Letter: This is Basalt’s opportunity to make good choices | AspenTimes.com

Letter: This is Basalt’s opportunity to make good choices

Yes, I’m running for Basalt Town Council, but no, I’m not going to rehash all my positions, which are readily available on my Facebook page, “Auden Schendler for Basalt Council,” and summarized here: http://tinyurl.com/hr6fqe4.

Instead, I’m just going to urge you to vote and then use current events to explain why elections matter. Here goes: Last week, Colorado lawmakers, including Carbondale’s own Rep. Bob Rankin, voted to defund the state Department of Health and Environment so it can’t issue air-quality permits or perform inspections. This is monumentally dumb policymaking. First, the move, if successful, doesn’t stop regulation, as some probably want — it just delays the hell out of it. That means law-abiding businesses that need air permits to operate have to wait and wait and wait. Second, people breaking the law and violating the Clean Air Act at the expense of our kids’ health don’t get discovered. (This is not controversial; we all agreed clean air was a good idea in the ’70s, and Americans overwhelmingly support the Clean Air Act.) Third, if Colorado won’t do this work, the Environmental Protection Agency steps in, so you get out-of-state regulation. Why do this silly stuff? Because, according to Rankin, Western Slopers are “terrified” of the EPA Clean Power Plan. Give me a break. The state has mostly met the plan. Solar energy is thriving and producing tons of jobs around here. Aspen/Snowmass and Vail Resorts, responsible directly or indirectly for tens of thousands of jobs, both support the plan. Even the gas drillers I met with this fall were diligently monitoring their own emissions and were hardly terrified. We citizens can do better than this. Incomprehensible, ideological decisions like Rankin’s are our own fault; after all, somebody voted him into office, and most of us didn’t even bother to cast ballots. This cycle, thankfully, Basalt has some choices. Now we have an opportunity to make them.

Auden Schendler