Letters: 10/4/18

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Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

On Kavanaugh

Honesty requires astute scrutiny of anyone who would aspire to hold a high position. Can dishonest people apply such scrutiny? We have difficulty when we aim to summon scrupulous behavior into being, to be sure. And we should not necessarily define a person by his or her past. But to cheapen the human dignity of those who would offer their own sorrows on the altar of public opinion, in order to at least point to the goal of a greater good, is unjust at best and tragic at worst.

The Kavanaugh “matter” matters. The highest bench in the land is no place for dilettantes or debasers or drunkards. Now I am far from perfect; without doubt the justices sitting on the Supreme Court are also flawed. But there are qualitative differences in the influences that mar a reputation. Rubbing over these with polish does nothing to improve the judicial gene pool on its own.

There was a time when Congresspersons and, probably, even justices would be given a ride home by a peace officer who stops people for observed traffic offenses. Such mercy tends to do little or nothing for maintenance of the high moral ground we hope would be tended and treasured by those who must speak for all of us, decide for the generations, weigh the sustainability of our republic.

We gain nothing by adding another ideologue (idiot-logue?) to a court where three or four such already reside. Most of the time we might learn something of the quality of character of a nominee from the quality of character of the one who nominates. On that score, I admit that the Kavanaugh nomination certainly overshadows that of Clarence Thomas, whose record over the past quarter century or so has not, fortunately, been terrible.

Can we be so lucky for the next 25 years? I admit: I am afraid — very afraid — for our country. It is extremely difficult to get the darkness that has been released over the past two decades or more back into its bottle. And all too easy to let the same out. We can make progress by shining light. To do that we must bring the light.

Have we any?

Gregory Iwan/Longmont

Yes on 112

Colorado Proposition 112 “Safer Setbacks” is simple, direct and clear. It mandates a buffer zone of 2,500 feet between fracking operations and homes, schools and water sources.

Safer Setbacks seem sensible to me. Local incidents, research and personal experience continue to raise stronger and stronger concerns about the dangers of fracking operations. With the current administration’s actions and plans for relaxing multiple national regulations designed to protect our health, it seems that business benefits are valued above the health of our people and our land. We have a chance in this election to pass the safer setbacks initiative to protect ourselves in Colorado and to set an example for other states at risk. 

I believe in the precautionary principle that “when an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures must be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not yet scientifically fully established.”

This is the common-sense idea behind many wise sayings: “Be careful.” “Better safe than sorry.” “Look before you leap.” “First do no harm.”

Let’s decide that Colorado should be safer rather than sorrier. Vote yes on Proposition 112.

Dr. Cedar Barstow/Boulder

Weiser is best pick

     I am voting for Phil Weiser for Attorney General this year. Phil is far and away the best candidate running for this position. Phil’s record of leading complex litigation to protect consumers at the U.S. Department of Justice, managing teams of dozens of lawyers to get rural broadband to first-responders, and serving as dean and chief executive of the University of Colorado Law School shows he’s got just the right kind of background for the job.

I have worked with Phil at the University of Colorado and can testify to his integrity, excellent leadership, outstanding problem-solving skills and commitment to protecting the rights of others. He is the real deal.

I hope you will join me in voting for Phil Weiser for Colorado attorney general.

Don Grant/CU Boulder Professor of Sociology

Protect our water supply via 112

According to a recent Denver Post article (Sept. 16, 2018), while the combined river storage in the Colorado River reservoirs is at 47 percent of capacity, the Blue Mesa Reservoir west of Gunnison is only 39 percent full.  Overall, reservoir storage statewide is at 82 percent, which is considered to be half full, according to federal data.

Nonetheless, since water is a sine qua non for every type of life, all efforts must be galvanized to carefully utilize, monitor, and care for this precious resource. 

Fracking uses, and wastes, exceptionally huge amounts of water.  Approximately, 4.6 billion gallons of fresh water are consumed each year in Colorado. Each fracked well uses at least two to five million gallons. Half of that water comes back up, and is permanently and lethally contaminated by the toxic chemical stew used in the process. This malignant fluid (known as “produced water”) is typically disposed of in underground injection wells. In 2015 alone, Colorado injected more than 27 billion gallons of such poisonous wastewater into the ground, thereby forever removing that water permanently from the Earth’s water cycle.

In addition, those very wells, along with all the well holes themselves, erode after time. When those wells fail, Colorado’s groundwater and aquifers are at risk for injurious contamination, making even that water unfit for human consumption and agricultural use.

Besides those largely unseen leaks into groundwater and aquifers, there were 619 documented spills in Colorado in 2017: 93,000 gallons of oil into soil, groundwater and streams; 506,000 gallons of produced water, including direct flows into waterways.  Also, according to the COGCC website itself, among the more than 5,000 registered spills in recent years, 43 percent contaminated groundwater.

Proposition 112, Safer Setbacks, will help protect our long-term fresh water supply. Please vote yes.

Tom Stumpf/Longmont