Coal pollution, the presidential race, geezers, and more 


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Coal battles

As world leaders have returned from a historical climate agreement in Paris, I'm frustrated to learn that the Obama administration is considering allowing the expansion of Arch Coal's West Elk Mine that will force us backward in the fight against climate change and dirty energy sources here in Colorado ("Climate balks," SimpliCity, Dec. 16).

Following finalization of the EPA's Clean Power Plan, the first-ever limits on pollution from coal-fired plants, states are creating localized plans to cut carbon pollution by 32 percent by 2030.

Expansion of a mine that will spew between 13.6 and 43.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gases annually is counterproductive to Colorado's priorities, especially as federal tax breaks for wind and solar technology were extended recently to help boost clean energy.

If we're going to avoid the catastrophic 1.5 degrees Celsius increase in global temperatures that the United Nations cited in Paris, we need to stop investing in dirty coal and instead focus on the enormous potential to expand renewable energy projects in states like Colorado.

— Anna McDevitt

Environment Colorado

Not our choice

David Eckert wrote a compelling piece about Cruz vs. the men on Mount Rushmore (Letters, Dec. 23) but closed with "I'm a registered Independent voter who hopes our choices move beyond Cruz."

First, Colorado voters do not choose presidential candidates because of our obsolete caucus system and how late we come on the election calendar.

Colorado holds great sway in the general election because we are a purple state — neither firmly Republican nor Democrat.

But being a "registered Independent" pretty much means David holds no sway in anything local. Almost all positions in local governance such as county offices, etc., are decided in the Republican primary. Most state House and Senate districts in the area are also decided in the GOP primary. Nothing good or bad about that; it is just the way it is.

If David, or any other Independent, wants to carry any weight in local elections, registration needs to be changed to Republican in El Paso County. If this were Boulder, my advice would be to register as a Democrat following the exact same logic. In balanced areas, register as one or the other, just not Independent.

I am not suggesting Democrats register as Republicans. They have convictions that they need to answer to; I just see Independents as politically impotent.

— Tim Haley

Colorado Springs

Replace the geezers

I admire the "geezers" on City Council for their talents, dedication and competence. They work hard for us for virtually no pay, and they incur the wrath of every citizen with a bone to pick. It is a challenge they embrace.

That said, John Hazlehurst's piece ("No Council for old men," Dec. 16) hits the nail on the head, in my opinion. Council should reflect the community it serves and ours does not. Last election I looked very hard for young and diverse candidates and found few.

Those of you who are not white, male "geezers" with a commitment to serve and make our city a better place, belly up to the bar and prepare for a candidacy. And if you expect to win, you also need to get your cohorts to vote.

— Hank Scarangella

Colorado Springs

Heavy numbers

While searching Charity Navigator for Feeding America, whose CEO and president's salaries total $922,922, I continued researching and found four star-rated City of Hope, which has been around since 1913 with CEO salary $1,612,965; along with other four-stars — Breast Cancer Research Foundation, $626,926; Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, CEO $1,101,877 and vice president $1,191,147; Alzheimer's Association, $785,245; Catholic Charities of USA, CEO and COO combined, $713,423, etc.

Am I just naive to think this taints my idea of charity or do these CEOs deserve their salaries?

— Colleene Johnson

Colorado Springs

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