Energy debate is a local issue | AspenTimes.com

Energy debate is a local issue

No thinking American would seriously argue with the idea that this country needs to decrease its reliance on foreign oil, especially oil controlled by dictators, terrorists or others who are hostile to our country.

Exactly how to bolster this country’s energy independence and change our consumption patterns is another matter ” a very thorny and complicated matter that calls for earnest debate.

So we’d like to add our voice to the chorus of people, including 10 mayors from Colorado’s Western Slope, calling for the energy industry to stop equating criticism of oil and gas exploration with support for terrorism. Rhetoric from the industry group Americans for American Energy has insulted thousands of Western Coloradans with this kind of inflammatory nonsense; they’ve also insulted anyone who believes in a reasoned public dialogue.

For most Americans, the ongoing energy debate is both personal and global. It involves personal choices about the cars they drive, the appliances they buy and other personal choices about energy consumption. It also involves huge, seemingly abstract questions about global energy markets, geopolitics and U.S. government policy.

For residents of Colorado’s Western Slope, the energy debate also is local. We live, work and play in one of the key places targeted by the oil and gas industry, not to mention the Bush administration, to solve the country’s energy problems. As residents of this proposed sacrifice zone, we see things differently than energy consumers in other, unaffected parts of the country.

Just as Nevadans don’t want other people’s nuclear waste stored inside their mountains, Coloradans don’t want the Western Slope inverted for a short-term solution to America’s huge appetite for fuel.

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So, we applaud Colorado’s state and federal elected officials who continue to seek a balanced approach to drilling on and around the Roan Plateau. We’re the ones who will live here both during and after the ongoing drilling boom, and we urge Congress and the president to craft an energy policy that balances exploration and conservation.

And that doesn’t mean we support terrorists.