William Ronis: Avoiding a new disaster

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To the editor:

In Thursday’s article titled “Congressman-elect talks with county commissioners about natural resources, economy,” commissioner Tom Gray was paraphrased as saying the best way to help the economy was for government to reduce regulations, telling them “don’t be the problem.”

This past year didn’t we learn that reducing regulations about ruined our economy and natural resources?

Didn’t we learn that reduced regulations on Wall Street and with home loan companies caused the worst recession since the Great Depression?

Didn’t we learn that reduced regulations of offshore drilling almost ruined the Gulf of Mexico, one of our nation’s greatest natural resources, not to mention the lives of people who lived and worked on the Gulf?

What might happen in Moffat County if we reduce the natural resource regulations? Ruin the Yampa River somehow? Ruin the air quality somehow? Distrub the natural beauty somehow? Disturb historical sites, and the wildlife somehow?

Somehow, I thought we learned that reduced regulations are a disaster waiting to happen.

There was this guy that history tells about who sold out his friend for a few pieces of silver. When he realized what he did, he hung himself.

Let’s not be sorry later for a few pieces of silver now.

William Ronis

Comments

JimBlevins 4 years ago

Thanks for your letter, but perhaps you should have given the devil his due. There are times where regulations are overdone or applied inappropriately. There are regulations that need to be less restrictive.

We have just had a recent example locally where more regulation is clearly needed -- NOX emmission. Clearly smog is an extreme problem along the front range and lesser problem here. Necessarily, Tri-State management has only one concern -- profit. If Tri-State management had any other concern, it's shareholders would insure their replacement. This has resulted in their choosing to produce NOX in far greater quantities than the technology allows.

You can't reasonably expect Tri-State to behave in a manner contrary to their profit motive. Since Tri-state has only rural customers and since the effects of excessive NOX pollution is primarily urban, there is no pressure on them to do other than meet minimum regulation. Therefore, only regulations will force them to produce minimum pollution.

This is why regulation is both needed and opposed. When the negative effects of behavior affect other people adversely, regulation is needed to prevent this.

Jim Blevins

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onewhocares 4 years ago

How soon we forget what happens with lax regulations & oversight on corporations. Can you say BP & the Gulf?

And Bill, very sadly I have come to see that most politicians, Moffat being no different, would sell their neighbors out for a few silver coins....and worse yet, the neighbors let them do it. People NEVER learn, because greed blinds their senses and ethics.

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GreyStone 4 years ago

To quote a famous American icon,
Gordon Gekko, “Greed is Good”.

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GreyStone 4 years ago

We are learning first hand, today, what increased regulations in the offshore drilling is doing to the price of oil, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in February climbed 29 cents today to 91.89 dollars a barrel in London trade, oil drilling is slowed, unemployment, higher gas prices are affecting people who live and work in the GOM and most of the US. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for January delivery, gained 16 cents to 87.86 dollars. More Government regulations on drilling in the GOM will drive up prices on oil and raise unemployment.

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als362 4 years ago

Many times I think that the more government is involved in our lives, our jobs and how we make a money is just driving us closer and closer to a socialist state.
The last bunch of socialists that came around started WW2 and killed millions of innocent people because of their religious beliefs. I doubt we wnat that again. I agree that some controls are necessary. Or else someone would dam up the Grand Canyon to build a huge resort area, cut down the giant Redwoods to make decks, drain the Everglades for housing lots, and turn Yellowstone into a geothermal power plant. But I also believe that government controls can get carried away, especially when politicians find out there is money to be made through these regulations. I believe that Tri State does all it can do to keep emissions at there lowest level. Yes they are told they must do that to stay in business, but that doesn't make them work as hard on that as I know they do.

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John Kinkaid 4 years ago

Over-regulation has been killing our economy and jobs for decades. We don't make much in the U.S. anymore. But things are better in India, China, Malaysia and Indonesia. We NEED domestic energy exploration right here in the good old U.S.A. BTW Electricity produced by coal is very cost effective and clean. Domestic energy is Okay!

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Ray Cartwright 4 years ago

Mr. Blevins, your comment stated that Tri-State is not worried about the general public and has the bottom line in mind and is only doing the minimum requirement as far as NOx emmisions are concerned. Maybe you need to look alittle closer to the bottom line. Tri-State is more than willing to spend the $40 million to comply with the Colorado standards and hopes that they don't have to spend the $600 million that will be required if the Sierra Club has their way and the Federal Standard is applied. Maybe they also have the end user (your electric bill) in mind also and are attempting to provide you with affordable electricity. NOx emissions come from all types of combustion sources, including power plants, (includes Coal and Gas) furnaces and boilers, and automobiles. Why is it that you never hear anything about limiting the amount of usage you will be allowed for you cars and trucks. You never hear any politician talking about mass transit and how that would reduce pollution on the front range do you?

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JimBlevins 4 years ago

Dentedfender, I couldn't agree more about reducing pollution from all sources, especially transportation. I once owned a CRX -- suitable for a family of four and got 50 MPG. They quickly stopped producing CRX for lack of sales. Typical in this country is one person in a 6,000 pound truck that gets less than 20 MPG.

Trains are far more efficient than cars and trucks, but their construction and use is fought in every way. High speed rail is far more efficient than airplanes, but there are none in this entire country.

The more expensive option being discussed for Tri-State would produce less than 1/4 th the pollution of the cheaper option -- that is a big difference. The big advantage is making coal more competitive with alternatives. Until coal is as clean as alternatives, coal plants will continue to be shut down.

Anytime you talk about clean energy, most people think it costs jobs. In fact, building a low pollution, no imported oil economy could be the greatest producer of jobs ever.

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wellwell 4 years ago

At the commissioners meeting discussion was held with Tri State administrators, The compliance that is being asked of this plant in Craig is to reduce the emissions that are a visibility problem in this area including, and especially, those of the federal parks.

This is NOT a discussion of health issues.

This NOT a discussion of the Front Range.

This IS a discussion of Tri State facility in Craig, Northwest Colorado. This IS a discussion of visible emissions that can be SEEN in our area and especially the parks touristic areas.

Tri State appears willing to take the $40 million cost in order to be an industry that seeks to comply to govermental requests and be a reasonable supplier of energy to its customers at a reasonable cost. It has responded to environmental controls in an equal balance to the needs and customer cost control.

The request now is to control emissions that cause visibility problems in this area, esp. parks. My question is: Do you SEE this VISIBLE problem?

NO! Why would any thoughtful taxpayer want to pay the $660million price for no change?

Hmmmm, do ya think that danged high population of cars might have anything to do with the Front Range and they have no Idea we don't have a problem? Oh, forgot that the pressure of politics is to raise the cost of coal energy so that we must change to gas. Then too that same politic want to go to Clean Energy Clean Jobs. Dang they can't stand those Dirty Miners. Well, well, we didn't ask for Clean Jobs, we just want Jobs.

The politic should not put their "dirty" control on our clean environment.

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John Kinkaid 4 years ago

"....coal plants will continue to be shut down." Yes, let's drive our economy further into the dirt. Nobody wants dirty air or water, but enough regulation is enough. Further regulations take more money out of your wallet, probably at a time when you can least afford it. Are you going to notice the minisucle improvement in visibility? Probably not. Our air is dirtiest when fires are burning west of town. Will you notice the jump in inflation? Most definately. Every business will have to pass on the additional cost to you the consumer. Forget eco-tourism. Paying for nuclear generated power will force people to stay home. And if they don't have terrific jobs, they could be freezing cold and in the dark. Let's live like Eastern Europeans behind the iron curtain used to. Stand in line for food. Steal wood to stay warm. Rolling brown outs and poverty to "save the planet". That's got my vote! Actually to save our economy from further suffering and to stimulate jobs, we need to start weeding out bad regulations at the state and federal levels Unofficially, our unemployment rate is somewhere north of 20%. Yes, some regulations are good, but we are drowning in government and need air. Look up. On a cloudless day, our sky is deep blue.

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als362 4 years ago

I think the first step should be to shut down the entire western grid for about a week. Then see how many tree huggers suddenly vanish from the debate.

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onewhocares 4 years ago

als362,

You attempt to make tree hugging sound like a hegative thing. How is it negative to hug something that :

         1. gives us heat
         2.  provides wood for our homes
         3.  helps cool the environment
         4.  provides homes for wildlife
         5.  creates oxygen 
         6.  makes for beautiful scenery 
         7.  anchors the earth from mudslides with its roots
         8.  provide sap that works better than glue
         9.  and of course gives us pine boughs for Christmas
              reefs.

Now, I'm kinda curious what 9 things have you done recently to contribute to the overall health of the planet ??? (FYI- I am darn proud to be a tree hugger).
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als362 4 years ago

To onewhocares: Treehugger is a generic term for someone that worries so much about his/her enviroment he/she makes living in it difficult and expensive to the normal person. I have nothing against trees, I have many in my yard, and care for them as best I can. What I have done for the overall health of the planet is work on, maintain and adjust the many controls at Craig Station to make the plant one of the cleanest in the nation. This involves many more than 9 things and I have done them for 30+ years. And I am very proud of that.

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onewhocares 4 years ago

als362, In all seriousness, I appreciate your sincere effort at keeping the Craig Station clean for obvious reasons, but the terrible reality is, our standard of living in the US is so high, that the toll on the environment has been detrimental to say the least. I'm not trying to make people's life hard (god knows my is hard enough), but its common sense to realize there is only a limited number of trees, water, food and resources & if we don't begin to lower our populations & high standard of living, the end result is going to be far more horrible than maybe & voluntarily lowering our needs in this nation. Not to sound demeaning, but in visual terms, try putting 10 rats in a child's rat cage meant for 1 & watch what happens when the food & water runs out. Violence, then cannibalism ensues, leaving only the strongest, until he too dies when the last rat is eaten. We, as humans are simply bigger rats with bigger needs & our cage has gotten scarily small.

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als362 4 years ago

I might agree with you about lowering our needs if you would be willing to take the first step to do that.
Go to the electrical power panel in your house and turn off all the breakers in the panel.
By doing that you will no longer be using electricity. By no longer using electricity YOU will no longer be contributing to the dirty air and dirty sky. I say YOU will no longer be contributing, because as soon as Tri State and all electrical power companies have lost all their customers, they will not generate electricity, thus no more burning coal, no more dirty air, and dirty sky. So if you are an electricity user, unless you are totally providing your own power through wind, solar or both, YOU are the reason for the dirty air and dirty sky. So jump right in there onewhocares and take that first step to clean up the environment. Then we will se how many that gripe about the environment follow suit.

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onewhocares 4 years ago

I couldn't agree with you more als, THATS why we are downsizing to a home 1/3 the size as this one is now, & relocating to a less harsh environment, so our power usage will be VERY minimal - & fyi, we use primarily downed wood for heat in the winter (often times freezing in our house) because I HATE the thought of how much natural gas & electricity we would use otherwise....so I do sacrifice basic comforts - like a nice, cozy house. Oh yeah, and we also have gas lamps and candles we use as well. Can you say the same?

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John Kinkaid 4 years ago

"... our standard of living in the U.S. is so high..." Our goal as a country has always been to explore, innovate and make life better. It's who we are as a people and we do not need to apologize for being successful.

Again, look up. Our sky is DEEP blue and the air smells great! Take a long slow deep breath and hold it for a few seconds. It's wonderful to be alive.

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JimBlevins 4 years ago

Our sky is not as clean as you seem to think. Look up from somewhere in town on a clear night. You will see a few stars. Away from the lights of town you see an uncountable number. Light pollution -- yes. But light does not reflect from clean air. There is a lot of stuff in the air above us. I don't know how much comes from Tri-state. I do know that when China has a bad dust storm out air gets worse. It is a global problem.

Commissioner Mathers said that If the front range wants our power plant cleaned up, that they should pay for it. I don't know if he meant that literally, but he is right. Pollution is a community problem which needs community action.

What is in ones person's best interest isn't necessarily what is really in his best interest unless there is overall co-ordination and REGULATION. Easter Island is a good bad example. It was once covered with trees and other vegetation. It was an idyllic place to live. But the inhabitants squandered their resources and it became a barren hell. Consider the person who cut down that last tree. It allowed him to maintain his standard of living a bit longer, but it condemned everyone, himself included, to a barren hell.

Hopefully we can do better than Easter Island.

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als362 4 years ago

To onewhocares: I have done infinitely more than you could ever do by keeping the controls and systems at Craig Station working properly.
If I had any idea that power plants on the western slope were causing any of the issues that are being addressed in this clean coal law, I assure you I would be first on the band wagon to work on my property. Since I am convinced that this bill was brought up just so the front range doesn't have to deal with it's auto pollution problem, I have no intention of doing anything to my property. Besides, even if averyone in Moffat County did what you did, it would still be less than what I have done to improve the environment by keeping the controls and systems working properly at Craig Station.

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John Kinkaid 4 years ago

Yes our air is as clean as I seem to think. It's called deep blue. Drive to Elkhead at night and look up. Plenty of stars and celestial action.

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