June 2005

Battling the oil and gas industry

By Art Goodtimes

OIL & GAS BOOM … The BLM’s Resource Advisory Council met in Gunnison a couple weeks ago. Mallory Dimmit of Telluride and I were unsuccessful supporters of a proposal from Telluride émigré and WCC stalwart Andrea Robinsong to ask the BLM to defer the sale of gas leases in our area. One person, the head of Club 20, Ann McCoy (who also sits with us on the RAC), was able to thwart the will of a clear majority of RAC members in defeating the motion, based on the RAC’s complicated rule system … But then, deus ex machina, BLM chief Ron Wenker did defer the gas leases in our region of the state -- where insufficient notice was given to surface property owners overlying federal mineral rights being, literally, sold out from underneath them … I was able to get RAC support for a letter expressing frustration that the BLM has leased mineral rights underneath surface ground which the County has enrolled as part of its Purchase of Development Rights program, specifically to preserve extended Gunnison Sage Grouse habitat. With the feds themselves ruining potential grouse habitat protected with local tax dollars, it seems like Endangered Species listing may be the only thing left to save the bird from extinction.

IRIS WILLOW … Graduated. Cum Laude. CSU Fort Collins. In Art. Graphic Design … My oldest. She done well.

RIO COYOTL … Just turned 18. As fine a gentleman as can be found in the KVNF airshed. In the Vision program … No surprise there.

SARA & GORIO … Sorry. I know this is old-fashioned. Sentimental perhaps. But living in family has taught me that nurturing and educating children is the most important job there is … I just wish our First World culture in this country valued parents and teachers as much as it does movie stars and CEOs.

BOOK OF THE WEAK … John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. Learn how the powerful really operate south of the border. And maybe you’ll sense something of the appeal of Chavez in Venezuela.

PEAKS & GUTTERS … Visiting with Elán Price at the Sun Palace in Ridgway . Cutting lilacs for a bouquet at Spes In Deo retreat center outside Montrose . Hiking the gypsum hills of the County’s West End on a foray for rare plants and lichen with botanist Peggy Lyon, also of Ridgway … The imminent arctic oil destruction of the Porcupine Caribou Herd -- in spite of everyone’s best efforts. The resurrection of the nuclear industry & the high price of uranium. The radioactive haul trucks rolling though Norwood on their way to the Cañon City mill of Cotter Corp.(a subsidiary of General Atomics – owned by Lindsay Blue and his brothers)

IF WE REALLY CARED ABOUT PEAK OIL … These policy recommendations from Ecos Consulting are intended to break the regulatory stalemate between the U.S. government and the auto industry over increasing fuel efficiency standards for the U.S. vehicular fleet … TRADE BOUNTIES … The federal government or states would offer a financial bounty to citizens who trade in older, less efficient, less safe, or more polluting vehicles for more efficient, less polluting, and safer ones. This would be an economic boon to low-income drivers who typically own the oldest, highest-mileage, and therefore least efficient and most polluting vehicles.

THE RIGHT TO ECO-INFO … New rules giving the European public better access to environmental information became binding for all European Union Member States earlier this year. The new directive strengthens the existing EU rules in this area, aligning them with the environmental information requirements of the 1998 Aarhus Convention … Who in this country has even heard of the Aarhus Convention, let alone is trying to meet its target goals? And while Europe takes the environmental lead on the world stage, America legalizes tons of mercury pollution in our Western airshed and calls it a Clear Skies Initiative… Aarhus grants the public access to environmental information, provides for public participation in environmental decision- making and allows the public to seek redress when environmental law is infringed. The new rules are a key step towards improved transparency in environmental policy — making access to eco-info a right, not just a administrative recourse … Stavros Dimas, EU’s Commissioner for the Environment, said: "Europe's citizens now have not only the freedom but also the right to obtain environmental information that is held or produced by public authorities." He added: “Information can be a powerful catalyst for change towards increased protection of the environment and I hope citizens will make the best use of it.” … The new directive on public access to environmental information provides that every natural or legal person, regardless of citizenship, nationality or residence, has a right of access to environmental information held or produced by public authorities. Examples of such information are data on emissions into the environment, their impact on public health and the results of environmental impact assessments … Thanks to Lance Christie of Moab for this alert.

Art Goodtimes is a San Miguel County commissioner.

The Symphony of Clouds
-for IW, cum laude
Imagine for a moment graphs
to keep track of clouds
instead of phone calls
& a daughter
as bright as she was original,
designing her own
future possible niche peaks.
Spikes & flats. One amazing handoff
at the North Rim, singing &
skipping round us, her mom
& dad
as dull a blade as ever
swashed & buckled. Ahoy!
But curious about all booty :>)
Even without a bell curve ball
coming down the pike,
icepick in the pineal,
it’s clear
sailing away from
here, the fabulous now,
that it’s Bell’s theorem rules.
And capital. Money to make
the machines that extend
our senses beyond our
ken. Our kind.
For me the bestest
sweetestmost thrill is still
one hand clasping another.
We don’t make nuttin’ happen
‘less’n’ be intendin’ to
is logic to cosmic
Sam I am,
the man of rhymes,
because such resonance of
reality repeats itself in sound.
So let me say it. Sing it. Weave
some way into the basket of
it. Bloom and bend
Iris Willow.
The future is the past.
Is the endless repetition of
this symphony of particulars.