Soap Box

Cleaner vision of Colorado's future
07/12/2018

To the editor,

I appreciate Rep. Scott Tipton’s concerns for reducing large volumes of pollution throughout the world, recently expressed in his article “We Must Utilize Western Colorado’s Vast Natural Resources.” He makes the case for future increases in natural gas extraction and transporting it via pipeline and shipping to Asia, adding that this strategy would increase Colorado jobs and our economic prosperity.

Colorado is also blessed with vast natural resources of sunshine, wind and outdoor recreational opportunities. The renewable energy industry and outdoor recreational industries are growing faster and producing more new jobs and income than the natural gas industry, at far less harm to the environment. To further develop more clean energy matches the criteria that Tipton hopes for: economic growth and prosperity, utilizing Colorado’s vast natural resources, and protecting the environment while minimizing pollution.

I am hoping Tipton will show the same passion and leadership for promoting clean renewable energy that he has for developing further natural gas extraction. His endorsement of clean energy can serve as a role model for other congressmen and communities sharing our same natural resource mix. Tipton’s leadership could send a strong signal that acknowledges renewable energy’s evolving role and advantages for our community’s economic wellbeing and safety. Utilizing our clean natural resources can be a trend that all parties embrace and facilitate.

– Louise van Vonno, Durango

Train could fund trail remediation
07/12/2018

To the editor,

The D&SNGR train destroyed Hermosa Creek wilderness and one of the best trails in the Durango area (voted one of the top 10 blue trails in the United States). This is a call to all lovers/users of Hermosa Creek Trail to lobby the train to fund all the efforts toward Hermosa Creek trail remediation. This is the least D&SNGR can do! Contact the D&SNGR using their web site contact form or email the train’s spokesperson at: contact@durangotrain.com

It's time the train switched tracks
07/12/2018

To the editor,

I am Emmett. I am 6 years old. I live in Durango. I do not like this wildfire. I think they should run the steam trains on electric to heat the water. They can use solar panels on days when it is sunny. Why I think they should do this is because I don’t want the train to cause fires. We need to protect our air and our forests and our firefighters.

– Emmett Kane, Durango (*Submitted by Emmett’s dad, Jeff, with Emmett’s permission.)

Get proactive on climate change
07/12/2018

To the editor,

I appreciate Rep. Tipton’s recent letter “Key takeaways from the 416 Fire,” highlighting steps we can take to mitigate future wildfire risk, stating “We need to be proactive, not reactive” and “We can do more to prevent wildfires from occurring in the future.” I couldn’t agree more.

While past forest fire suppression has increased wildfire threat, so has a warming climate. The Forest Service website/Climate Change forecasts a bleak future for the Southwest with higher temperatures, less snow and an expected decrease in precipitation. They state, “The effects of climate change include more frequent wildfires that burn larger areas.”

Wildfires and climate change are bipartisan issues affecting us all. I encourage Tipton to take the recommendation of the Forest Service – “Use alternative energy: By reducing the use of fossil fuels, fewer greenhouse gasses are released into the atmosphere.” By joining the Climate Solutions Caucus in the House, Rep. Tipton could make sure that any legislation that moves forward on climate solutions would include representation from Southwest Colorado. Let’s be proactive, not reactive about climate change, and reduce the severity of our future drought and wildfire risks.

– Tim Thomas, Durango

Love the train, hate the coal
07/12/2018

To the editor,

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is a bedrock in our community. Much of our town’s prosperity is due to the approximately 200,000 passengers per year it attracts. I am grateful for the firefighting efforts they have employed up to this point, costing them money and man-power. Due to our “exceptional” drought conditions, it clearly is not enough, not now and not for the future. The sparks emitted from the coal-powered engine and the carbon greenhouse gas emissions have worn out their welcome, the cost to the community too high. It’s time for a common sense, level-headed conversation about alternatives to power the train that are safer and cleaner.

Electric trains have been employed in Europe and Asia for years and can be powered by on-board energy storage such as a battery system or used in conjunction with other fuels. Electric locomotives benefit from the high efficiency of electric motors. Additional efficiency can be gained from a regenerative braking system on the downhill trip from Silverton. Amtrak has employed clean diesel electric engines in California. Clean alternatives do
exist. Al Harper: We love the train, we need the train, we can’t risk more wildfires.

– Susan Atkinson, Durango