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Winners/losers

Dear Editor:

I am glad Mr. Jim Huffman checked my numbers and found my error of a factor of two in the conversions. A metric ton is1,000 kilograms, not 2,000 kg as I erroneously assumed. Sorry about that. I grew up in the days before SI units.

It might come as a surprise to Mr. Huffman that he is defending the policy of China, which is the world’s greatest producer of carbon dioxide. In 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, China produced 6,534 million metric tons of carbon dioxide compared to 5,833 million metric tons for the USA. (No conversions here.)

He also might be surprised to learn that News Corp, the parent company of Fox News, aims to go carbon neutral. In 2007, CEO Rupert Murdock stated, “Climate change poses clear catastrophic effects.” He also stated, the move was, “simply good business.” Rupert is apparently influenced by his son who is reportedly a Greenie. Of course, Rupert is no fool; he lets his hucksters on Fox News peddle snake oil for metric tons of money. I’ll bet Mr. Huffman and Mr. Sawicki will be delighted to learn the Admiral David Titley, U.S. Navy, gave a seminar at Sandia National Labs entitled, “Climate Change and National Security.”

No-nonsense businessmen take global warming seriously. For instance, the 2.6 billion dollar Colorado ski industry lobbies Congress for renewable energy projects. Grape growers around the world are in a tizzy about the minor changes in temperature. The properties of grapes are strongly influenced by minor changes in temperature. The German firm, Beluga Shipping, a super-heavy lifts transport company, saved about a million dollars by sending their ships along the Northeast Passage along the north coast of Russia instead of the 11,000-mile trip around Asia and Europe. A savings made possible by the melting of the Arctic ice pack. The insurance industry is already feeling the effects of global warming. In 2008, even without Katrina, catastrophic losses topped 200 billion globally with 45 billion in the USA, the third highest ever.

The real concern of global warming is not the small average temperature rise, but the increased variability and severability of weather related events. Any physical system, such as the earth, will ring up as ever more energy is supplied.

Engineers study climate trends because if hundred year catastrophic weather events occur every ten years, structures will have to be designed to accommodate such changes. Admirals study climate change for a host of reasons associated with sea level changes, and insurance company mathematicians to set premiums on crops and outdoor events such as PGA golf tournaments. This morning, NOAA announced that June was the warmest month on record.

Global climate change will produce winners and losers. Which will you be? Which will the USA be?

Bob Dungan

Arboles

What?

Dear Editor:

There are some things you just don’t do.

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape

You don’t spit into the wind

You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger

And you don’t plant a garbage dump in your front yard…

Well, okay, that’s not quite how that refrain ends, but let’s face it, no one likes eyesores in their neighborhood. In some areas of Pagosa, you have to pay for written approval by the powers that patrol your neighborhood just to stain your deck.

Say you received a letter from the county stating your neighbor will be making “some improvements” to their property that “may” affect yours. You think, “What improvements’could be so bad?” You ask some questions, get no responses, dig deeper, and soon find out what’s planned is an eyesore that’s 120 feet wide, 100 deep, and 60 tall. What? How the heck did he get a permit for that? And no one else in your very big, beautiful neighborhood has a problem with this? You wonder if the other residents in the neighborhood even know about it.

That’s the question surrounding the issue of LPEA’s conditional use permit to move forward in constructing a virtually new substation on the incoming, westbound side of 160 just outside of town. What do residents of Pagosa really know about it? The county planning department calls it a “proposed upgrade to the existing Ponderosa electrical station.” Truth is, since no part of the existing substation will remain, it’s a new construction — and it is big.

How big? How about an area nine times the footprint of what’s there now. With a structure that is 39 times the size of the existing one. And towers rising up to 65 feet above ground with an 85-wide entrance that’s not mitigated by “landscaping.” (Don’t want to block that great view, huh?) And finally, a 7-foot chainlink fence with a barbed wire topper.

Then put it on our front lawn as a welcome mat to Pagosa.

What?

Basically, the existing substation sits on land now zoned for agricultural ranching, grandfathered there since the 1960s when no zoning was in place. It will be rebuilt, not expanded, requiring a new building application that should adhere to current codes.

Pagosa’s greatest source of commerce is tourism, half of which enters through our western portal. This was the issue which Mark Weiler, president of Parelli Pagosa Properties, made before the BoCC on July 6. “The BoCC are the guardians of the county’s future,” he said. “Please don’t hold the LPEA and community victims to bad planning (by the County Planning Department) by perpetuating a very big mistake in granting this permit.”

Parelli engineers and LPEA representatives have been working together to find an alternate solution, including site location. Now the BoCC needs to do it’s job to enforce the zoning codes. Basically, don’t stop it — move it.

Do we really want to put this in our front yard?

There are some things you just don’t do.

Sabine Baeckmann-Elge

Pride

Dear Editor:

Who has community pride? Why, Aspen Springs does! And we invite you to come out and show it. On Thursday, July 22, from 5-8 p.m., Aspen Springs Metropolitan District (ASMD) and Aspen Springs Community Pride (ASCP) will co-host a community potluck dinner at the Metro building located on Metro Drive in Aspen Springs Subdivision Unit 5. ASMD and ASCP will provide picnic supplies, hot dogs and hamburgers and call potluck on the sides and drinks. Please also bring any available lawn chairs.

ASMD and ASCP will have information available to potluckers about important happenings in the neighborhood, such as the well/fill station, parks and rec and Fire Wise. We are also looking for public input on parks/rec planning, growth vision strategies and the possibility of creating a completely sustainable community in our beloved Aspen Springs.

To get there, turn south off U.S. 160, on Hurt Drive (across from Turkey Springs Trading Post), follow until you can take a left on Ute Drive, then Metro Drive is on the right.

So, if you live or own in Aspen Springs, or just plain desire to take part in positive growth action, then we hope to see you there.

Who has community pride? Aspen Springs does, that’s who!

Holly Fulbright

Overkill

Dear Editor:

Stimulus project on Handicap at Piedra Road.

I have been at my home for three weeks, during which time some 300 yards of Handicap have been worked as if it were part of an interstate highway project: heavy duty construction equipment in large number, much digging and widening with said equipment, and only a handful of actual workmen on the job.

This is deliberate overkill, suggesting to my mind a willful expenditure of federal stimulus funds way beyond the requirements of the simple paving project otherwise required.

Is this an example of contract “feather-bedding?” If this were a “shovel-ready” project (to put people to work), where are the men with shovels? Is this a waste of taxpayer money?

Lee Paige