By Allen Best
CARBONDALE, Colo. – Can the hypocrisy get any more rank than this? Consider the ongoing battle in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado over natural gas drilling.
The Thompson Valley, located just west of Carbondale, which itself is 30 miles from Aspen, is not formally classified “wilderness” but has many of the same attributes. Locals go there to mountain bike, graze cattle, and so on.
It’s also a place rich with fossil fuels. A coal mine used to operate there, and drillers bored wells decades ago. Others hope to do so again. Several companies have leases from the federal government to drill for natural gas, but locals are almost completely in agreement it shouldn’t happen.
The Aspen Times tells of a recent meeting attended by an estimated 300.
The newspaper reports what would seem to be an honest appraisal of a local student, who said that everyone uses natural gas and must support, at some level, energy development. But some places must be off limits from our country’s appetite for fossil fuels, she said. “This isn’t the place to (drill),” she said, to widespread applause.
Ranchers also object. “It will drive the wildlife out and kill the cattle industry,” said one, whose family has ranched for multiple generations.
A drilling company with existing permits argued that drillers can leave a light touch on the land. “Oil and gas can be responsibly developed, and it is responsibly developed,” he said.
And then there was a local resident who warned that the “wolf is right at your door.”
He got a resounding “no” when he asked the crowd if it was worth “poisoning the Earth” to extract more natural gas to feed the country’s addiction to fossil fuels.
What exactly is his role in that addiction? Well, he spends his workweek in California, where he runs one of the country’s largest manufacturers of outdoor clothing. On weekends, he jets back to the small town in the Rockies, where he can have access to “one of the last great places.”
Hmmm. What doesn’t this guy with a 2,000-mile commute not understand about the energy required to get from here to there.
Do jet planes operate on pixie dust?
This guy needs to review that South Park episode where everybody decides to buy Pious cars, and the most pious of the Pious crowd decides South Park just isn’t pious enough, so moves to San Francisco, where everybody sips wine and sniffs their own behinds.
Wasatch linkage ripped by public
PARK CITY, Utah — The idea of linking the ski areas on the east side of Utah’s Wasatch Range with those on the west side was the subject of a recent meeting in Park City. If the general turnout is any indication of broader public sentiment, this proposal is one for the deep freeze, reports The Park Record.
The idea of the interconnection has been talked about for decades, but a new proposal made by Solitude and Canyons Resorts has been pitched for the last two years as a way for Utah to become a much greater draw for destination visitors. But they also argue that it will reduce the amount of driving, as people can stay on one side and take lifts to the other side of the range, and vice versa.
“We have absolutely no interest in any development (along the route),” said Mike Goar, managing director of Canyons Resort.
Salt Lake City, which draws water from the Cottonwood Canyons, where Solitude and several other ski areas, including Alta and Snowbird, are located, doesn’t like the idea. A representative said she worried about a “piecemeal approach” to the proposals.
And environmentalists are passionately opposed. Peter Metcalf, president and chief executive of outdoor equipment manufacturer Black Diamond Equipment, said outdoor enthusiasts oppose the ski link.