Letters: 4/21/16

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Danish BS
Just a note for Mr. Danish in response to his column [Re: “The Donald (a whining loser) and the caucuses,” April 14] on Donald Trump getting ripped off for Colorado delegates: Whatever you said sounds like bullshit to me. You don’t get delegates before the popular vote! Delegates should be apportioned after the people have voted. If Trump gets 52 percent of the vote he should get 52 percent of the delegates. And he gets to pick who they are after the vote.

All that rigmarole you wrote about caucuses, county assemblies, congressional districts, state conventions, blah, blah, is exactly how the system is rigged. I’m no Trump supporter, but support Bernie Sanders who is getting screwed in similar fashion with the Democratic Party “super-delegates.” The times they are a-changing, dude. Sanders and Trump are exposing the corruption in our political system. Your remarks, Mr. Danish, I repeat, are bullshit.
D. Hyde/Longmont

Should mountain bikes be permitted in [designated] Wilderness Areas?
I am a mountain biker, as are many Sierra Club members. We can and do enjoy thousands of miles of dirt roads and trails on local public lands, and millions of miles nationally. Wilderness is a very small percentage of public land. It is critical wildlife habitat, often providing complete ecosystems where wildlife enjoys very rare undisturbed places; though hunting is allowed. Wilderness is also the “untrammeled” source of clean air and clean water for everyone.

The Wilderness Act expressly omits all mechanized recreation. It is one of the few places where humans can also partake of a slower pace of motion that is also far less likely to interfere with wildlife. Wilderness trails are often remote, and it is difficult to maintain these trails with a minimum of technology.

Some mountain biking organizations are advocating for altering or amending the Wilderness Act to allow mountain biking. They haven’t succeeded in Congress thus far. They have also opposed the creation of new wilderness areas in some parts of the U.S. In most cases, compromises have been reached that maintain or create bike access adjacent to new wilderness to accommodate bikers. Mountain bikes are allowed on most National Forest lands and many state parks and local open spaces near wilderness areas. They provide abundant access to the same kind of terrain and aesthetic experiences.

Most mountain bikers are very courteous and respectful of other trail users. A number of mountain bikers like to travel at high speeds that can be startling to hikers, horseback riders, other trail users and wildlife. Bikes often cause severe erosion of trails. There are often insufficient funds to repair and maintain existing mountain bike trails. They are, by their very nature, mechanized means of travel, and incompatible with the concept and implementation of the Wilderness Act.

A recent unscientific poll in the Denver Post showed a slight majority that wanted wilderness areas to allow bikes. It would appear these proponents are well organized.

Please join us in supporting sensible mountain biking on most public lands, but not in [designated] Wilderness Areas.
Alan Apt, Wilderness Chair Sierra Club, Rocky Mountain Chapter

Earth Day
The review of the film Catching the Sun [Re: “Energy Policy is social policy,” April 14] heartened me about efforts to transform our energy system to achieve a green economy. It’s a timely movie to be viewed as we celebrate Earth Day.

It’s good for us to keep a positive outlook as we approach the issue of climate change and work to achieve a sustainable planet.
It is encouraging that members from both sides of the aisle are coming together in the form of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the House.

The purpose of the new caucus, which will be co-chaired by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), is to “explore policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate,” according to a document filed with the Committee on House Administration.

Our good deed for Earth Day can be to contact our Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet and Representative Jared Polis to let them know that we need Congress to pass legislation that puts a steadily rising fee on carbon, and then return that revenue back to households.

This is a bipartisan approach that was championed by former Secretary of State George Shultz. It could cut emissions of CO2 in half within 20 years while adding millions of jobs to the economy, according to a REMI study. (http://citizensclimatelobby.org/remi-report/)

This is a solution that our Colorado Congressmen could easily support. It’s a no-risk “insurance policy” as Shultz would put it.
We celebrate the earth each year, and we are working to achieve a green economy. There are so many different ways that we can work to limit CO2 emissions. Let’s help our government find a way to really honor our planet as we make one more circle round the sun.
Roberta Benson/Boulder

Earth Day, every day
Earth Day — a nice day to recognize, appreciate and extol our home planet. Any of us who pay attention to the changes in our earth’s climate, including the last two years being the hottest on record, know that we need to not only celebrate the earth on this day, but fight for it every day of the year.

Will we be able to wean ourselves from consuming fossil fuels so we can reduce our outpouring of carbon, methane and other greenhouse gases? There’s a plan articulated by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby that would greatly help this problem. A steadily rising fee would be assessed at the sources of fossil fuels. The fees would be collected and returned to all U.S. citizens, making it a revenue neutral system. As a result of this, new sustainable and renewable energy sources would become more competitive. It wouldn’t hurt, of course, to remove some of the outrageous government subsidies and tax advantages that fossil fuel companies receive from the U.S.

The revenue neutral system proposed by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby would reduce carbon levels 50 percent below 1990 levels in just 20 years, according to the Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) study. We need to take significant and dramatic action to stem the tide of rising carbon levels and worldwide temperatures.

Tell Senator Gardner, Senator Bennet, and Congressman Polis to support a revenue-neutral carbon tax. We can all make Earth Day pledges to change our lifestyles to consume less and conserve more, but we need a systematic, country-wide system like the one proposed by CCL to assure that we reduce our carbon footprint every day — and soon. Please see citizensclimatelobby.org/about-ccl/
Kenneth Nova/Boulder

Republicans insult Aurora theater massacre families Recently, Colorado Senate Republicans voted to repeal a bill prohibiting the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines insulted the families and victims of the Aurora Movie Theater Massacre and Columbine. I testified against this absurd and dangerous bill, and I watched in disbelief and disgust as Republicans voted along straight party lines in order to repeal the bill prohibiting large-capacity ammunition in Colorado.

Three Republican Senators, Ray Scott, Jerry Sonnenberg and Owen Hill refused to do their jobs and protect the citizens of Colorado. Democratic Senator Matt Jones of Boulder voted against the bill along with Democratic Senator Ulibarri. This despicable bill was sponsored by Republican senator Vicki Marble. This debacle occurred after one family member after another testified about the slaughter of family members at the hands of a mass murderer using large-capacity ammunition magazines at Columbine and Aurora.

These Colorado Republicans are complicit in murder of Colorado citizens along with the lobbyists from the NRA and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. It is past time to vote all Republicans out of office.
Andrew J. O’Connor/Lafayette

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    @Alan Apt- nope, I’ll support legislative proposals like “Human-Powered Wildlands Travel Management Act of 2015”—that attempt to reverse a 30-year-old US Forest Service ban on Wilderness access for mountain bikes. I like how the plan would remove the blanket prohibition on bikes in federally designated Wilderness areas and instead direct individual land managers to make a decision to allow or not allow bikes. This is not asking for too much, IMO and I feel that it’s reasonable to have local land managers weigh in on the decision.
    I like how you gloss over recent closure of trails—hundreds of miles in large parcels of public land in Montana and Idaho that were designated as Wilderness over the past two years—and threats of closure elsewhere to trails that have long allowed bike access commenting, “In most cases, compromises have been reached… ” Thus, the paragraph below on getting “organized.”
    I had to laugh when you mention how “well organized” the proponents are, kinda like the Sierra Club, eh Alan? Mountain bikers ARE becoming more organized and also aging into a demographic that votes and can put their money where their mouth is. Time to share public lands with a user group that has been proven to give back with hours of volunteer time doing trail maintenance.