Letters: 4/6/17

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Disappointed in commissioners

I am gravely disappointed that the Boulder County Commissioners are not following the will of their constituents to ban fracking. Both Longmont and Lafayette citizens already VOTED to ban. Yes, the state government has usurped the power to protect our own local environment and it is undemocratic, illegitimate and immoral to subject our people to the health risks; to subject the land and air to pollution; and push further climate change, just so that more profits can be extracted from the Earth. We won’t stand by while the risk increases for our children to get asthma or leukemia, or be born prematurely or while our natural right to a clean and healthy environment is stripped away from us.

Know that we will not give up, even if the County Commissioners seem to have. Their political powers are supposed to be derived from those very people who voted against fracking — not the Democratic Party, the Colorado state government or the oil and gas industry. They need to take a stand, even if it means lawsuits, and pass the Climate Bill of Rights, guaranteeing our right to a healthy climate and protecting those engaged in direct action to protect our climate from arrest.

Al Gore says, “Fight as though the world depends on it.” It does. Fracking is just the tip of the iceberg. The loss of our community rights to enforce our will for a clean environment is making us a colony of the oil and gas industry in our state. We want to prevent our families from be destroyed by disease, our communities from being repressed by the corporate agenda, our water and air from defilement. We will continue to fight as though the world depends on it.

Terra Rafael/Lafayette

Affordable Care Act saved our business

We have a 20-year-old small business in Rifle. Being surrounded by ski areas, national forests and other tourist destinations, means our cost of living is high and the cost of health insurance for small business owners is higher. Even prior to 2014, few companies were willing to provide insurance options in a low populace rural area, and those that did charged huge premiums for high-deductible, low-coverage policies. At least three of our past insurers left the state, taking years of our premium payments with them. We paid so much that we were on the verge of choosing between our business and health insurance.

During the Bush recession our business, like thousands of others in America, struggled. We considered abandoning our passion for providing clean air and water, as well as alternative energy options, to a community dependent on extractive industry regardless of the hazards to our health and environment. Insurance costs were definitely the deciding factor in whether we would be able to continue our mission, or abandon it in the unlikely hope of finding employment with insurance, at our ages.

The Affordable Care Act came to our rescue in 2014, providing a solution to our dilemma and allowing us to continue to serve our community. We’re still able to offer clean-living options and solar opportunities to our neighbors, local businesses and even our town, which, although surrounded by gas drilling, produces the most solar kilowatts per capita anywhere in the U.S. We’re on our feet since President Obama pulled us back from the economic precipice and provided a realistic insurance option, so we’re very concerned about the future of our business and our ability to afford health insurance should the ACA in it’s current form, disappear. Anyone who says that Obamacare is bad for small business is ignorant of the facts, does not have an  actual small business.

So, thank you again President Obama. We miss your intelligent honest leadership more every passing day.

PJ Breslin and Craig Chisesi/Rifle, CO