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Letters – June 8, 2023

Locations: Letters, Opinion Published

Correction: We mistakenly printed that Carbondale’s Memorial Day tradition was hosted by the American Legion Post 101 (located in Anton Chico, New Mexico). It was of course hosted by Post 100 (97 North Third Street).

Holy Cross election
If you are a Holy Cross Energy member, ballots were delivered to you recently and now you have a chance to make your voice heard. All members are eligible to vote, regardless of voter registration or immigration status — if you receive electric service from Holy Cross, you are a member and have the right to vote for who you want to represent you on the board.

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In this year’s Holy Cross election I am supporting Alex DeGolia, running in the Western District. Alex shares my values to protect our air, climate, and water by investing in clean, affordable, renewable electricity. Over the past several years, Holy Cross has become a state and national leader in transitioning to clean energy and protecting our climate. This has helped save members money while ensuring a safer, better future for our families.

Ballots must be returned by June 13, or you can vote online in your Holy Cross account or in-person at the annual meeting June 15. Remember, all elections are important, don’t forget to vote.

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Beatriz Soto, New Castle

Forest Service building
It’s hard to enumerate all the failures represented by the plans presented for replacing our quaint USFS regional office. 

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It’s not just the site plan designed around the need for plenty of pavement so 20’ pickups towing 60’ house trailers can “pull through.“ Salida’s new USFS regional center has that, but it’s out on the highway at the edge of town. Could we have pull-outs next to one of our bus stops on 133? Let ’em ride the shuttle in if the rig’s too awkward. 

Then there is the sunbelt branch bank, or modernist junior high-inspired exterior. Can’t the Forest Service find a way to clad this region’s buildings mostly in wood? They did for years. The 1995 vintage Hahn’s Peak office in Steamboat has lap siding, protected by generous roof overhangs. 

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Then, despite calls from the president for an “all of government” approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, there is the gas rooftop unit heating, steel stud walls, metal with plastic roof and aluminum frame windows. Those details were in a presentation a few years ago of what I assume were the same plans. Most likely the “energy design” is the minimum required by decade-plus-old national standards using the Garfield County defaults, which are based on the warmer Rifle airport weather station. Plenty of designers here could whip out efficient, electrified heating plans for a 6,000-square-foot office. 

Looking at the USFS website, it seems they lost their own design team a dozen years ago, and I can only surmise they are required to use the GSA’s “Public Building Standards.” Sure, some of the Forest Service designs from 40 years ago used unfortunate adaptations of a traditional hip roof style. But they seemed to be improving and at least should be allowed some kind of identity based on forest products. Not just for image; using wood products sequesters carbon instead of emitting greenhouse gasses while making steel. 

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But it’s probably 10 years late for the replacement of those buildings. So this is what us Boomers leave the kids when we allow our public lands services to be repeatedly defunded via “limits on discretionary spending.”

Fred Porter, Carbondale

The “Protect the Dolores Film Tour” at TACAW was very well attended on Wednesday, May 31. If you have not hiked or rafted the Dolores River Canyon country, you are missing a stunningly beautiful country! 

The Dolores River is in Southwest Colorado and is over 170 miles long. It is the only red rock river canyon in Colorado. It runs from high alpine country above 12,000 feet, all the way to the desert, meeting up with the Colorado River.

As one of the speakers, Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk of the Ute Mountain Ute, said: this is my home and heart, and we need to protect this area for all future generations! I couldn’t agree more.

It will take all of us to help protect the Dolores River Canyon and the time is now! Please consider signing the petition located at this website:

For more information on the Dolores River:

Richard Walker, Carbondale

Smoky haze
The smokey haze from wildfires that has been lingering over Western Slope skies for the past two weeks is a reminder that our own beetle-kill fueled fire season is upon us. 

The 2020 Colorado State Forest Service Survey presented the following statistics on beetle-kill:

More than 834 million trees destroyed by beetle-kill are rotting in Colorado forests.

Over 22% of standing trees in Colorado forests are dead.

Since the mid-1990s, mountain pine beetle has affected 3.4 million acres of ponderosa-lodgepole pine in Colorado, while the spruce beetle has killed 40% of Colorado’s Engelmann spruce forests. In total, beetle-kill has ravaged some 5.1 million acres of forest in Colorado.

Wood products created by logging store carbon.

While beetle kill has resulted in a significant amount of dead trees, there are options for use of the trees after they are killed. Beetle-kill harvesters and woodworkers are using beetle-kill lumber for siding, furniture, framing lumber, cabinetry, paneling, and finish molding.

The Forest Service charges beetle-kill harvesters $20 to remove two cords of wood here in Colorado. Rotting trees increase greenhouse gasses in forest ecosystems by 25%.

With more than 834 million dead trees moldering away in our forests here in Colorado, we need to compensate people to harvest that decaying fuel, and we need to incentivize producers to sell beetle-kill products free from federal taxation.

The next congressman from Congressional District #3 needs to introduce legislation to pay people to harvest beetle-kill lumber from our forests, and to eliminate federal income taxes on products sold that are made with at least 51% beetle-kill wood. Language needs to be included to expedite logging road approval from the Department of Interior.

Russ Andrews, Carbondale

Editor’s note: Andrews is running against Lauren Boebert for the GOP nomination in Colorado’s Third Congressional District.

Letters policy: The Sopris Sun welcomes local letters to the editor. Shorter letters stand a better chance of being printed. Letters exclusive to The Sopris Sun (not appearing in other papers) are particularly welcome. Please include your name and place of residence or association. Letters are due to by noon on the Monday before we go to print.

Tags: #Beatriz Soto #Fred Porter #letters #Richard Walker #Russ Andrews
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