay of the oil and gas industry and those people and agencies that facilitate the industry’s wishes.
Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont is made up of people like you and your families, friends and neighbors who believe in Longmont’s quality of life and want to preserve it for ourselves and our children. Please join us by voting for the Public Health, Safety and Wellness Act when you receive your ballot.
Save the dolphins
On June 14, Elizabeth Miller wrote an excellent commentary entitled “Blue Colorado” about the health of our oceans and why landlocked Coloradans should be concerned. She emphasized three critical issues that should trouble us all: problems with fish, plastics and acidification of our oceans. These are extremely relevant issues that must be dealt with in order to secure the survival of our oceans and all marine life. Nevertheless, I would like to propose a fourth issue that sorely begs the world’s immediate attention to ensure not only the health of our oceans, but ultimately, all life on planet Earth.
Every Sept. 1 begins the world’s largest annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan. We are only days away from thousands of dolphins unnecessarily, and brutally, losing their lives. Those who are not killed are captured live and sold to aquariums and marine parks, living out their days in captivity performing circus acts to entertain the public. These practices continue because the International Whaling Committee (IWC) does not offer protection for small cetaceans such as dolphins. As a result, they are rapidly declining in numbers.
Over 20,000 dolphins and other whale species are killed each year by Japan. In Taiji alone, more than 1,500 dolphins are slaughtered every year. Dolphins, an apex predator, are extremely valuable in keeping our oceans healthy, and in balance, by controlling overpopulation of fish.
We Coloradans have an opportunity to stand as one in honoring the lives of thousands of dolphins, and small whales, lost every year to Japanese drive hunts, illegal tuna fishing and naval sonar/munitions training. Please join us for Dolphin Appreciation Day on Friday, Aug. 31, at 11:30 a.m. at the Japanese Consulate, located at 1225 17th St. in Denver.
The Denver rally is being held in conjunction with rallies in over 80 cities worldwide. The date coincides with opening day of the dolphin killing season in Taiji, Japan, the village featured in the film The Cove (Winner of the 2009 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature). The Cove was produced by Boulder nonprofit Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS), who will be in attendance to show their support, along with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (Whale Wars on Animal Planet), Colorado Ocean Coalition, Greenpeace and other ocean conservancy groups.
Dr. Connie Sanchez, ND, Dolphins Magic/Arvada
(Re: “No water for fracking? No problem,” Danish Plan, Aug. 9.) So propane’s no problem for Paul Danish, and he wonders why the rest of us aren’t celebrating?
Perhaps it’s because this so-called “green” alternative isn’t actually an improvement over hydro-fracking.
The liquid propane still needs to be tanker-trucked to the drilling site, combined with toxic and proprietary chemicals and injected deep into the earth.
And yes, propane comes with its own baggage. Re-condensing returned propane for re-use requires industrial condensers, which cause more air pollution. The presence of propane at a well pad adds even more risk to an already extremely dangerous industrial activity that is aggressively expanding into residential areas without regard for human health or safety.
Basic drilling operation issues, like structural integrity of wells and casings, along with leaks, spills, air and groundwater contamination, remain unaddressed.
The only information available about this process comes from GasFrac Services, the Canadian company that developed and markets it commercially. Why bother with scientific studies when there’s a buck to be made?
Fracking with propane isn’t progress. It’s just a hype, like the natural gas industry that spawned it.