Friday, February 05, 2010

Civil Discourse and Natural Gas

I spend too much time on my computer. I am told this by those who love me from near and far away, including those who would seem to benefit from contact with me by e-mail, Facebook, and other virtual conveniences. Between writing, following the news, looking for work, and playing (most recently) Scrabble, I have to say that I agree with them.

One reason I spend so much time is what I write here. I try to get things right, to analyze and comment on different issues in a comprehensive, concise, and respectful manner. My emphasis is on engaging in civil discourse and being accurate about it. After three years-plus this is still a good outlet, and with the assistance of others has helped me see things and express myself a little bit better. I'm sure I don't get as many visits as other blogs, but I can deal with that.

In keeping with that, I'd like to follow up on my last post about gas drilling in areas other than western Colorado, and the seeming lack of coverage from the media in Grand Junction. Today's Daily Sentinel took a step toward recognizing the validity of issues surroundin
g gas drilling in other parts of the country, and effectively applying it to the discussion going on here.

The paper dutifully covered a Republicans-only 'candidate forum' for persons seeking to replace Steve King in the State House. The three men seeking the GOP nod appeared to let loose on the current regulatory climate as it pertains to drilling in Colorado. Quoting from Gary Harmon's story:

“We need to convert our economy to natural gas” and use it as a transportation fuel, (David) Cox said.

(Ray) Scott said changing the drilling rules wouldn’t go far enough.

“You don’t need to fix the regulations. You need to abolish them and start over,” Scott said.

Regulations of all varieties are strangling the state’s economy, (Bob) Hislop said.

“We need to deregulate Colorado,” Hislop said.

Fortunately for local readers, the Sentinel's editorial staff seemed to counter these assertions with one of today's editorials. They chose to reference recent news articles about drilling in the Barnett Shale region of north central Texas, which includes the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

It seems that air quality monitoring around wells in both residential and rural areas there has showed high concentrations of pollutants that apparently can be sourced to drilling activity. This includes reported high concentrations of benzene. Both state and municipal officials are discussing the development of new regulations, along with continuing to "work with" the energy industry to address the issues.

In a truly civil manner, the Sentinel basically said "B.S." to the above prospective legislators:
Colorado adopted stricter rules on air quality and gas development in 2006, even before it passed new drilling rules last year. That was sensible. Protecting the environment while encouraging development of natural gas is a difficult balancing act, but one that must be undertaken, as people in Texas are beginning to realize.
Thanks to the staff at the Sentinel for widening the perspective of recent reporting just enough to let some relevant information from other areas of the country shine a light on the true nature of gas drilling, and why a 'balancing act' is indeed critical.

Speaking of balance, for too long there's been a lack of it in political discourse at too many levels of government and media. Nowhere is this more evident than the Internet, where opinion publishing can be facilitated by sitting down at one's computer and typing. This isn't anything new.


However, some of the discourse in the blogosphere, while less than civil, can also create representations of events that bear little resemblance to what actually happened. Jon Stewart pointed this out in the usual hilarious fashion on
The Daily Show last night.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Blogs Must Be Crazy
www.thedailyshow.com


This is just another shining example of how humor and entertainment give us the ability to look inward at ourselves without being so serious about it. For some reason, the lesson is often imparted better than it would be otherwise.


Thanks to the Sentinel and Jon Stewart, we are today able to better distinguish between what is civil discourse and what is..well, natural gas.


While I'm at it, congratulations to the Sentinel on their new website, especially the improved ability to leave comments.


Have a good weekend.
Go Saints.

1 comment:

Nancy McCarroll - Arts, Crafts and Favorites said...

Do you play at www.ISC.ro at the internet Scrabble club?

If so, look for my handle for a game. It is "templeton7"

Ciao!