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Vote Bertuglia, Gardner and Klesner for Holy Cross board

I am running for the Holy Cross Energy Northern district seat previously held by Adam Palmer of Eagle. Next week, ballots arrive in HCE member mailboxes for three board positions. Two incumbents, Kristen Bertuglia and Robert Gardner, are up for re-election and have shown great leadership on the board and receive my wholehearted endorsement. I ask for your vote for Adam’s seat to continue HCE’s environmental leadership and carry on his legacy for our community.

I have been integrating sustainably into my engineering career for more than 20 years and am so lucky to call Eagle home with my wife and children. Our communities were devastated this winter when we lost several of our leaders, friends and environmental advocates. There are very big shoes to fill but together Eagle and our neighbors are doing so.

I served in the USAF and was ingrained to act with integrity first and excellence through continual preparation. More recently as a professional engineer, I have integrated technology to plan and deliver efficient infrastructure and renewable energy on commercial and federal projects. Today, I masterplan Microsoft’s cloud, and similar to our power system, both must be sustainable, resilient, and affordable.

Holy Cross have enacted bold plans and been leaders in sustainability. I want to continue that journey by helping execute on the 100 by 30 plan to lead to 100% renewable power. Please keep an eye for the ballot and vote for Bertuglia, Gardner and Klesner in this upcoming HCE election.

Keith Klesner

Eagle

Vote Kristen Bertuglia for Holy Cross

I have known Kristen Bertuglia for many years. As a public servant and dedicated professional, she is a competent leader who cares about our community. In her last decade of service as a Holy Cross Energy board member, she has helped lead our co-op toward innovative and industry leading goals. Even more, she has been a part of the board that committed to 100% renewable energy by 2030, while keeping our rates the lowest in the state.

Holy Cross is a model utility and I urge you to cast your vote for Kristen.

Robert Schilling

Cordillera

Reelecting Bertuglia the right choice

Please join me in voting to re-elect Kristen Bertuglia to the Holy Cross Energy board of directors. Kristen has served on the HCE board for the past nine years and has been instrumental in helping develop the vision, goals and strategies for a clean energy future.

During Kristen’s service on the board, HCE has become one of the most innovative, progressive, and industry-leading electric utilities in the country. She has supported the HCE 70% renewable energy commitment, without increasing rates, and the latest goal, 100 percent by 2030. Kristen has proven her commitment to providing safe, affordable, reliable power, with over $4.5 million returned to HCE members just last year in member equity.

I have served alongside Kristen during many community sustainability initiatives in the Eagle Valley. She is an energetic and tireless champion of initiatives that create better futures for all. Kristen has a deep understanding of the energy and utility industry, energy policy and program development, and solution-oriented partnerships with non-profits and local governments. As Vail’s environmental sustainability director, she is committed to listening proactively to citizen’s and creating solutions for climate change, environment, economy, social equity, diversity, and wildfire resilience.

Kim Langmaid

Vail

Kristen Bertuglia for Holy Cross Energy

You have probably received your ballot in the mail by now for the Holy Cross Energy board of directors. This board has made a huge contribution to protecting and improving our communities by their dedication to renewable energy, at the same time saving money for Holy Cross co-op members.

Kristen Bertuglia has once again stepped up to run for re-election to the board. Kristen’s deep understanding of the energy and utility industry, energy policies and programs, and leadership of a co-op make her uniquely qualified to serve as a director. Her experience will serve us well.

Kristen has served on the board for nine years. She is always available to community members, listening to concerns and sharing ideas. She is a dedicated community leader with a long-term vision for sustainability and our mountain quality of life. She has recently championed the pro-active investment in protecting the Holy Cross system from wildfire.

There are many candidates running for the two seats in the Northern District. I urge you to choose carefully, and to cast one of your votes for the imminently qualified Kristen Bertuglia!

Kathy Chandler-Henry

Eagle

Tony Vagneur: Grazing for some ranch land a tall task


It’s that time of year again – the dandelions are blooming, cottonwoods are leafing out, grass is throwing off its winter doldrums and with a little help from the weather, is coming up green. If we can keep it that way, most people will be happier.

Which means, yep, it’s irrigating season in the valley, as well. Personally, it’s a beautiful way to start off the summer, running ice cold water down ditches, spreading it out over hayfields and pastures, and keeping an optimistic outlook for the hay crop and green grazing ahead. The smell of the awakening earth is somehow transfixing and makes one pause.

Slipping into that arctic water before the sun has had a chance to come up, maybe staring down a cow or sometimes a deer who has labeled you a trespasser, can be a bit exhilarating. On one occasion, I thought the splashing I heard around the bend was a big fish, turns out it was a big bear playing with a big fish. That can be invigorating. Or doing an out-of-control slide down a watery, mud-slick ditch bank, doing outrageous contortions in a poor imitation of a Cirque de Soleil performance, all in an attempt to avoid ignominiously splashing down and drowning your cell phone.

You ski hard, damned near every day, hitting those bumps like Bob Snyder puttin’ a zipper on ‘em, and you think you’re in shape. Those thighs of steel don’t mean much when the seasons change. Every spring, it’s the same thing: You have to get in shape for ranch work, dragging wet, 40-pound tarps around from here to there, climbing through barbed wire fences all bent over, and picking up and moving rocks that push upward of 75 pounds each from the icy cold depths. Of course, it’s the opposite when ski season rolls around — you need to regain “skiing shape.” The continuum of living around here.

Then, in between irrigating rounds, you need to saddle up those broncs that haven’t been doing much except burning hay all winter — sometimes they have a different attitude about protocols and the game plan. You’re not exactly in shape for that in the spring, either, if you’ve been skiing a lot, but you gotta love those horses, no matter.

People are moving here, paying outrageous prices for real estate, some of it decent agricultural land. Probably most of them have no idea what they’ve bitten off, probably don’t care, and the land will suffer. On the other hand, some of them will take it seriously and try to make a go of a gentleman’s ranch or some iteration thereof. But there’s no way any of them are going to buy enough land to seriously get into the ranching business.

The lesson is this: If you’re in the ranching concern in Pitkin County, you know what it takes. If you’re not already on the inside track, you’ll never get there, not on your own pocketbook. There isn’t a piece of ranch land that has sold in the past 20 years that didn’t require re-zoning of some sort, just so the new owner could afford it, with perhaps one exception. That includes high-priced conservation easements or attractive tax savings for people with big money.

Just by coincidence, I know some local ranchers and just like everywhere else, they work damned hard for what they get out of it, and money isn’t the driving force. But they know one thing that a lot of fresh-faced kids out of ag school don’t: if you want to be a rancher, especially in this valley, you have to have a way of paying for it that isn’t ranching. Keeping land irrigated, fertilized, re-seeded and productive costs a lot more than many people are willing to pay. Taking care of livestock is a defining responsibility.

Yeah, but look at what land is worth, you say? That’s a real estate agent’s conceit. If you’re in the real estate business, you’re not in ranching. That kind of talk is antipathy. Agricultural land is worth its carrying capacity in cows and/or crops, not much more.

So, if you’re thinking about getting into the ranching business, maybe to give the kids something to do while on school break, start combing the real estate ads. But you better hurry – most suitable listings are under contract by the time you can find your cell phone.

Tony Vagneur writes here on Saturdays and welcomes your comments at ajv@sopris.net.

We the People of the Roaring Fork Valley deserve cleaner air

Recently Mr. Will Hodges of 350 Colorado penned a guest commentary in The Aspen Times (“Gov. Polis threatens to veto bill giving teeth to his climate goals”), whereby Hodges is critical of Gov. Jared Polis who intends to veto SB-200, “The Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions — Increase Environmental Justice Act.”

While the GHG emissions reductions goals of SB-200 are quite worthy, it’s the method to get there with the Orwellian “Committee on Environmental Justice” that should frighten everyone. However, with climate in mind, for the Roaring Fork Valley to achieve the 90% CO2 reduction/2030 goals, there has to be developed in western Colorado a fundamentally new energy infrastructure, completely independent of the legacy inertia of relying on Second Wave utilities such as Holy Cross and Excel.

Here is a link to the new High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) “disruptive technology” to distribute over new microgrids, the soon coming “carbon-neutral electricity,” including “Blue Hydrogen Electricity (assets.siemens-energy.com/siemens/assets/api/uuid:405e0dab4b449fef20f123882700d4f496426149/emts-b10025-00-7600-ws-hvdc-classic144dpi.pdf). This HVDC technological innovation is perfect for the carbon-neutral electricity for the transportation sector of the Roaring Fork Valley, to transition away from the internal combustion engine into a zero emissions electric vehicle, including Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (HFCEV).

Its a fool’s errand to believe the Roaring Fork Valley will achieve a 26% reductions in GHG emissions by 2025 as envisioned by the state of Colorado. Conversely, in order to achieve a 50% GHG reduction by 2030, a new Third Wave energy infrastructure, independent of Holy Cross and Excel, must be innovated and created in the Roaring Fork Valley. The “HVDC carbon-neutral microgrid” is a new energy delivery infrastructure, with “HVDC” and “Blue Hydrogen,” to power “Green Hydrogen” fueling stations, (from Parachute to Aspen), to fuel HFCEVs.

The Garfield County treasury has over $15 million in the “Oil & Gas Mitigation Fund.” I propose to use that money to fund these preliminary consultants to present public proposals to We the People of the Roaring Fork Valley:

Time is of the essence: The Garfield County treasury has the cash in the Oil & Gas Mitigation Fund to fund the “seed corn capital” necessary to hire these two HVDC/Hydrogen consultants.

Carl L. McWilliams

Glenwood Springs

Roger Marolt: The eyes are upon Texas


“What starts here, changes the world.” It’s more than a slogan at the University of Texas at Austin. It’s their promise. As a rally cry over the PA system before a football game, it’s enough to bring chills. I am not an alum. I’m a fan. I am a proud Longhorn dad, husband and son-in-law.

I’m also disappointed with the Board of Trustees’ decision to continue an awkwardly too long embrace of the traditional school song, “The eyes of Texas are Upon Us.” It’s creepy. It touches inappropriately. You know, it’s sung to the tune of “I’ve been working on the railroad.” It gets worse.

The song has a history. It is sung pre and post at every UT sporting event. The tune concludes commencement ceremonies. It evokes sentiment of good times at college and rekindles fierce loyalty to the institution upon every rendition played. Through the outsized influence UT has on the Lone Star State, the song is an iconic symbol for all of Texas. It’s also offensive to many.

But, just as much of U.S. history has been examined lately and revealed to be coddling systemic racism in the ways it has been traditionally told, the song, too, has been recognized for hurtful racial overtones. The song was first performed by UT students in 1903 during a minstrel show. A report by the school found that the song was regularly performed in this manner until the mid-1960s. Many are concerned and want the song severed from school custom and tradition.

As the proudly liberal flagship institution of the UT system, I’ll bet a 72-ounce steak against a bushel of Brussels sprouts that the majority of Austin campus students, faculty and alumni support mothballing the fight song. Yet, leaders of the institution insist, “‘The Eyes of Texas’ is and will remain our alma mater.” The marching band will continue to play it. The athletic director has mandated that all football players stand when the song is sung after football games. As one school donor wrote, as quoted by The New York Times, “the Blacks are free, and it’s time for them to move on to another state where everything is in their favor.”

It comes down to money. The school is trading principle for principal. Apparently their strategy is to change the world with cash. The problem is that buying your way to success through that means is still subject to interpretation. There is smart money and dumb money. I think the University of Texas at Austin is doubling down with bills of idiocy and coins of foolishness.

Have the decision-makers at UT thought about the future, because you have to do that to change the world, right? Do any of them believe the song will still be sung at a football game five years from now? Our country is going through the second great awakening on the fronts of equality and inclusiveness. My guess is that five years from now the school’s fight song will be gone, and this controversy will seem embarrassing. Can the song possibly survive and the school maintain its national reputation as an elite university? What’s starting in the world, will change UT.

If you’re worried about us rewriting history now, consider that we wouldn’t have to if we had let Black people write any of it when it was happening. It’s not about creating white guilt, it’s about evoking Black empathy. It’s time we gave up on the lazy notion that, if it ain’t woke, don’t fix it. This is not to assuage guilt, it is to treat others as we would like to be treated.

The shortsightedness of the school’s leadership is from knowing they need money to uphold the schools prestige, but failing to see how embracing one hurtful song in order to get more can undo everything, diminishing much goodwill they have created.

For a moment I thought it might be an acceptable compromise to keep the traditional tune but replace its old words with new ones that inspire acceptance. But, that would be like carving the face of Martin Luther King Jr. onto a statue of Robert E. Lee. It would be an insulting joke. The best way to remedy an offense is to remove the offense. UT’s old song has hit a sour note. What a good excuse to change their tune. The world can then be next.

Roger Marolt likes the weird Austin, not the dumb one. Email at roger@maroltllp.com.

Guest commentary: Gov. Polis threatens to veto bill giving teeth to his climate goals

What is going on?

There is a viable, meaningful climate bill going through the Colorado legislature but few Coloradans know. A year after the worst wildfire season on record, heading into what could be another, one would think addressing the climate crisis would be on our minds and lips.

Senate Bill 200 would put some teeth to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Roadmap that the Gov. Jared Polis signed two years ago. The road map aims to cut our emissions by a quarter in five years and by half in 10. Legislators frustrated with the lack of progress introduced SB21-200, which would require regulators to implement the road map by next year. Guess what? Gov. Polis says he’ll veto it.

Gov. Polis, are you really in favor of doing something on climate? Are you concerned about the unceasing gassing of our skies from our power plants, oil and gas operations, refineries and cars (and, increasingly, forests, which we need to take up CO2)? Are you not registering the alarm bells? Don’t you have children?

Colorado has warmed 2.8°F degrees since 1900, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The past five years were the warmest on record. In February, the snowpack in the upper Colorado Basin was 67% of normal.

Currently, half the state is in severe drought, 30% is rated “exceptional.”

Last summer, 665,454 acres of Colorado burned. More acreage burned in one year than in any previous five-year period. What stood out about last year’s fires was not simply their size but their ferocity and timing. The East Troublesome Fire exploded from 18,000 to 180,000 acres in one day. In October.

Maybe Gov. Polis is moved more by dollars and cents. The NCEI also estimates our three largest fires in 2020 cost roughly $1.7 billion. Not counting health costs.

Gov. Polis told the Colorado Springs Gazette he opposes “one unelected body” having “dictatorial authority” over the economy.

This is criminal. We are at tipping points. The Arctic is on fire and the Amazon is beginning to release more carbon than it absorbs. Governor, do you want us to believe we don’t need enforceable measures to transition our economy? Does anyone still buy the false dichotomy pitting the economy against protecting the environment? What does Gov. Polis believe spiraling fires and heat waves will mean for our economy?

Governor, climate disasters are going to have dictatorial authority over our lives soon unless you act.

Gov. Polis is pretending the legislature didn’t give his Air Quality Control Commission exactly such authority under the road map. The AQCC fleshed out its road map plan in January. It is long on assumptions and short on enforceable measures.

Given the enormous challenge of decarbonizing the economy, given the lag time of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, given the uncertainties of how social and natural systems will respond, we need significant cuts in the near term. Given the challenge of replacing all our cars, trucks and appliances, the place to start is our power supply — by replacing coal and gas-powered electricity with renewables. That means retiring coal plants earlier and phasing out fracking.

The AQCC proposes cutting emissions from the oil and gas sector by 50% by 2030. But it vastly underestimates the methane leakage from fracking. The state accepts the industry’s 2.9% leak rate estimate on its face. Robert Howarth at Cornell measured methane emissions over shale basins at an average of 4.1% of production.

A 1.2% difference might not sound like much, until one considers methane is 86 times better at trapping heat than CO2 over 20 years. The state uses the outdated 100-year time horizon.

Scientists attribute a spike in atmospheric methane to America’s 20-year fracking boom, undermining claims that “natural” gas is cleaner than coal.

My organization found that when factoring leakage and potency, the oil and gas sector accounts for 47% of Colorado’s emissions, not 18%, as the state estimates. If we counted the pollution from our exported gas (as New York does, since this is a global problem) the share would rise to 70%.

SB21-200 could hit the Senate floor by next week. It has good odds in both Democratic-controlled chambers. If it passes the legislature, Gov. Polis would face whether to veto a bill with strong support from his own party, and a mandate from the voters.

Call Gov. Polis and tell him to lead at 303-866-2471 (office) or 303-866-2885 (comment line).

Will Hodges is the local chapter coordinator for 350 Colorado, the state’s largest grassroots group working to end fossil fuels and transition to a just and sustainable future.

Gardner deserves another term on Holy Cross board

Bob Gardner is running for re-election to the Holy Cross Energy board, and I support him. He has lived in this valley his entire life, and has worked at Holy Cross, his entire career, starting out as a lineman, and ending up as a management executive , before retiring in 2005.

He advocated for renewables way before that was a popular stance, and has continued with that commitment, since joining the board, in 2012. His deep experience with and understanding of the nuts and bolts of running an electric co-op means that he brings an important and unique perspective to the board as to how best meet the renewable goals, while also assuring reliable and affordable electric service to Holy Cross’s territory.

Bringing on a new, inexperienced member to the board now means having to bring that new member up to speed on the many complicated initiatives that the board is currently working on. Bob Gardner has a proven track record of effective and intelligent service, on the Holy Cross board, and I vote to elect him to continue in that capacity.

Deborah Bradford

Aspen

Independent voters a major factor in CD3

I am very curious why independent voters (“unaffiliated”) were left out of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent series of articles about “CD3 voter reviews mixed bag on Rep. Lauren Boebert’s start”? This letter is also addressed to the other corporate-owned newspapers in the 3rd Congressional District — Steamboat Pilot, The Aspen Times, Vail Daily and the Craig Daily Press.

It is a common occurrence that the voice and opinions of independent voters are ignored by the news media in this country. Frequently, the news media forgets that independent voters in Colorado and the rest of the nation are the largest voting bloc in America. Almost 50 percent of the registered voters in America are independents.

Allow me to illustrate the impact of independent voters in Colorado. Independent voters are the largest segment of voters in the CD3. According to the March 2021 active voter statistics from the Colorado Secretary of State’s website, independent voters total 206,883, Republicans total 164,329, and Democrats total 136,312. These numbers usually translate into independent voters being the deciding factor in who gets elected to office in Colorado.

By the way, look at this statistic. According to a November 2, 2020, news story by Meghan Lopez, The Denver Channel, 240,000 voters have left both the Republican and Democratic parties in Colorado since 2014. Many of these voters switched to independent. Today, independent voters represent 42% of the registered voters in Colorado. This number is too large to be ignored.

I hope that the Post Independent and the other newspapers in CD3 will consider interviewing independent voters on this subject as well as other issues concerning the 3rd Congressional District.

Randy Fricke

Co-founder, Western Colorado Independent Voters

Co-chair, National Election Reform Committee

New Castle