Letters to the editor | SteamboatToday.com

Letters to the editor

Say no to gravel pit

Lafarge Corporation’s application to operate a gravel pit and batch plant on the More Ranch is in non-compliance with the Routt County Master Plan and relevant sub-area plans. This plan encourages the following: ” … ensure that new long-term mineral extraction operations will not be visible along entryways to existing and potential growth centers.” Yet, this operation is being considered at two major entryways into Steamboat Springs, one via U.S. Highway 40 down from Rabbit Ears Pass and one via Colo. Highway 131 from Interstate 70. The applicant shows the operation as not being visible by tucking it against the hillside under U.S. 40 and by planning berms to hide it from Colo. 131. These schemes may hide the operation at the outset; however, once the precedent has been set by approval of the operation, subsequent expansion of the operation into the remaining 500 acres will surely be difficult to stop.

Lafarge’s mitigation schemes include setbacks, locations within the natural topography (i.e., flat plain), limitation of disturbed area, berming and landscaping with cottonwood and willow plantings.

These schemes to hide the operation by tucking it back against the hills under U.S. 40, by placing the batch plant below ground level in the excavation, and through the installation of berms or tree lines between the operation and Colo. 131 are not economically feasible. Further, if similar, existing berms are any indication of the berms being proposed, they are not an acceptable mitigation at these major entrances to the valley. Berms don’t vegitate well, trees don’t grow well on them, and they typically continue to look like weed-covered piles of rock. If Lafarge’s plan is to mitigate the visual impact through tree planting, the trees would have to be extensive and very tall. Setbacks may work initially; however, as stated above, the precedent of approving 20 percent of the More Ranch in this application will give the remaining 80 percent a high probability of being mined. That places the operation closer and closer to Colo. 131 as well as more and more visible from U.S. 40. Finally, none of these schemes mitigate the industrial stench generated by a batch plant.

The establishment of the proposed industrial operation south of Steamboat Springs sets a terrible precedent that, once approved, cannot be reversed. This industrial intrusion into the agriculture of the south valley floor near two major entrances to the valley (i.e., the very first “scenic vistas” seen by the majority of visitors) is in total non-compliance with the master plan and applicable sub-area plans. It is a slap in the face to all who worked entire careers in order to be able to afford to live in such a neighborhood. Finally, if the “right of use” implied by land ownership is extended to this extent, there is no reason to spend countless hours and dollars on the planning processes which have been completed and which are updated on a continuing basis.

Candy and Maury Bunn

Routt County

Padgett property

My Irish temper hit high marks Tuesday when I read in the Today the article concerning the acquisition of certain property.

William Padgett’s parents owned that land when the Soda Creek Elementary School was built. It has been his home all of his life, the home in which he nursed and nurtured his ailing mother until she died. It belongs to William Padgett. It is his to keep or sell as he chooses, and personally I don’t think the city fathers should have the power to confiscate it.

It boggles my mind to think the government has the power to take from a person, who has done no wrong, lives peacefully among his neighbors and is kind to everyone, the roof from over his head, as they seem to be threatening to do. It just ain’t right.

Now, turn to page 10 of the same paper: “Mouse has Douglas County by the tail.” The government is spending hundreds of dollars and diligently defending the right of a rodent, the Preble Meadow Jumping Mouse, to maintain his domain because it might become extinct. Man versus mouse.

Joanne Cannon

Steamboat Springs

Look at history

Do you ever find yourself questioning people’s motives or believing that people do not rationalize their actions and completely analyze the situation? That is how I felt March 21 as I stood on the streets of Santa Barbara, Calif., and observed a group of anti-war demonstrators. I found myself questioning their motives as they chanted “no blood for oil” and I also found myself losing respect for the demonstrators as they state the belief that President Bush is completely incompetent and on a personal crusade.

When people make these statements, I have to wonder if they are at all knowledgeable on the issues surrounding this war or if they are even willing to consider facts supporting the other side. If people believe that we are at war for oil, they must not have heard the words of Prime Minister Blair, who said that all the proceeds from oil sales will be put into a U.N. fund and only benefit Iraq. Also, the price of this war will far outweigh any amount of money that the U.S. might gain from controlling the oil fields in Iraq.

For those people who believe that Bush is on a personal crusade, I would prefer them to say that the leaders of the executive branch and military are on a personal crusade and incompetent. And if these people can demonstrate that they are as educated and knowledgeable on this war as the leaders of this country, then I will respect their protest and points of view because I will know it is from a position of knowledge and not hollow emotions. I simply wish that people would consider all the facts, and then make a rational judgment and assessment of the situation.

The last time I checked, war was an inherent component of human civilization and the keeping of peace. Or maybe it isn’t and I have spoken too quickly. Let us imagine U.S. history without the use of war and only the use of diplomacy. The Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War II — there is no possibility that diplomatic, non-violent approaches to peace would have been successful. So all of Europe and the Pacific would have been conquered by oppressive governments, the Holocaust would have continued for much longer, Europe would have been even more crushed by war, and the world we live in today would have been much different. This all would have happened because the U.S. believed that war and violence was not the answer and diplomacy would be successful.

I do not disagree that there is a time to protest and to question what the leaders of our country are doing. This is a privilege guaranteed to every citizen of the United States by the Bill of Rights. Yet, I wish that each protest would be backed by knowledge and not ignorance.Where I see so many problems with the protesters of this war is that many of their fundamental beliefs are incomplete and can be disproved by simple facts.

The U.N. and the U.S. have been trying to diplomatically disarm Iraq for more than 12 years. So you ask, is war the answer? Well, it depends on the question.

Tyler Johnson

Steamboat Springs

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