Letters | Danish wrong again


Danish wrong again

In the opinion piece “Will Colorado come apart?” (Danish Plan, June 13) Mr. Danish states that Vermont seceded from New York to become a state in 1791. That is factually false. Vermont was never one of the original 13 colonies and was never part of New York. It was an independent republic from 1777 to 1791. As a Vermonter I’m proud of this fact. Damn Yankees don’t get loose with “facts.”

Your paper has some of the best investigative journalists anywhere. Mr. Danish is not one of them.

Mr. Danish is an opinion writer who doesn’t let facts get in the way of his opinions. He’s always pursued this course, and as he writes for entertainment as opposed to informing, certainly anything he states as fact cannot be presumed to be true.

Seth Bayer/Boulder

Paul Danish responds: I got my information about which states had been formed by seceding from another state from a news story that appeared in the Christian Science Monitor on June 8, 2013. That article cites the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia as the source of the information that Vermont seceded from New York and became a state in 1791.

After reading your letter I consulted the website of the Vermont Historical Society. I’m afraid Vermont’s history is not exactly as you recall it.

However, the statement that Vermont seceded from New York and became a state in 1791 is misleading. Vermont broke away from New York in 1777, when it became an independent republic. It did not become a state (the 14th state) until 1791. The Christian Science Monitor piece leaves the impression that both events occurred in 1791.

Regardless, your assertion that Vermont was never part of New York is wrong. According to the Vermont Historical Society, in 1764 King George III settled a dispute between New York and New Hampshire by fixing the boundary between the two states as the Connecticut River, which today is Vermont’s eastern border with New Hampshire.

In other words, Vermont was incorporated into the colony of New York by royal decree.

Between 1764 and 1777, New York governed the area that is now Vermont. Or attempted to govern it, because New York quickly encountered a serious snag. It seems that starting in 1741, Benning Wentworth, then governor of New Hampshire, issued land grants and town charters to people who wanted to settle in the Vermont territory, which both New Hampshire and New York claimed at the time. These were called the “New Hampshire Grants,” and by the time New York took over the territory there were about 130 of them.

But when New York took over, it started issuing grants and charters of its own, and crucially, chose not to recognize those that had been issued by New Hampshire. Some of the New Hampshire Grant-holders formed a militia to protect their rights — the Green Mountain Boys, which was organized by Ethan Allen. (It is best known for having captured Fort Ticonderoga at the outset of the Revolutionary War.)

In 1777, Vermont unilaterally seceded from New York and declared itself an independent country, which it remained until 1791, when it joined the United States. It apparently didn’t have much use for New Hampshire either, the New Hampshire Grants not withstanding.

Wrong way to municipalize

Thank you, Dave Anderson (“Renewable energy threatens big utilities,” commentary, June 6) for bringing attention to the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) report “Disruptive Challenges: Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business.”

The key line in the report that Mr. Anderson notes: “The cost of such distributed generation is set to continue falling as more of it is deployed around the world, and ‘could directly threaten the centralized utility model,’ the report acknowledges,” however, it does not coincide with Mr. Anderson’s conclusion that municipalization as Boulder plans it is a pragmatic, cost-effective or intelligent approach to the near future reality described in this EEI report. Boulder’s plan is a retail model, a retail model largely dependent on decades and decades of cheap, fracked natural gas to deal with “peak power” and the intermittency of wind and solar. It is a retail model dependent on $200 million to $500 million in debt to buy the outdated infrastructure. The EEI report foresees the retail model — municipal or private — one tied to large central base loads as going the way of fossil fuels. As Anderson also provides from the EEI report: “One can imagine a day when battery storage technology or micro turbines could allow customers to be electric grid independent. To put this into perspective, who would have believed 10 years ago that traditional wire line telephone customers could economically ‘cut the cord?’”

As someone who will virtually “cut the cord” within the next 12 months, I can assure you that the near future of distributed PV and micro-wind generation, solar thermal, geo-thermal and improved storage will enable the thoughtful to net produce enough electricity to sever the cord with confidence (and a reliable back-up generator). The city’s mistake is not in wanting to meet net-zero goals; it is in the stubborn and short-sighted belief that it must enter the dying retail market to get out in front of the game. The city would be better served partnering with local wind and solar companies to deploy as much local, renewable generation as possible. Instead of issuing municipal bonds to buy outdated lines and poles, the city could enter the solar and wind lease-back business and rapidly deploy community-owned generation. Why spend half a billion to get into a dead model where we have no competency? Let Xcel manage peak loads for the short term and keep their outdated lines and poles. Let’s invest in distributed generation, keep all the money local, be ahead of the time in developing community-based storage and neighborhood back-up facilities.

The EEI report is not pointing toward a retail municipal model, one that relies on the exact same lines and poles and retail market where Xcel plays. It is pointing toward the democratization and cost-effectiveness of distributed local, renewable generation, storage and community, neighborhood or dwelling-based micro-peak-load generation and back-up.

Mark Gelband/Boulder

Frac out of focus

How can an industry be held accountable if the data-collecting site it reports to has loose standards?

A 2013 Harvard Law School study found that flaws in the disclosure site FracFocus are making it practically impossible to hold oil and gas companies realistically accountable. A disclosure site that doesn’t manage the data collected properly is useless, or worse. Thinking FracFocus is a regulatory mechanism of the oil and gas industry is totally misguided. There are no fines for late reporting.

Also, the Harvard study found that there is a risk of some data not being reported because of the “one form applies to all states” approach. How can an industry be held accountable if the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) does not require oil and gas companies to disclose which chemicals are used before they are pumped into the ground? This is part of the updated proposal made by the BLM. How can an industry be held accountable if the governor (i.e. Hickenlooper) works to water down or kill legislation intended to regulate the oil and gas industry? Oil and gas production is expanding rapidly and with lax regulations. People and the environment deserve protection.

The FracFocus problems, weak BLM proposal and politicians who represent oil and gas add up to a wellprotected industry. The only healthy and responsible future lies in more attention to promoting renewable energies.

Joan Peck/Longmont

Hick is no ‘fair witness’

(Re: “The bad news: Hickenlooper is not delusional,” DyerTimes, May 9.) On May 2, Gov. Hickenlooper participated in the FrackingSENSE lecture series at the University of Colorado. There he stated that he wants to be a “fair witness” of oil and gas development (particularly of fracking) in Colorado. A fair witness is an individual trained to observe events and report exactly what he or she sees and hears, making no extrapolations or assumptions. I would venture to say Hickenlooper is anything but a “fair witness” when it comes to fracking.

Consider that he has appeared in paid advertisements for the oil and gas industry claiming that fracking is safe. He has been called a “stud” by oil and gas lobbyists. He intentionally misled a Senate hearing committee and the press with his claims of drinking fracking fluid, which was not the kind of highly toxic and carcinogenic concoction that is routinely used throughout Colorado. He has even sued a local town for imposing a ban on fracking.

Hickenlooper also stated that “if we find unhealthy air quality around a community and something coming out of a well that is an issue, we will put the brakes on faster than you can imagine.” Oh really? NOAA has recently reported air quality in Weld County that is worse than L.A. and Houston, and is directly related to oil and gas activity, yet there is no slow-down there. And a recent gas leak near Parachute allowed a carcinogen to seep into the ground near a large creek that feeds into the Colorado River, and we have yet to hear of any “brakes” being applied.

Another alarming statement that Hickenlooper made is that the science on the impacts of fracking is far from settled; scientists don’t know the impacts of wells on air and how that might impact the health of nearby residents. If this is true, why are we con tinuing to drill, baby, drill? Shouldn’t we be implementing the precautionary principle and putting the brakes on fracking until we know the answers to these important questions? Instead, Hickenlooper’s appointee to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Dr. Urbina, specifically testified against HB 1275, which would have produced a study on health impacts. The fact that our governor is saying one thing but doing the opposite leads me to believe that he is certainly no “fair witness” to fracking, but instead is a colluding representative of the oil and gas industry.

Kate Johnson/Longmont

Working on the railroad

I wonder if anyone interested in bringing rail to Boulder County has considered the right of way of the long-ago Denver-Boulder Interurban transit system?

It’s my understanding that this right of way crosses protected open space. It would take some sort of understanding that this would be a rail line that had no economic development but only a pure mobility function.

It doesn’t appear to me that Boulder is on the burner (front or back), so some sort of thinking “outside the box” needs to take place.

Kevin Sampson/Denver

City took my meds

My friend and I have had uncontrollable epileptic seizures for over 25 years of neurologists, medicines, surgeries and implants.

We found marijuana’s CBD properties to finally be a strong control with little effects. It is the unnecessary THC part that makes you high. There was only one company in all of Colorado that took the time and effort to crossbreed plants to create a plant that produced leaves with very little THC and a large amount of CBD. Boulder shut them down, took their license and burned the plants. In maybe six months our dealer will be out of his stock and we will be back to violent and frequent attacks. It is illegal to bring the product across state lines. Anti-convulsants kill brain cells, destroy stomach linings, block our bones from receiving vitamin D and kill kidneys, livers and us. Violent, uncontrollable migraines and chemical depression. None of these effects are listed on the 2,000 years of recorded use of cannabis. If ignorance is bliss, then our government lives like they are in heaven.

See you on the sidewalk. Sam Inglese/via Internet