Soap Box

Railing on the 'Green Train'

To the editor,

I’ve been disappointed to read the one-sided coverage from our local media outlets about the so-called “Green  Train.” Take a closer look at the numbers and you can see Al and the Train will still be pumping mercury, arsenic, benzene, sulfur dioxide and a host of other pollutants from coal into our air (and houses) over 90 percent of the time. It’s absurd that in 2018 we’re still willing to sacrifice our health (and our kids’ health) to sell a few more T-shirts and hamburgers.

Let’s be clear – there aren’t any economic or technical hurdles to converting ALL the steam trains to run on oil, CNG, biodiesel or electricity – just ego and a lack of imagination.

– Nathan Morris, Durango South Side Resident since 2002

Climate bills smart political move

To the editor,

Reps. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) just introduced an innovative carbon pricing bill: The Market Choice Act. This represents a huge step forward in the conversation about carbon pricing as a market-based solution to reduce our carbon emissions and address our warming climate. This is the first GOP-led carbon pricing legislation proposed in over a decade.

“While there are still some deniers out there, most Americans today understand that climate change caused by human activity is a reality that must be addressed,” Curbelo said. “I remind my conservative colleagues who often decry our nation’s growing debt, saddling young Americans with a crushing environmental debt – meaning an unhealthy planet where life is less viable – is at least as immoral as leaving behind an unsustainable fiscal debt.”

The advantage of GOP-led legislation is that they can take the reins now in leading on climate change solutions that are market based. That means less government oversight and less regulation, while maintaining the loyalty of the millennial generation, who are very concerned about climate change affecting their future quality of life. I encourage Rep. Scott Tipton to join these Republicans in creating policy on GOP terms while the party is in control.

– Jan Dahlquist, Durango

Unger clean air & water candidate

To the editor,

Guinn Unger is running for Colorado State Senate. In today’s political climate, I find it admirable to see that he stands for common sense, responsible environmental policy and for holding polluters accountable. He states “While we continue to need viable mining and oil/gas industries, those industries need to be responsible citizens. It is naive to believe that large companies will be responsible on their own, so we need to have regulations that ensure that all industry is carried out responsibly.”

Unger is running against Sen. Don Coram, who was appointed – not elected – to his position. It’s no surprise that Coram’s voting record receives low scores from environmental watch groups. Coram voted to prohibit Colorado’s participation in reducing carbon dioxide emissions at the state level. He voted to strip from local governments the democratic right to make decisions about oil and gas operations that affect their own communities. He even voted to repeal the widely popular electric vehicle credit that helps consumers save money on fuel and stimulates Colorado’s tech economy.

If you care about clean air and water, vote in November for Guinn Unger.

– Philip Riffe, Hesperus

Getting derailed by poor excuses

To the editor,

This is just a note of thanks to Luke Mehall for his piece last week regarding the fire. There seems to be quite a bit of whitewashing of the cause and effects, or perhaps people are just naturally more Pollyanna-ish than I
am. Some of the comments I’ve heard in the community really make me scratch my head. Things such as, “We did everything humanly possible to prevent a fire ... but there’s only so many things you can do. The rest is up to good fortune.” No, you didn’t. That regrettable comment is not very reassuring for the future. Or, “There were fires all over Colorado, so we were bound to have one anyway.” How ridiculous. Then there’s this, “Wildlife know how to get away from fires.” Uh, no, not in catastrophic, erratic fires such as 416. Populations of terrestrial and aquatic species may recover, but many animals were barbecued, not to mention the sterilized soil where plants will take decades to re-establish.

Unfortunately, the fact that most people have never been to the burned area and the fact that most of the area is not readily visible from a fast-moving vehicle mean that this unnatural disaster will quickly be orgotten. Fifty-four-thousand scorched acres (and counting) is a significant number. In addition, there’s the cost of fighting the fire, the economic and public health impacts to the communities, and major disruption of people’s lives.

The causes of the fire should not be viewed as “blame.” Knowing the causes will help prevent future disasters. Remember – the causes of the fire include officials not stopping operation of the alleged guilty party in exceptional drought conditions. I sincerely hope the community will take a serious accounting of the causes and effects and keep them in mind for a long time. This did not have to happen.

– Hildreth Cooper, Durango

Trump's bigly, little white lies

To the editor,

As I listened to Trump he said, “Whoever comes to Europe and are immigrants, they are ruining the culture of Europe.” He reminds me of Hitler in 1939.

Hitler said we need an Arian nation and killed 6 million Jews and others to try to achieve the goal of whites only and a pure gene pool.

America is made up of immigrants, Jews, Polish, Italians, Swiss and his father is German and his mother from England. His father said he was Scandinavian so he could sell homes and land to the Jews in New York City after WWII. Why? To make money from immigrant families. If they knew he was German, they may not have bought from him.

My grandparents on both sides came from Italy in the 1920s and worked in the coal mines and rail roads in Iowa. They loved America and became citizens and were loved by all.

Trump is obsessed with dark-colored people of any nationality other than white. It sure is funny that two out of his three wives came from Europe and became citizens.

When Trump says immigrants will ruin the culture, what about him walking in front of and not by the side of the Queen of England or at least holding out an arm for the 92-year-old for support? He says he has culture ... Trump has no culture – not even agriculture.

– Robert Battani, Durango