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Rodger Steen: Scott Tipton and responsible governance

A column by Rep. Scott Tipton was published under “Commentary” on page 8 of the June 13 Steamboat Pilot & Today. There are so many incorrect statements in that article that the limited length of this letter allows me to address only a few of them.

In his commentary, he refers to his June 1  Natural Resources Field hearing in Grand Junction and his push for “responsible development” of the natural gas and oil shale resource in Western Colorado. That hearing summary provides his position on this resource development, which includes shipment of the gas across the Pacific to China.

He refers to “responsible development” four times and also development in “an environmentally sound way” in that short article. He appears to be begging for us to believe him. We the residents in his district are smart enough to be convinced only by his actions, not his words.

He speaks of jobs creation. Apparently, he is unaware that neither gas production in Colorado nor the Pacific Coast gas liquefaction plant (the Jordan Cove Project), nor the long pipeline connecting the two create many jobs, and those created are largely for construction only, which are temporary jobs. This proposed extraction of our natural resource creates almost no jobs for U.S. citizens. They go to China and its industry. So, in fact, development of our natural gas resource provides insignificant American job creation.

He equates leaving some of the gas in the ground as wasting it. Banking a limited resource is not the same as wasting it.

In the last year, he and his party in Congress have or are in the process of 1) gutting the Bureau of Land Management methane rule — that would require lower wasting of our national gas reserves through greater collection at the wellhead and which would have brought in more revenue to the US treasury — 2) dropping the BLM methane rule that would have decreased methane emissions and therefore the effects of methane emissions on climate change and 3) reversing the recent EPA rules to require better emission controls on natural gas extraction, controls that have already passed public and industry review. They have been deemed reasonably available and are in use in some states. These emissions contain toxins, such as benzene, and cause ozone formation. Both are health-related problems.

In the June 1 meeting overview, he refers to the regulatory and NEPA delays in permitting natural gas and oilshale projects as a problem. Apparently, these delays caused by the anticipated collateral environmental and social damage of these projects are to be put aside.

He is promoting full steam ahead on resource development regardless of the collateral environmental damage. Is this his responsible resource development?

The House Natural Resources Committee field meeting he hosted in Grand Junction included invited speakers only; no public comment was allowed and thus, was a scripted meeting. This meeting appears to have been more a candidate’s donor meeting than a public information transfer.

So, his effort is to sell another American natural resource, which is a one-time deal. Once produced and sold, it is gone forever. The sale would provide insignificant American labor, give the related manufacturing jobs to China, eliminate the royalty revenue from all the wasted gas during production, eliminate use of the currently available emission control technology and disregard collateral environmental and social damage.

And this is the “responsible development” he refers to repeatedly in the article? Not a chance. Rep. Tipton says one thing but, in fact, is doing something completely different.

Now, this November, we have the opportunity to select a representative that acts consistently with his word and acts in the best interests of his constituents. We have better choices than Rep. Scott Tipton.

Rodger Steen

Western Colorado Alliance

Steamboat Springs


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