... For 10 years I’ve attended “Club 20” meetings, gone to committees, served on task forces, helped amend bylaws, won a bridge-building award, worked collaboratively with industry folks to achieve brokered compromise positions that represented a middle place among the extractive industry boosterism of Grand Junction, the environmental protectionism of Telluride and the small town Colorado rural priorities of Norwood – family, minimum of government regulation, quality of life ... Last year I was elected as secretary of the Executive Committee – a poster child on their promotional material for their diversity and the only member of what some of us have loosely called a “progressive caucus” on that influential committee ... Well, kiss it goodbye. At the meeting in Grand Junction last week I was sacked – after being passed over as “Chair-elect” (a two year position anointing one as future chair-to-be) – and Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis (an oil and gas industry employee) elected as Club secretary in my stead ... That surprise action, carefully orchestrated (some of us progressives saw it as an ambush), came on the heels of a resolution, ramrodded through the committee process by Colorado Oil & Gas Association Western Slope rep and “Club 20” outgoing chair Kathy Hall, basically censuring the Governor, Harris Sherman and David Neslin for attempting to impose minimum standards on the oil and gas industry as directed by the legislature, particularly in the arenas of health, safety, environment and wildlife … Former Grand Junction Mayor Jim Spehar, who spoke at the recent Charture Institute day in Telluride which Commissioner Joan May organized, wrote a column in the Grand Junction Free Press
citing the oil and gas industry’s undue influence on “Club 20” policy – which bills itself as the “Voice of the Western Slope.” Well, maybe at one time. But no longer. It’s the Voice of Oil and Gas at its worst, of late … “Club 20” Director Reeves Brown managed to pour salt on progressive wounds by making fun of Spehar and his public accusations at the meeting, as though oil and gas hadn’t overtaken “Club 20’s” priorities, to the detriment of all the other industries in the region – agriculture, tourism, hunting and fishing, recreation … And so, after ten years of trying to represent county residents in “Club 20’s” wider regional conversations, trying to bring a progressive perspective from a ski resort county to flatlander boosterism, I’m throwing in the towel. I admit defeat … From now on, “Club 20” is Club 19, as far as I’m concerned. And I imagine several other counties may join us in disengaging. And I strongly urge all local members to drop their memberships … Kathy Hall and Craig Meis have taken a useful, long-standing table of discussion for 22 counties and one Indian tribe, dashed any semblance of respect for minority opinions, and turned the group into the promotional arm of the oil and gas industry. It’s a sad day for collaboration on the Western Slope ... But like every setback in one arena, maybe something better will emerge from the fiasco of Club 19. Maybe we can figure out a venue that truly will represent the citizen voice of the Western Slope. It just may not be centered in Grand Junction anymore ... Oh, yes, and although I didn’t attend the banquet dinner of self-congratulations and awards Friday evening (sponsored by the oil and gas industry, naturally), I heard from one of my friends that before the meal a prayer was said, and the assembled Club 19ers were admonished by the person invoking God to “give thanks for Chevron.” When a group uses the cover of religion to promote multi-national corporations, one has to wonder where the priorities of such a group have gone. For Club 19, maybe that says it all.KING COAL
... Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius vetoed a coal-power bill passed by the Kansas legislature. Polls showed 64 percent of the voters supported her veto ... Despite that, pro-coal legislators have re-introduced a nearly identical bill in the Kansas legislature.WISER EARTH
... Lee Taylor recommends to our readers a well done meta-site or directory of events, people, organizations, and movements revolving around the combination of sustainability and community action ... It's a good site to visit when you need an “optimism fix” after too much political or environmental news. Steven Hawken (the gardening entrepreneur, not the physicist) wrote an interesting article about how there appears to be a critical mass of effort building within society, and Wiser Earth would be an illustration of that ... If nothing else, go to the Interactive Map, enter your zip, and watch the fun as you zoom out from Norwood or Telluride.
CADMIUM TELLURIDE ... Someone sent me this from a review of a new alternative energy start-up ... “First Solar has both fans and detractors. It is arguably the first thin-film solar panel maker to hit it big. Although it was formally launched in 1999, its technology stretches back to the 80s. The long gestation period has enabled it to fine-tune its manufacturing processes, a key in the solar world. Rather than work with silicon or copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), it makes its solar panels from cadmium telluride. Cadmium telluride solar cells aren't as efficient as silicon ones, but they are cheaper. And, unlike CIGS, cadmium telluride solar cells are available in the market. “ ... Cheaper but less efficient? Not the Telluride I know ... An email comment attached to the article offered clarification, “Telluride is used as a substrate in manufacture of a number of chip wafers, often in combination with cadmium and mercury. I used to be
interested in its use in making Infrared detector chips, when I used military IR imagers. They used mercury-cadmium-telluride CCD chips. As I recall, the root Greek word: tellus, means 'of the earth'. That's my recollection. Now see Wikipedia.”
THE TALKING GOURD
Club 19 Prayer
Let us give thanks
& all boom/bust corporations
that take profit
from polluting our skies
fouling our waters
trashing our economic future.
And on the Western Slope
we raise our voices to the Lord
that oil & gas may be valued
above all else.