Monday letters: Brit perspective, Midland fencing, crude trains, RiverFEST, housing, Boebert

C’mon, Yanks, fix it

As a Brit, I am dumfounded by you Yanks. There are three main reasons that Americans own guns: for hunting, for target shooting (both hobbies) and for self-defense.

As a ham radio operator and fisherman, my hobbies require that I obtain licenses, follow rules and pass exams (for ham radio, which has never killed anyone). Many activities are regulated. Driving, flying a plane, even giving financial, medical or legal advice requires a license, tests and regulation.

But guns require none of this. Guns killed 45,000 people in the U.S. in 2020, 15 times the number killed on 911. Yet the epidemic of gun violence gets no response from government at any level. Only a handful — a pittance — of these deaths involve people defending themselves. Why do we trade this pittance for 45,000 annual deaths? Children, victims or inadvertent perpetrators. Spouses, killed in the heat of arguments. Suicides, which comprise half of gun deaths, are quick, easy and painless with guns. Would suicides go down if guns were less available? Of course they would.



And then there are assault weapons. What is the place for semiautomatic military weapons in the hands of nonmilitary or non-law enforcement personnel? They are useless for hunting, redundant for target shooting and overkill (pun intended) for self defense. Operational artillery pieces and machine guns are not allowed in private hands. Why should these weapons of war be allowed?

It’s time to ban assault weapons, license guns and establish prerequisites before a license is issued. Just like other hobbies.



The 400 million guns in America make this daunting but not impossible. The DOT, FAA and AMA license drivers, pilots and doctors. Expand the ATF or FBI to address qualifications and gun licensing. 

City staff go ballistic writing regulations after a serious injury at the farmers market, yet no one addresses the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

In Britain, it took just one school shooting to pass major gun control laws. Britain now averages about 30 gun deaths annually, not 45,000. Get it right, America. You went to the moon. You can fix this. 

Richard Todd, Glenwood Springs

Midland eyesores

I’ve been in town a little over 30 years and watched a few changes. The last couple of years watching the Midland improvement between 27th Street and Four Mile has been quite an interesting journey. Final touches have been installed in the last couple of weeks, which had me a little puzzled. 

Who signed off on the fence design between 27th and Four Mile Road on Midland? The mishmash of fences destroyed the project in the final phase. 

I would hope somebody would take a second look at how they finish this project. Four different fences along the stretch plus the rock impact wall has made it an eyesore.

Ron Myers, Glenwood Springs

Crude trains threaten Colorado

The lifeblood of the American Southwest is the Colorado River. It supplies 40 million people with irrigation, drinking water, hydropower and recreation.

This vital artery is threatened by a plan by Houston-based Drexel Hamilton Infrastructure Partners and Rio Grande Pacific Corp. to ship 5 billion gallons per year of extremely viscous crude oil by rail from the Uinta Basin in northeast Utah to the Union Pacific line in Grand Junction, along the Colorado River, through Glenwood Springs and Glenwood Canyon, and on to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

This stuff is so thick it has to be transported in heated rail cars that can keep the material above 100 degrees Fahrenheit or it will congeal into a solid mass. It’s even nastier than the Alberta tar sands, which, unfortunately, can be transported through pipelines.

Can you imagine what a carload of this gunk would do to the mighty Colorado if it spilled into the river? Glenwood Canyon has a history of wildfires and resultant mudslides. A simple derailment could turn into a major disaster.

Environmental groups and governments like Eagle County have opposed this plan and filed lawsuits, but recently the Forest Service approved it despite a memo from the heads of the Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service to “address the climate crisis.” How is adding the Uinta Basin crude to the fossil fuel mix going to do that? Analysts say it’ll increase our national greenhouse gas emissions by 1%.

A few years ago, Ursa Resources wanted to drill an injection well 50 feet from the Colorado River and the Battlement Mesa PUD’s fresh drinking water supply. Injection wells drive wastewater, brine and chemicals into geologic formations below.

Don’t tell me these corporations are patriotically seeking to achieve energy independence for America. We’ve been a fossil fuel exporter since 2011. Like most enterprises in this capitalist society, they’re out for the almighty buck, and if 40 million people suffer the consequences, that’s collateral damage.

Those who oppose the rail line can file another lawsuit, and there are still suits pending in Utah and Washington. What you can do is contact the Forest Service and express your outrage at their decision on the Uinta Basin rail line.

Fred Malo Jr., Carbondale

Celebrate rivers at RiverFEST

Like many mountain communities, rivers shape every aspect of our daily lives in the Roaring Fork Valley. Luckily, the rivers in our community have numerous hardworking nonprofit and local government advocates with a mission to protect and enhance our essential water resources.

In Glenwood Springs, the River Commission is a volunteer group of residents with a passion for our rivers and the resources they provide: recreation, water supplies, ecosystems and an intrinsic natural value. The River Commission has several duties, including celebrating our annual river cleanup and engaging the community with awareness of issues facing our rivers. The River Commission also works alongside our City Council, city staff, other volunteer commissions such as Parks and Recreation, and local nonprofits such as Roaring Fork Conservancy and Middle Colorado Watershed Council to plan and promote events aimed at education and advocacy for our rivers.

Aug. 13 is our annual RiverFEST, a river cleanup day where volunteers can float or walk the rivers through the city to pick up trash and debris followed by a celebration at Two Rivers Park with music, food, beverages and prize giveaways for all cleanup volunteers. The celebration is thanks to our sponsors including Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Iron Mountain Hot Springs, and other local businesses. Visit cogs.us/riverfest to register. Volunteering for the cleanup is not required to attend the celebration, but a donation is requested if you would like to join us to enjoy the food or beverages.  

The River Commission also hosts annual river restoration planting days on city-owned properties such as Two Rivers and Veltus parks and hosts educational webinars with experts from our valley and beyond, covering topics from river ecology to post-fire impacts on water quality/fish habitat, city water conservation efforts, and water efficient landscaping. 

For more on what we’re up to, stop by our public meetings the first Wednesday of every month at 7:30 a.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall. Thanks!

Chip Fisher, city of Glenwood Springs River Commission

Affordable for whom?

“Affordable housing” is a phrase I hear or see all the time. It comes up in newspaper articles, public meetings, and any discussion with anyone about current affairs. Often attached is a phrase like “desperately needed.” Usually there is some great problem this solves; like commuter and general traffic, or provide needed employees to businesses, or house necessary workers like cops, bus drivers, nurses or teachers. Aspen-
Pitkin County has one of the country’s leading programs for their size with around 3,000 units. 

But hold on — 3,000 units and there are still not enough? Build and build and still not enough? Why not?

Two big reasons. First, affordable housing is itself a growth generator. And second, the constant increase in the business sector is the primary cause of growth. In the first case, putting people in new housing is not like putting skis in a closet that you take out only when you need them. These human beings need the complete infrastructure that residents do. Every facet of that support has to expand. And more new people are needed to fill those slots. 

In the second case, there are new stores, lawyers, doctors, businesses like banks, restaurants, Uber drivers, city clerks, lift attendants, etc. These are new jobs that need new people to fill them. New people need new housing. Vicious circle.

There is a simple solution. Stop the growth. No more business permits or licenses. No expansions. Put a limit on the number of businesses and on the number of employees. No more employee housing. There is “enough” of both of those things. There is no “constitutional right” to open any business in any place. Let the existing businesses compete for the existing employees. Let the market sort itself out. 

Patrick Hunter, Carbondale

Boebert’s climate stance against ag

Many of the constituents of Lauren Boebert are farmers and ranchers. I question how much Boebert is concerned about their well-being. 

There is no occupation affected more by droughts, temperature increases and extreme weather events than farmers and ranchers. Yet Boebert, as a Trump cult member, does not believe climate change is caused by our burning of fossil fuels and thinks it is a big hoax. 

If she truly cared about the large number of people in her district engaged in the agricultural sector, wouldn’t she support efforts to combat climate change?

Dave Ryan, Montrose

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