Letters: 5/17/18

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On Alden Global Capital and local media

The callousness of Alden Global Capital for their bottom line has been a blow to journalism. As a subscriber to the Denver Post since we moved here almost five years ago, I have accepted the almost double cost of the newspaper because I want to be well-informed.

The local news and sports is a big reason (we don’t watch local news on TV) but the firing of 30 percent of the staff is way too much. We get Boulder Weekly for county news and subscribe to the Lyons Recorder for the local news. The statewide perspective comes from the Post.

Now, reading of the Boulder Daily  Camera and Longmont Times-Call being downsized by the same owners is a blow to journalistic integrity. I don’t subscribe to either paper but as a journalism major in college and former editor of our newspaper, I recognize that the sanctity of the “fourth estate” is paramount to our keeping the leaders/government in check (or being honest).

I know that we need to contribute to public radio and television to keep us ad-free or pay for content in the form of paying for the Washington Post or New York Times is necessary, and I’m willing to do that to provide good journalism.

I’m in a dilemma. Should I protest the cuts to the staff of the Denver Post by cancelling my subscription? The Post provides state news (I get the Washington Post online with my subscription but I would be willing to pay for that or the New York Times for national/international coverage if I cancel my Denver Post subscription).

It appears that the endgame for the Alden group is to maximize profits despite the human cost and honest journalism and unless a Jeff Bezos comes through with purchasing the depleted Denver Post in a fire sale, (which maybe needs to happen) what can we as consumers do?

Thankfully, Boulder Weekly is independent and hopefully will remain free of the hedge funds and oil/gas industry.

Ken Singer/Lyons

Longmont legalizes fracking

On Tuesday night, I witnessed the Longmont City Council subvert their citizens’ repeated requests to keep fracking out of Longmont and Boulder County. Nineteen of the 20 speakers protested the fracking measure, which allows open space surrounding the Union Reservoir to be fracked by approximately 80 wells. The fracking plan actually includes drilling under Union Reservoir — a secondary water supply to the city and a popular recreation area. Citizens requested a public forum be held and asked for additional time to review the measure (it had only been released to the public last Thursday). Limited to 3 minutes of testimony each and without being able to ask questions, council heard pleas from nurses, parents, students and others, who cited health and safety concerns as well as the impact of pollution and worsening climate change. Ignoring its constituents, council sided with oil and gas interests in an underhanded move. To appease the public, council pulled the measure off the regular “Consent Agenda.” But after most citizens left the meeting, council brought the measure back and legalized fracking with a unanimous vote. Many cited that “it was the best deal they could get,” but Longmont mayor Brian Bagley and the entire council ignored the fact that as of March 2017, the Martinez case was upheld by the Colorado Court of Appeals. 

That case began in November 2013 when Martinez and a group of other teenagers asked that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission not issue new permits “unless the best available science demonstrates, and an independent third party organization confirms, that drilling can occur in a manner that does not cumulatively, with other actions, impair Colorado’s atmosphere, water, wildlife and land resources, does not adversely impact human health and does not contribute to climate change.”

Of course the case is being appealed by oil and gas interests at the Colorado Supreme Court — but unless they win, our government should not have to allow fracking into our state without meeting these requirements. Fracking is not “proven safe.” In Weld County (home to 50,000 oil wells), the infant mortality rate is twice as high as Larimer and Boulder Counties.

In July 2017, the Denver Post calculated that in the previous four years the oil and gas industry has spent $80 million “to influence elections and policy in the state.” Our elected officials are submitting to the oil and gas industry without a fight. Lafayette City Council is poised to legalize fracking in June. There are currently 1,800 wells already planned in Boulder County. If you are interested in seeing where these wells are proposed, go to www.eastbocounited.org. It is time to get educated and do our part to slow climate change.

Eric Tussey/Boulder