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Letters to the editor

Steve Zorichak

The Eagle Valley Enterprise April 15, 1993, headline reads: “The Future of the Eagle Mine – Land Use Questions.” Written by Chris Cessna, the captions include: “EPA looking for cooperative effort to maintain cleanup’s integrity,” “special zoning,” and “health risks questioned.” The lengthy article contained some pertinent statements.”Could Belden be a historic site? Will cross country skiers eventually be allowed to skate over an old mine tailings pile downstream from the Eagle Mine?””Eagle County’s role in protecting the integrity of the cleanup measures and charting a course of future land use at the Eagle Mine surfaced during a discussion between environmental officials and the Eagle County commissioners Monday.””Gene Taylor, EPA’s project manager, was on hand to answer questions concerning a recent record of decision issued by the EPA. The document contains additional steps and measures the agency feels are further required to ensure the site is free of hazardous wastes . … A second operable report will be focusing on the soils, solid wastes, and rock piles.””There are some areas, he added, where any use could be prohibited, such as the consolidated tailing piles which requires a certain measure of security to keep the capped area intact.””Taylor also suggested additional soils testing at Gilman in case that area were ever to be developed. Soils tests performed at Gilman estimated the levels of metals were dramatically high around some of the abandoned homes there.””There are some areas where children shouldn’t be crawling around.””Merry (Ray Merry, Eagle County environmental health officer), Taylor, and state of Colorado Coordinator Dick Parachini all agree there was no hazard to public health.””In 1989, Leonard Slotsky, a consultant hired by the Eagle County School District, to study the school site … reported the expected cancer risk as comparable to one-half the risk of a chest x-ray.”Bud Gates thought it should be preserved as a historical site due to the economic importance to Eagle County for nearly a century.Roger Brown wrote in his book “Requiem for the West” of finding Ute Indian artifacts in Minturn. Possibly an archeological study should be made prior to any development approvals.The Vail Daily might review the article and possibly assign a reporter to research the reported EPA documents of record that may have issued since that time 12 years ago.I bear no cudgel in this battle other than not desiring to see a $70 million-plus Superfund cleanup to restore the Eagle River being wasted.Steve ZorichakVailGetting fleecedIn last Sunday’s paper you printed the following:”Gas usually is more expensive in rural areas where there is less competition, said Mary Greer, spokeswoman for the American Automobile Association, better known by its acronym, AAA. Eagle County gas stations also have to pay more to have fuel delivered to the mountains because the closest oil refinery is in Denver.”In communities where the cost of living is high, the cost of doing business is higher,” Greer said.”Please. We’ve heard this for more than 20 years … these gas station operators certainly have paid off their land by now, as well as their buildings and other facilities. And when the stations were built around here (and there are damn few new ones upvalley!) the costs were much lower anyway! The newer stations downvalley were built on lower-cost property, since they are downvalley. So why are their prices so high out by the Interstate when compared to a new gas station just a few blocks away from it, even though this Performance Conoco station is much newer than the Amoco/BP in Eagle, for example? Gas is some 20 to 30 cents less expensive per gallon in Steamboat Springs than it is in Vail most days, and the boat’s a lot harder to get to than Vail since one has to use U.S. 40, a two-lane road that crosses treacherous Berthoud Pass. Why? Good question. It’s a lot cheaper in Glenwood Springs, too, and Glenwood’s even farther from that Denver refinery! Go all the way out to Grand Junction and gas is almost as low as it is in Denver! But take a shorter trip up to Aspen, where the “big money” is and there are the huge prices for fuel again. Come on. Who’s zoomin’ whom? Eagle and Pitkin County residents have been paying through the nose for fuel for decades, probably because they’re perceived as wealthy and therefore able to afford the “highway robbery” called gas prices up here. I will never believe the line that it’s the cost of land or labor, folks. Gas costs so much more up here because, like the county’s sheep, we locals just don’t seem to mind being getting fleeced!Bill SepmeierSweetwaterWhat a ride!What a great community building, awe inspiring and healthful way to spend a beautiful Sunday in July in the Vail Valley! The fourth annual 100-mile SOS River Ride was the perfect way to feel connected to this special place so many of us are fortunate enough to call home. For all of the out-of-town visitors who participated, I would be willing to bet they went away feeling equally as proud to say they rode the 40 or the 65 or the 100 miles of beautiful roadway, as well. Many thanks to Arn Menconi, the Vail Daily, Beaver Creek Resort and the numerous other supporters for all their efforts in making this one of the most memorable rides of the summer in our beautiful state of Colorado. Thanks also, to the ranchers who gave us a wide berth on the River Road and the other motorists who obliged us along Highway 131 and Highway 6 during the day. This was a great event. Keep up the good work, SOS!Shannon ArmstrongTo our rescueWe would like to thank the Eagle Fire Department for letting us have a sleep-over with them on the night of July 2, and also thank the Gypsum Fire Department for all responding so fast to help us. On the night of July 23 we had some hard rains. We were getting ready for bed when some of our mountain came down in our back yard. The mountain became very unsafe for us to stay that night. We are all OK and safe. We just have to figure out how to get all these huge boulders out of our back yard and also hope that no more come down until we can find someone to help us. Thank you very much!Robin BernardGypsumEnjoyed rideI wanted to thank Arn Menconi and SOS for organizing a great Eagle River Ride this past Sunday. It was my first 100-mile bike ride, and I really enjoyed it. The scenery along the Colorado River was great. Rick CunninghamVail, Colorado


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