Quicksilver’s plans for Camilletti well tabled

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— Uneasy about the fact the Routt County Board of Commissioners is in the midst of revising the conditions of approval for oil and gas drilling permits, the Routt County Planning Commission voted unanimously Thursday night to table Quicksilver Resource’s request for a permit to drill on the Camilletti and Sons ranch a mile north of Milner and U.S. Highway 40 west of Steamboat.

“The quality of life in this county is very much based on the public’s faith in the public process,” Planning Commission member John Ayer said. “I want to make sure that if we approve this, we have adequate mitigations that will pose the highest confidence level (that drilling) impacts will be compensated for. Right now, I don’t have faith and confidence the mitigations we have in front of us can instill that confidence.”

With the Board of Commissioners expected to complete its review of a slate of possible changes to the county’s conditions, which can be applied to drilling permits by Feb. 21, Ayer said he preferred to wait, and his colleagues agreed.

“We can’t vote on something we know is changing,” Planning Commission member Wayne Adamo said. “How can we approve something until our county lawyer looks at it? Let’s find out what we can and can’t say before we say it.”

The Planning Commission tabled Quicksilver’s application until March 1.

The 9-0 vote didn’t come until after nearly 3 1/2 hours of presentations by Quicksilver representative Stephen Lindsey and comments from members of the public.

Lindsey, Quicksilver’s senior director of government affairs and community relations, began by giving a detailed presentation about the Camilletti proposal, as well as an overview of exploratory drilling.

“Steamboat truly is a remarkable area,” Lindsey said. “We’ve heard the questions, concerns, worries and hope about oil and gas exploration in Routt County, and it has resonated. We recognize the concerns and comments of the Community Alliance (of the Yampa Valley). Quicksilver would like to note it will comply with all federal and state regulations and best practices to minimize the impacts of its operations.”

Representatives of the Community Alliance presented Lindsey and Planning Commission members with a list of 13 conditions they hope Quicksilver will agree to impose on itself.

The conditions range from agreeing to require contract truckers accessing the well pad to use ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel to offering assurances that the flame produced by flaring non-salable natural gas coming out of the well would not be visible from buildings or land beyond the site.

“We are not attempting to interpret Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rules here,” the Community Alliance’s Rodger Steen wrote in a statement. “We are establishing a set of expectations for oil and gas companies to go beyond (Conservation Commission) rules in the best interest of Routt County.”

He also observed that the list was developed in consultation with representatives of Quicksilver’s competitor in the region, Shell Oil, which he said had agreed to the conditions. Shell’s Matt Holman acknowledged that was the case after the meeting.

A number of the people who packed the Routt County Courthouse hearing room called on the county to look further into the societal impacts that could be posed by an oil boom here.

“I’m going to recommend that you table this tonight,” former County Commissioner Ben Beall said. “How can you as a board approve or deny this without seeing the final conditions? I’ve realized I’ve had my head in the sand. Routt County has had its head in the sand, too. What are the community impacts on schools, social services, the fire department?”

Proposed site of Camilletti well

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Fred Duckels 2 years, 3 months ago

I hope that the commissioners don't buckle to the Community Alliance and their heavy hand. I'm sure that elimination of carbon fuel is high on their list and they will flood meetings and intimidate officials to further their agenda. We need an economic base with more than ski and bike helmuts to carry the load. If the drilling generates tax revenues this same group will be first in line to tell us how to spend the money.

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sedgemo 2 years, 3 months ago

Fred, with all due respect, I don't think the Alliance has any real authority, only concerns, opinions and recommendations. It's very clear they are not alone in their concerns, so proceeding cautiously seems a better way to avoid tearing our community to shreds over O&G development.

While the county is reviewing regs. it seems a small enough decision to table one permit for six weeks in the dead of winter until our regs. are determined, then proceed.

Agreed we need a wider economic base, but it remains to be seen how the costs vs. benefits will play out for Routt County for the long haul. We all understand boom and bust, yet we can't expect those who leave for the next "play" to care much for the land and community they will leave behind. If we want an equivalent quality of life for our children and theirs we will have to stand up for them NOW.

We will have drilling and production here, no doubt, but there's no reason to ignore the valid (and deep) concerns of those who share life here.

For example, in the quote above, Quicksilver's impeccable Mr. Lindsey carefully sidestepped the voluntary Alliance conditions Shell has already agreed to. His words "... We recognize the concerns and comments of the Community Alliance (of the Yampa Valley )... "don't say they will do anything but "recognize" the concerns of our community. What does that mean, exactly? Per this article, Shell has agreed to voluntarily adopt these same recommendations.

The second sentence implies Quicksilver will follow only federal and state laws, which (though being all they are required by law to do) is not sufficient to address the legitimate concerns of a wide range of county citizens, for reasons we already know.

Perhaps the county could offer some type of preferred vendor system, whereby companies which agree to voluntary community-based restrictions would find a faster permitting process.

Proceed, with caution. Trust, but verify.

Can we move forward without being forced into a framework of big winners and big losers? Can we change the conversation from "us vs. them" to something more like a consensus on a way to move forward? One where nobody gets everything they want but nobody loses forever things we all value?

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Fred Duckels 2 years, 3 months ago

I predict that the resistance will continue until the county finds little interest in drilling. Many areas have open arms for drillers and we may end up with no revenue to help with our ;needs.

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sedgemo 2 years, 3 months ago

Fred, I think the county has little interest already but it ultimately is out of their hands. This week I heard from an industry insider there are already plans in place to drill county-wide. So the question isn't IF, but HOW to move in a direction which is widely acceptable, if not perfect.

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Fred Duckels 2 years, 3 months ago

Stipulating the fuel to be used by delivery trucks is harassment. I don't know all the desired conditions but we lose credibility when we get too ridiculous. In my business the regulations multiply many fold and I believe that the regulators are making work in order to justify their existence. I have to spend money to comply with some of the same type of nonsense.

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sedgemo 2 years, 3 months ago

Fred, the fuel issue has to do with emissions I believe. When there are only a few wells it may not be a big issue at first, but in a larger view emissions could create significant air quality issues downwind. It's not likely we can change the rules once things get rolling, so isn't it better to get ahead of the curve if possible? Seems it's only a matter of which pump you grab to fuel the trucks, not a big deal. Enforcement may be.

Can we find a sensible way to manage air quality? Turning a blind eye and waiting for trouble seems to be the least sensible to me. Do you have any ideas to address this concern besides requiring low-sulphur fuel be used?

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Megan Walker 2 years, 3 months ago

Your perception of the community alliance is grossly misunderstood, and the comissioners acted extremely intelligently in this matter, with a temporary tabling of an incredibly incomplete permiting process. This community is doing just fine without the TEMPORARY funds of the oil & gas industry; destroying the place for our future generations for a couple of bucks is not the answer. What good is that money going to do us when those very activities wipe out our current economic base (ie, the various outdoor tourism venues most of us live for and to serve). When we are then left without all of the above, what will be left of this valley? Nothing but waste. And if you are going to throw out the "energy dependent nation" argument out there, then why is oil & gas our NUMBER ONE export?? Everyone fails to mention that the majority of this fuel is not for domestic use. And as far as the potential jobs the industry may bring; these companies operate with a highly specified, skilled crew that travels from rig to rig-these are not jobs they hire for locally, a few yes-but not the ones you are probably envisioning. Holding these companies to using ULSD is not nonsense, either-the high volume of trucking required for these operations (which grows substantially more with a higher volume of wells, of course) will add up-there are many cumulative effects of this industry to be considered, and people are only trying to look out for health and safety-which is an issue that concerns everyone here. Why would you be so negative towards that?? Furthermore, the question of banning hydraulic fracturing is not as outlandish as some may think. It is a practice that unquestionably results in many diastrous effects for both public and environmental health. All of the money in the world will do us no good if we can't breathe the air or drink our water-this is not some kind of ridiculous fear-the proof is all over the country, and many highly respected health officials are calling for a ban on this practice. Several countries have already banned it. DO you breathe, hunt, fish recreate outdoors in any way, shape or form, or drink water? If you can answer yes to any of these, then I would recommend that you may want to be concerned about these activities proceeding unabated.

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Fred Duckels 2 years, 3 months ago

The role of a naysayer is a safe one indeed. It is near impossible to prove the fallacy of one's concerns and if the worst ever happens they prove to be visionaries. In my occupation I have found that the 'sky is falling' group usually know very little and this is a way to participate without being exposed. The fuel requirement exposes total ignorance, anyone care for a debate?

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Troutguy 2 years, 3 months ago

Here's a little proof for ya Fred..........and it's no fallacy. These things happened.

http://www.marcellus-shale.us/seeps_leaks_spills.htm

The dirty little secret about natural gas. While it may burn clean, getting to it and safely getting it out of the ground and to market is another story.

It's only "total ignorance" if you ignore the facts..........

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steamboatsconscience 2 years, 3 months ago

Of course old Freddie's only concern is for his bottom line, environment be damned. And you do own a few mineral rights too, don't you?

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Kerrie Cooper 2 years, 3 months ago

Oneworld, you are my hero or heroine. The truth is so simple yet greed and ignorance blinds so many. Another huge concern, is the seismic activity fracking is now associated with. We have Twentymile (deep underground coal mine) in Routt County employed with Routt and Moffat citizens risking their lives everyday to go to work. How can anyone in good faith vote for fracking at the possibility of causing a cave in? How could you live with yourself if it happens, with all the seismic links associated with fracking? Please read: http://www.the9billion.com/2012/01/03/4-0-ohio-earthquake-may-be-related-to-fracking-drilling-halted/. Fracking is not only detrimental to the environment but could also be to the hundreds underground everyday. Don't the miners deserve utter respect, courtesy and their safety a thought, since it is their hard work that keeps us warm everyday????? I truly believe so!

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

Toxics from Suncor refinery spill still seeping into water; Colorado vows to "accelerate" response

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_19787661

"The South Platte River is the main water source for northeastern Colorado and the Denver area. Spilled contaminants from decades of refinery operations at the site have seeped underground, "and it is snaking through. The pressures change. It finds the path of least resistance, and that's apparently what has happened: It has found the path of least resistance to get into Sand Creek," Colorado health department environmental-programs director Martha Rudolph said in an interview last week. "We were not expecting that to occur," she said."

The pressures change. It finds the path of least resistance, and that's apparently what has happened: It has found the path of least resistance and gone where we did not expect it to go.

Wonderful.

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Fred Duckels 2 years, 2 months ago

The crap being put out in these blogs is irrelevant. Altertnative fuels to date are a politically correct joke, they don't work. Wind and solar might save the individual a few bucks but backup carbon fuels are necessary to provide reliability. The alternatives are to date useless expenditures. Fracking is a godsend to help keep us going until something better cones along. When you elitists can no longer fill up your Subarus I hope that common sense makes an appearance. Mistakes might be made, but without trying I can promise a much sooner end to our fuel supplies. I have watched and admired the drilling community for a long time and if something better was available these folks would find it. This local uprising is but a drop in the ocean and we need to keep that in mind.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

Fred, If the blogs are irrelevant crap, why do you post?

The current ability to of oil and gas companies to externalize fossil fuel costs is why the renewables market struggles. Natural gas is at rock bottom prices. We are exporting oil. At what future cost to our environment?

Local uprising and a drop in the ocean? Fred, you should try google some time:

"Oil, contamination". Peru, Ecuador, Minnesota.... Deepwater Horizon wasn't even on the first page.

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the_Lizard 2 years, 2 months ago

What is interesting, the same people that are claiming Fred here is greedy and an anti-environmentalist, drive their Prius (it's a Prius with it's huge carbon footprint, Fred dontcha know ) on roads provided for them by Fred or people like Fred. The gravel they use came from Fred or someone like Fred. The perfectly sized chip seal they demand for their green bikes was put their by Fred or someone like him. You love the sausage, but the sausage making is just too much for your refined tastes. blech. I'm waiting for the debate on fuel requirements.

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Kerrie Cooper 2 years, 2 months ago

Dear Fred and the _Lizard,

We drive a 12 year truck with 215,000 miles and a small car with 200,000 miles because we can't afford a Prius or Subaru. We are as far from elitist as you can get, but even we know if you destroy the water you drink, pollute the air you breathe and contaminate the soils so you can't grow healthy food, you not only destroy the environment, but yourself as well. It's called being connected to the source that gives you life. It has nothing to do with being being an elitist, an environmentalist, or anything else....it's called being responsible and not letting greed or financial hardship cloud one's judgment.

As Chief Seattle so eloquently put it "Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. We did not weave the web of life, we are merely strands in it. Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves” and lastly “Earth does not belong to us; we belong to earth. Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints.” ― Chief Seattle

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the_Lizard 2 years, 2 months ago

Do you work for someone that can't afford a Prius or Subaru, or can afford one, but chooses not to? Most people don't work for poor people, do they? I remember as a kid driving through Steamboat, Chief Seattle would be crying to see what has happened since then. So there you have it, your earnest and hearfelt love of the earth has still changed it and left a footprint. If you live in Steamboat one of those condos, houses, trailer houses is yours, putting a forever footrpint on the earth. One of those cars crowding the streets belongs to you, belching out climate changing gases from fossil fuels that came from fracking. Wouldn't you be leaving less of an impact if you lived in a large metropolitan area in a very small space, right next to a mass transportation system and owned no cars? Feeling guilty yet?

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

Lizard, It is an interesting experience to insist your kid ride the bus to school and hear about the alternate reality of 20 SUVs idling in the next queue over. It is an interesting experience to cram 5 into a car and arrive next to the guy who would never bother.

Moral choices are not enough. And with FOX cable, 30% of us will never, ever get there.

Having a market that reflects the true costs is the only route to dealing with the negatives of fossil fuels. The first step in that direction would be removing industry exemptions from the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act.

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Fred Duckels 2 years, 2 months ago

Steve, Looking down your nose at the other guy is not going to solve anything, our problems are huge and worldwide. Meaning well does not count for much. It appears that we cannot stop spending beyond our means, so how are we going to solve the energy problem, I doubt that we can.

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the_Lizard 2 years, 2 months ago

I've found that when people bring up Fox news as a pejorative they have lost a debate and are resorting to what they consider the worst insult of all. The rest of your post sums up that fact, I have no idea what you're talking about, buses, SUV's alternate realities and 5 in a car.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

Fred, I agree with the 1st half of your post. I think we're both saying good intentions of individuals have little impact in the marketplace. My apologies for the Fox slight.

What about the last half of mine? Why give oil and gas a leg up on the marketplace with exemptions from the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act?

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Fred Duckels 2 years, 2 months ago

Steve, We have an ideology in place that would eliminate all fossil fuels. Giving in on these items would create chaos. There is risk involved, but we are between a rock and a hard spot.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

Fred, That's not true. Besides, you are talking to me and my position is clearly stated: we should put all the costs of a fuel into its market price. Carbon and other pollutions should be in the equation. Instead we have exemptions from environmental risks in the equation.

Again, why give oil and gas a leg up on the marketplace with exemptions from the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act?

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Fred Duckels 2 years, 2 months ago

Steve, Wind and solar require a conventional plant operating in tandem to pick up the slack for no sun or wind. This makes fossil fuel essential, combined with all the subsidies that being PC requires. I wish that it was different but it is not easy to be optomistic. Like it or not we are married to fossil fuels, a mistress might be tempting but not adequate. The markets will effortlessy handle a transition, regardless of all our fretting, in due time.

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Another way to say this is we have an ideology in place that would eliminate all BUT fossil fuels. There is a reason our rail systems were gutted in the not-so-distant past.

I don't see anything as a "giving up" unless that means sticking with the status quo until all the lights go out. In my view the best course is to look forward together and develop more realistic methods to survive.

Of course there will be transitioning and hiccups, but I think we can all agree running our society exclusively on fossil fuels is short-sighted and ultimately destructive. Whether it runs out now or 10, 20, 50 or a hundred years from now doesn't change the need to find better ways to live. There's also the fact developing countries will demand more and more oil and will be better situated to pay for it than we are, so we may face scarcity even while we export oil.

I heard a news clip two days ago which indicated the energy costs of extracting, transporting, and processing oil in this country exceeds the net energy return. I think this is what Lewi was pointing out, that the actual costs are not being accounted for now, and if they were the picture would look less feasible.

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Fred Duckels 2 years, 2 months ago

Sedgemo, Your last paragraph is puzzling, the cost of oil is determined by market prices. Who is the arbiter here? Market price is determined by what two fools can agree upon, you can't take this ideological drivel at face value.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

Sedgemo, That's a good description of my posts. The rock bottom prices of NG are killing our ventures into renewables. Can you link to the costs you describe?

Fred, I would say this isn't about the extremes you described. The real costs would change the equation into what we really pay, not turn it upside down. But I shouldn't speak so fast. The rush to frack so much right away may turn it upside down:

"U.S. natural gas: so much they'll be giving it away"

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/20/us-natgas-lows-idUSTRE80J1RS20120120

This gets crazier all the time. Polluting our country for this?

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Fred, I understand about the market and prices, but the prices don't show all the costs involved, so profits can be made without fully accounting for expenses, which include the aftereffects of production, not just the cost of getting something extracted and delivered to a purchaser. These things have to eventually be paid for but don't show up in the bottom line right now... for example maybe, consider the costs of cleaning up Rocky Flats or Rocky Mtn. Arsenal. I sincerely doubt when either was funded and built the costs of cleanup were factored in. Or visit any Superfund site for more examples of how real costs are borne later by those who didn't profit from the activity but deal with the aftereffects.

So historically there are three fools in your example. If we imagine it was a gold mine on public lands, one fool found it and dug it up, then sold it for profit to another fool who paid for the privilege of not having to dig it up. The third fool is the one who has to fill up the hole after the other two walk away, since the carbon monoxide in the mine is killing anything that wanders in there.

I think that illustrates the costs Lewi is pointing out. The first two fools made a bargain but there was a price to be paid by the third.

Lewi, I heard that info about actual energy costs while driving so don't have links, but when I get a minute I will look for some.

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sledneck 2 years, 2 months ago

When gas is $4.50 / gal they say "big oil is ripping us off".

When Nat gas is dirt cheap they say it's "killing our ventures into renewables".

When talking about fossil fuels they say "we should put ALL the costs of a fuel into its market price". (I agree completely)

When talking about renewables they want to subsidize failing companies like Solyndra and forget the FACT that solar and wind powers REAL costs are many times what comes in on the electic bill.

I think Fred has made the best point so far. Throughout history naysayers stand back at a safe distance and predict doom and gloom. They are proven right on occaision but not because of any real knowledge of that which they fear. They are like stopped clocks; right twice a day but useless the rest of the time.

I read non-stop criticism of fossil fuels but no cost-effective solutions. Alternatives are far more costly and far less reliable.

I read about global warming until it was proven a hoax but did these folks open their eyes? NO They turned their chant to "Climate Change" and went right on stirring the puddin as if the climate had never changed before the advent of internal combustion engines.

I have read accounts of how AC electricity was so demonized by Edison that he fried an elephant to "prove his point". Today AC is the proven way to deliver large quantities of power.

I have read about how people once blamed the moon landing for global warming and how today they predict global warming will cause UFO attacks.

I read about how "big oil" rips us off at .08/ gal profit but government is defended by the same crowd even though it takes .48/ gal.

The survival of this republic is contingent on an electorate whose intelligence is compatible with or above the rest of the world. This is why I am convinced we are screwed.
"If America expects to be ignorant AND free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."--- T. Jefferson

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Fred Duckels 2 years, 2 months ago

Obama won't mention converting engines to natural gas, this would set his green advocates into a tizzy and put the Volt in the trash can. This could drasticaly change the energy situation and provide leadership across the globe. This makes common sense, but the naysaying community will not have any part of it.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 2 months ago

Sled, You are so far out there you find it logical to argue with a disparate fantasy of "they"?

A friend advised me months ago that I should avoid arguing with fools, lest I be taken for one. Your offer the discussion he warned me about.

Its pointless to respond until you and Don Quixote deal with the 9 windmills you see standing beside me.

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sedgemo 2 years, 2 months ago

Fred, I know engines can run on natural gas, and as far as I know the free market would be providing them (or converters) if it was profitable to do so. I don't know much about this so am curious to know more.

And as far as I know it's perfectly legal to convert engines... I've seen them all over the West most of my life. Has the law changed or is it not really a venture people think worth pursuing? In other words, what is the downside that's preventing this idea from gaining ground?

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the_Lizard 2 years, 2 months ago

To further support sled's claims of,

"I read about global warming until it was proven a hoax but did these folks open their eyes? NO They turned their chant to "Climate Change" and went right on stirring the puddin as if the climate had never changed before the advent of internal combustion engines."

See what these 16 scientists say, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

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Fred Duckels 2 years, 2 months ago

Sedgemo, It would require infrastructure for fueling and the blessing of govt. Many of the mileage and pollution regulations could be made workable. Dependence on oil would be much less as well as the trade imbalance problem. It would go a long way to solve the problems that the left is spending our future on. The left does not want a world of plenty and this would never be acceptable. Steve, If I was the godfather of affordable housing in the valley and a supporter of this feel good foolishness I would change my name and move to Boulder, Hopefully your visionary qualities would put you in good stead there. You are right, associating with hicks like me is beneath you.

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