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Home / Articles / Views / Letters /  Letters | A miss on municipalization
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Thursday, March 14,2013

Letters | A miss on municipalization

The BW article “Municipalization minefield” (cover story, Feb. 28) does an excellent job highlighting the economic complexities surrounding the City’s effort to create a municipally owned electric utility, but it lacks in offering a holistic perspective.

First, as highlighted in the subsequent article within the same edition, “Is city’s municipalization plan the next ghost at Valmont Butte?” a continued dependence on electricity from coal-fired power plants simply advances the economic burden associated with electricity generated from coal-fired power plants to future generations.

Moreover, Dyer and Dodge neglect to provide proper emphasis in addressing the environmental and societal benefits citizens would gain if the City chooses to municipalize. To their credit, they correctly identify that the city’s efforts might not make that big of difference in the overall global mitigation of greenhouse gases, but they failed to take into consideration that other communities might follow suit and/ or that a transformation of the entire electric utility might occur due to the actions taken by the City of Boulder. It is all too easy to say that one person or one community will not make a difference in a world of over 7 billion. However, our actions do not occur in a vacuum, and by proving that an environmentally conscious and resilient energy infrastructure is possible, Boulder can be a catalyst towards moving the rest of our society in the same direction.

The City of Boulder should take this important step to ensure that future generations inhabit a world with not only economic stability but also increasing social and environmental well-being.

Josh Kuhn/Boulder

Frankly, I expected a whole lot more from the reporters at Boulder Weekly. Yes, the subject is complicated, but that doesn’t make Jerome Davis (XCEL) the smartest guy in the room. He may be suave, but his slick answers provide me more, not less, reasons to support municipalization. After all, isn’t he with the same outfit that botched the smart grid, and still expects us to pay for it?

David Hawes/via Internet

Since when did Boulder Weekly decide to be a PR outlet for Xcel? Your “Municipalization minefield” article consistently gave the final word on legal and technical matters to Xcel’s community relations director, Jerome Davis — though he is neither an attorney nor an engineer.

The primary take-home from your article is that Xcel intends to oppose the City of Boulder at every possible opportunity. Was that really “news”?

Xcel’s spokesperson compared Boulder to a thief stealing Xcel’s belongings. Did you check the Constitution and state statutes that prove the clear legal right of municipalities to form municipal utilities? You could have traced it back to the FDR years and the original fights over ownership of the electrical grid.

One thing we know for sure is that staying with Xcel means dealing with over $1 billion in recent investments in two large coal plants that they intend to keep online until 2041 and 2069. With Xcel we would be chained to coal plants for many more decades, as wind and solar become ever more competitive. What about those moral, legal and economic minefields that would go with staying with Xcel?

Your “Municipalization minefield” article seems to suggest that there is no legal or technical way to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Would you also have argued that there was no legal or technical way to end slavery?

Your article’s implication that renewable energy is more costly than Xcel’s fossil fuel resources directly contradicts Xcel’s own testimony at the PUC that adding wind to their system lowers system costs.

Boulder spends over $100 million a year on electricity. Boulder Weekly could deliver more balanced reporting that would help the City make a thoughtful decision about how to spend that $100 million in ways that lighten our load on the planet.

Chris Hoffman/Boulder

Editor’s note: Boulder Weekly will gladly run corrections or clarifications in response to any specific factual errors identified in the coverage of the municipalization issue.

Real conspiracies

(Re: “The new era of conspiracy thinking,” commentary, Feb. 7.) Sadly, there are “conspiracies” and there are “conspiracies.” In other words, when people are urged to stand tall against “conspiracies” that aim to take away their guns ... or that undermine Christian values through environmentalism ... or that threaten their embryonic miracle cures ... or that aim to murder defenseless embryos and fetuses, few consider that those doing the urging are conspiring to inflame our passions and mold our thoughts to serve their unspoken goals, e.g., they’re a conspiracy. I speak from personal experience because I once belonged to such a “conspiracy,” a conspiracy comprised of congressional staffers, members of the President’s Council of Bioethics, Religious and Pro-life Leaders, White House staff, and several scientists.

A perfect case in point concerns the Cornwall Alliance, a group of ultra-conservative religious extremists funded by Big Oil and Gas to portray global warming, climate change and anything progreen as being a threat to “God’s plan for Man and Earth.”

For four-plus years, I took part in the world’s stem-cell debates as a “pro-cures” activist. During this time, I twice served as surrogate stem-cell spokesperson for the G.W. Bush White House and interacted daily with national biotech “advisers.” I learned through this involvement that social issues can be far otherwise than they appear to the general public — that those who control society control us by inflaming worldview bias and keeping us divided to stymie social changes, entrench status quos and serve financial special interests.

Under a “false flag” guise of defending the Second Amendment, the war against gun control is only part of a strategy to keep us divided, programmed and blind to the leash that controls us.

James P. Kelly/Manitou Springs

Jones sells out

Editor’s note: The following is an open letter regarding County Commissioner Elise Jones.

This commissioner has not lived up to her environmental background. She has sold out Boulder County to the oil and gas companies just like our Gov. Hickenlooper. She will ruin our way of life by not banning fracking. Please do articles on the dangers of fracking and how it will destroy our economy and way of life.

A concerned mom, Karen Groover/Superior

Slick oil ads in the Camera

You really have to wonder why EnergyfromShale.org placed two slick advertisements in the Daily Camera recently, showing idyllic scenes of a man fishing, with an unconventional oil well strategically located in the background.

Can fishing, requiring clean, flowing water, exist side-by-side with toxic, fracked oil wells? The location depicted is North Dakota, home of the biggest domestic oil patch, where tens of thousands of wells are flaring natural gas, visible from outer space. Flaring natural gas raises atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, contributing to global warming. Can our planet afford to get any warmer? Has warming contributed to the severe drought in North Dakota and the rest of the high plains? Who else might need the water downstream that is being destroyed by fracking? Farmers? And what about the people, the livestock and the farmland of North Dakota, all suffering the ill effects of an industry gone wild?

The Shilke family, highlighted in The Nation, had 32 fracked oil wells within three miles of their home. The result: a water well contaminated with a brew of toxic chemicals — and health issues for Jacki Shilke and her husband, including chronic lung pain, unexplained rashes, loss of fillings in their teeth, body pain. Doctors diagnosed Jacki with neurotoxic damage and constricted airways. Five of her prized Angus cows dropped dead and they can no longer sell their cattle. Is this a vision of Nirvana? This story plays out over and over again throughout the oil patch in North Dakota — from cities overrun with man camps and crime to millions of truck trips disintegrating their roads, and billions of gallons of water being destroyed — forever removed from the hydrologic cycle. Is this a wonderful legacy? Or leading to the end of mankind — as we continue to destroy our life support system? If you Google, “damage to North Dakota from fracking,” there are plenty of examples of harm to people and animals as well as the rape and pillage of the lands. See for yourself. Is this what we want in Boulder County? If you don’t want this toxic legacy, sign up to help — with Boulder County Community Rights Coalition (http://bococcr.org/) and with Frack Free Boulder (http://abrahampaiss. com/frackfreeboulder/who-we-are/) to keep this toxic industry from taking over our county. Once this industry gains a foothold (like Weld County), you can never get rid of them. Protect our quality of life — our beautiful Boulder and Boulder County. We banned it in Longmont — now, how about the rest of Boulder County?

Teresa Foster/Longmont

Unnatural gas

The Colorado legislature has actually voted for the COGGC (a state agency) to promote the development of natural gas in Colorado.

The methods of promotion have been completely irresponsible, which is to be expected when industry legislation is rubberstamped by our representatives. There is an inherent conflict when an agency is tasked with both regulating and promoting natural gas. The legislature needs to reverse this legislation and follow Germany’s example of supporting solar energy. Solar and wind can be converted to hydrogen, which can be stored/handled/used the same way as natural gas and yields pure water as its only waste product. Geothermal is another option available in Colorado, which could also be used to make hydrogen via a Stirling engine concept. The big IKEA store uses geothermal for heating and cooling.

Generally speaking, a geothermal well is twice as deep as a hydro-fracking well. What this means mathematically is that for every two fracking wells that have been drilled we could have had one geothermal well. What a backwards choice our Colorado legislature has made!

Cliff Smedley/Lafayette

Walmart’s camel nose

(Re: “Should Walmart come to Boulder?” ICUMI, Jan. 31.) I read with chagrin that Walmart has got its camel’s nose under Boulder’s tent and is to place one of its “neighborhood markets” at 28th and the Diagonal, in northeast Boulder. Even if it is “Walmart ‘Lite,’” it’s still the Bentonville Bunch, and folks are right to be concerned. I have helped chase the Waltons out of two cities (one is in the Denver metro), and it still can be done. But I recognize from long real estate experience (no, not a broker) that property owners will sell their grandmothers to keep the rent coming in. As the macroeconomy silently shrinks and landlords leverage up their holdings, they see anything short of begging in the streets as a necessary and rational mode of “doing business.” Well, so do the rest of the streetwalkers.

Walmart promoters might tell you that the “demands” and shopping habits of its customers dictate its location and marketing decisions. Try selling me the Golden Gate Bridge, why don’t you? Then count the cars entering and leaving the Walmart lot — if Boulder allows it to hang its shingle. There’s nothing like cheap Chinese crap to keep us American consumers feeling flush and like we “belong.” Consume, or die. But that’s how we keep up with the Joneses, or the Waltons. Isn’t it?

Gregory Iwan/Longmont

E-470 corruption

I am writing to complain about the collection tactics used by E-470. I am a long-standing customer and driver of E-470 and recently received a letter from a collection agency about a $24 charge, which occurred because my credit card expired. I attempted to correct this on their website but was unable to login despite using my exact information. I also tried calling but was on hold for over 20 minutes each time.

I would expect a call or email from E-470 letting me know about the expired card - not to be turned over to a collection agency, who tacked on fines that took the charge to over $70.

I don’t know who is making money off this scam, but I will never drive E-470 again and will do everything in my power as a citizen of Colorado to stop this. They are ruining people’s credit ratings.

This reeks of corruption and greed.

Matt McLaughlin/via Internet

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