Re: Past prologue

I just finished reading Kate Collins’ article, “The past is prologue”. Back in the ‘80s, I took a tour of the capitol building in Denver. In reply to someone’s question, our guide said that when European-Americans first arrived in Colorado, “There were no people here.” It seems we’ve made some progress since then. At least we now seem to understand what constitutes “people.” Evans, Chivington, Byers and many others had no idea at all.

James Nelson, Hanoi, Vietnam

Stop the Uinta Basin Railway

It’s hard to believe even the most calloused oil and gas industrialist would ever dream of transporting extremely viscous, heated oil up the Union Pacific Railroad along the I-70 corridor next to the Colorado and Eagle rivers, across some of Colorado’s most environmentally sensitive areas.

Yet that is exactly what the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition in Utah is planning to do. They want to build an 88-mile railroad from the oil fields in Myton, Utah in the Uinta Basin to Kyune, Utah on the Union Pacific line. From there, the oil tanker rail cars will cross Colorado and continue down to the refineries in Louisiana and Texas at a rate of 350,000 barrels per day.

The new rail line in Utah was approved by the Forest Service and the Surface Transportation Board. The environmental impact assessment they did was for the new line in Utah only. The impacts upstream weren’t considered.

Having worked on a track gang, I can tell you Murphy’s Law applies when it comes to rail traffic. Derailments are frequent. Tanker cars leak. Sparks fly from steel wheels on steel rails.

Eagle County has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse the Forest Service ruling. Amicus briefs have been filed by Routt, Boulder, Chaffee, Lake and Pitkin counties and the municipalities of Glenwood Springs, Avon, Minturn and Vail.

Conspicuously missing are Garfield and Mesa counties and Grand Junction. The Garfield County Commissioners are known for spending millions on a lawsuit that benefits the oil and gas industry. One wonders why they wouldn’t get behind one that protects the local environment.

In addition to supporting the lawsuit, I encourage you to contact President Joe Biden, Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The Forest Service is under the Department of Agriculture.

Don’t believe that the Uinta Basin oil will lower gas prices. There is no oil shortage. The United States is still the third largest oil exporter in the world. If you want to know why the price at the pump is so high, just check big oil’s balance sheet.

Fred Malo Jr., Carbondale

A democracy, or a republic?

Why has the word “democracy” replaced the word “republic” in nearly all present-day communications — either spoken, published or broadcasted — about the United States Constitution? The word “democracy” will never be found in our nation’s constitution, nor in our First Amendment through our last, the 27th Amendment in 1992.

The Founders, during debates regarding the forms of government our new nation might pursue, rejected democracy. The word “democracy” is found on less than 50 pages of the 1,400 collected of the Founders’ political writings, from 1760 through 1850. They believed a republican form of government with a stable constitution would guarantee the citizens’ “unalienable rights.”

Fisher Ames, a congressman in our nation’s first Federal Congress of 1789, clearly states in a simple sentence, “The … political wisdom in framing the constitution was to guard against licentiousness, that inbred malady of democracies.” They believed that to vote an unconstrained approval of a matter of substance could overburden government well beyond what it could ever properly provide or afford.

Our nation has been reasonably stable over the past 250 years. The ever-increasing reliance on “democracy” and less on the self-reliance of our republic will continue the melting away of our founding principles. We must never abandon our pledge of so many years ago. “I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands.”

Floyd Diemoz, Glenwood Springs