Letters | Prairie dogs are pests


Correction: The June 21 story “The wisdom of Wilco” should have said that the group’s first album, A.M., was an L.P., not an E.P.

Prairie dogs are pests

(Re: “Prairie dog poisoning shows need for protection,” Uncensored, June 14.) Reading the Pamela White article about prairie dogs, a couple points came to mind. Prairie dogs are pests that carry the sylvatic plague. These pests strip the surface of vegetation in expanse of their burrows. Ranchers must keep the land clear of the prairie dog to prevent horses and cows from being crippled when their hoof is caught in one of the numerous holes. Ms. White’s article and the Prairie Dog Coalition website fail to emphasize these important points.

Ms. White raised the point that it is difficult to find a relocation site for captured prairie dogs. This is likely true, that adjoining counties restrict the dumping of prairie dogs. Where are they taken? I wonder this as I see more prairie dogs now in colonies on open space lands of Estes Park. Did these creatures hitchhike up the canyon on a farmers’ market truck? Do the relocation collectors dump these rodents in neighboring counties without legal permission?

Michael Keilty/Lyons

All soldiers are good

(Re: “Confronting the past,” Buzz, June 14.) The introduction to this piece absolutely disgusted me with its portrait of Anthony Swofford as a womanizing alcoholic/drug user.

Not until most of the way through the article was the harsh reality for U.S. Marines, soldiers, sailors and air men returning from combat operations even mentioned. Perhaps the Jarhead author did indeed engage in such ethically unsound activities. Perhaps journalist Sebastian Murdock thought it would be a nice character contrast in his article. The reality is that it paints U.S. Marines, and all service members, in a negative light. Just what our service members need here in Boulder: more disinformation.

Before writing this, Murdock should have considered the bent of how it would paint our brave young men and women who serve their country in the People’s Republic of Boulder.

I wonder what it would be like for Murdock to do a piece on some of Boulder’s own service members, who give the rest of us the luxury to tear them down … and defend that right of freedom of speech.

Semper Fidelis, —Mrs. Robin Knutson, wife of Sgt.

Scot Knutson, U.S. Marine Corps/Boulder

Danish all fracked up

(Re: “Boulder’s lifestyle depends on the use of fracking,” Danish Plan, May 17.) Paul Danish’s defense in the Weekly of natural gas fracking was dismissive of its downsides. Worth noting is that most Colorado natural gas is bound for places west of here willing to pay more for it.

Mr. Danish remarks that if fracking were dangerous, the 20,000 hydraulically fractured wells in Weld County would have rendered it a wasteland.

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revealed this year that Colorado oil and gas wells emit about twice as many chemical pollutants, including methane, as we were assured. Emissions of more reactive volatile organic compounds, the kind that damage lungs, are also underestimated. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, northern Front Range summertime air has not complied with federal health-based standards since 2007.

But fracking’s effect on water is more poisonous.

According to Naturalgas.org, each “frack” consumes between 2 million and 9 million gallons of fresh water. A well may be re-fracked up to six times. That’s an average of 4.5 million gallons of water times, potentially, six.

Fracking fluid combines water, sand and chemicals that are industry secrets. An encased well is drilled straight into the ground; beyond the casing at between 5,000 and 10,000 feet, the well turns horizontally. Punctures in the line allow the chemical brew under very high pressure to force gas-collecting fissures into the substrate.

Recoverable solution and natural gas are then pumped out.

From 40 percent to 70 percent of unrecovered fracking water leaches to the surface. This wastewater is called flowback; each well produces millions of gallons. It is hazardous material. Some flowback is forced into injection wells, which are exempt from local control.

Earthquakes plague many fracking areas.

The water remaining underground infiltrates drilling and natural fissures, destined inevitably for aquifers. Once contaminated, an aquifer remains so indefinitely.

Mr. Danish calls the anti-fracking narrative “apocalyptic” and denies the existence of victims. How cynical.

Wyoming’s Pavillion area is dotted with hundreds of gas wells drilled over the last two decades. Residents complain that their water has turned dark and smells like gasoline. EPA wells drilled into an aquifer beneath Pavillion revealed high levels of carcinogens and at least one chemical known to be used in fracking. The wells also contained benzene at 50 times tolerable, phenols, acetone, toluene, naphthalene and traces of diesel fuel.

Since 2008, the EPA has warned Pavillion residents not to drink or cook with their water, even to ventilate their showers. Some residents have lost their olfactory sense and have constant nerve pain. The Canadian company Encana, owner of the wells, denies responsibility yet for a time supplied residents with drinking water.

Could contamination around Pavillion be owing to agriculture? Despite searching assiduously for alternatives, EPA detected chemicals consistent only with drilling.

Colorado is the only continental state into which no water naturally flows. Most of Colorado is semi-arid, receiving about 18 inches of precipitation annually. We have an active, thirsty population and intense agricultural requirements that constantly strain our water supplies.

In Northern Colorado, frackers are already competing with farmers for water.

Jackie Dial/via Internet

Simone the pixie-angel

I traveled across country to attend a seminar by your citizen daughter Michele Weiner Davis. The seminar was outstanding, and I discovered the brigadoon you call Boulder.

During the trip my colleagues and I rode the hotel cruisers along the Boulder Creek path to Pearl Street. (You don’t need to be told of the magic found there.) On our way back we were swarmed by hundreds of ebullient bikers calling out “Happy Thursday!

Happy Thursday!” I pulled my phone out of my back pocket to video the happy parade. My driver’s license, credit card and hotel key silently fell to the ground.

It was a miracle the next day when Simone, the pixie-angel resident of Boulder, called to say she had found all of my cards. Of course everything was returned with nothing amiss. Thanks to her I was able to board the plane home with my ID! Thank you, Boulder, for your soul-nurturing beauty, food and people.

Amanda Deverich/Williamsburg, Va.

Who’ll stop the rain?

(Re: “When it pours,” Boulderganic magazine, June 14.) Harvesting rainwater in Colorado leaves me scratching my head.

Apparently, those with wells can save their rainwater. I guess they own the water rights beneath their land. This would make me think that those serviced by some foreign- or domesticowned water company cannot.

So is having a bird bath, potted plant or swimming pool deemed water harvesting in the cities? So maybe getting your clothes wet or opening your mouths to capture water is also illegal too?

Perhaps your municipal government is depending on your water meter to determine your sewer tax. So God help you if you capture rainwater bound for the storm drain!

Joseph DuPont/Towanda, Pa.

Taxing what hurts us

New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to ban super-sized sugary sodas has resurrected the age-old debate over the role of the state in protecting the public health. In recent years, this debate involved bicycle helmets, car seat belts, tobacco, trans fats, saturated fats in meat and dairy products and sugar (or, more aptly, highfructose corn syrup). Public subsidies for tobacco, meat and dairy, and corn production added fuel to the debate.

I would argue that society has a right to regulate activities that impose a heavy burden on the public treasury. National medical costs of dealing with our obesity epidemic, associated with consumption of meat, dairy and sugars, are estimated at $190 billion. Eliminating subsidies for these products, as well as judicious taxation to reduce their use and recoup public costs, should be supported by health advocates and fiscal conservatives alike.

Benjamin Franklin claimed that nothing is certain except death and taxes. Ironically, death can be deferred substantially by taxing products that make us sick.

Stanley Silver/Boulder

Recall city council

[Re: “Protesting is our right,” Uncensored, June 21.) If [City Manager] Jane [Brautigam] gets her way, and our City Council approves this latest attack on our First Amendment rights, it will be just one more good reason to recall the entire City Council.

Granted, the recall process is a monumental task, requiring more signatures to be gathered in a mere 30 days than four of the council members received in votes that got them elected.

They definitely rigged the system in their favor, but this latest attack on our rights could be the final straw, and really wake up the citizens of Boulder. If we are successful with the recall, the first task of the newly elected council will be to fire Miss Jane and the city attorney.

Tom Cummins, Americans For Social Justice/via Internet

Big brother bearcat

(Re: “Tame Bearcat?” ICUMI, June 21.) Thank you Boulder Weekly for calling out yet another example of Boulder County sheriff excess and bringing light to the militarization of our police force.

The Occupy Movement and the movement around the world for real change (with thousands in the streets worldwide) has quickened the corporate/government police state’s desire to militarize local police forces in case of civil unrest. Excess security at the airport, where our genitals are touched by TSA Homeland Security goons with questionable backrounds; military exercises in cities like St. Louis with real soldiers, real weapons and real tanks.; the stripping of our right to free speech and protest and increased police brutality everywhere, even within the jail of our own Boulder County Sheriff ’s Department.

I was shocked to hear of my friend’s false arrest and experience of police brutality (with a broken nose) within their jail by a sergeant of the Boulder County Sheriff ’s Department. That was after three officers strapped him down to a restraining chair, in a room where there’s no video cameras. Even inside the Boulder Bubble. That’s a little too close to home for me.

Do you remember in the ’70s before there were security and cameras everywhere? I miss those days. Welcome to 1984. Wassup Big Brother?

William Donohoe/Boulder

Nice ocean story

Want to let you know how much I enjoyed your article in the June 14 Boulder Weekly (“Blue Colorado,” cover story).

As a resident of Boulder with a second residence in Florida’s Gulf Coast aboard a Hunter 34-foot sailboat, my wife and I love clean waters.

Our trips to Key West and the Bahamas would not have been the same without the “clean” magical colors of the waters.

Often times we will alter course to pick up a stray plastic bottle or piece of trash; by doing so we feel good about our little contribution to keeping the waters of our amazing planet clean.

Thanks again, Jim and Linda Milne/Boulder



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