Opposition to fracking would hurt Americans
Leave it to Democrats to shoot themselves in the foot in the eyes of labor when they come out against fracking.
I could point out many good things, lower gas prices for example, as a direct result from fracking, but that only tells part of the story – actually a very small part. Space doesn’t permit listing the thousands of products manufactured from a petroleum base, but one very important product is asphalt; an indispensable component of asphalt is crude oil.
You might say OK, so I can get my driveway paved cheaper now than I could before fracking. While that is true, my main point has to do with the millions of jobs that a massive infrastructure program (that Congress is too busy with impeachment to authorize) would provide. A major element of the country’s infrastructure is the millions of miles of roads – asphalt roads – in dire need of repaving.
Here are the Democrat presidential hopefuls who would drive asphalt prices sky high by banning fracking altogether: Booker, Gabbard, Harris, Sanders and Warren. Here are the ones who would severely limit or regulate fracking: Biden, Buttigieg, Castro, Klobuchar, O’Rourke and Yang.
Here’s the Republican candidate for president totally in favor of fracking: Donald J. Trump.
Better coordination needed for bike trail
As President John Adams (of the United States, not the like-named Friends of the Blue Star Trail group president) once wisely put it: “Facts are stubborn things.” To date, a number of such stubborn facts related to the proposed Blue Star Trail have not been publicized. It’s time to correct this, so that as we look forward to tri-community-endorsed forward progress on building a trail, we understand some of the challenges and difficulties involved. Facts…
• Beyond the conditional endorsement from Allegan County, several years into planning, there has been no trail-construction progress south of its current end-point in Douglas. Both Casco and Ganges townships have refused to fund or construct any trail on the planned route owing to the need to remove a large number of stately mature trees, an inability to secure multiple easements over private property, and unwillingness to accept financial responsibility for maintaining a trail.
• To date, there has been no clear plan as to how a trail could be constructed on the planned route across the two existing highway bridges over Interstate 196 outside Douglas and Ganges. Adding or resizing lanes would be prohibitively costly, pose safety challenges for automobile traffic, and any approvals would have to come from federal authorities. So far, no progress has been made here.
• While the Friends group is passionate in their advocacy, they cannot build the trail. They are prevented from applying for or accepting grant funds. They are not engineers and have no license to construct any portion of the trail on their own. These are regional government functions exclusively.
• The claim that “Saugatuck’s city engineer” has approved an engineering design for the trail is inaccurate and misleading. The engineering firm employed by the Friends group is indeed the city’s engineering outside contractor, however their design work for the trail was performed as a client of the trail advocacy group, with no formal input from the city. What’s more, no city endorsement of that design was ever made or promised.
• The current route plan for the trail has never been fully vetted by the local governments, or indeed by the citizens of those communities. Workable and less problematic route alternatives (for example east of the Blue Star Highway through low-traffic rural countryside to cross the Kalamazoo River, avoiding Interstate 196 entirely, crossing the pedestrian-only bridge at New Richmond, and then connect to Douglas and Saugatuck) remain unvetted.
The lakeshore communities from South Haven to Saugatuck deserve not just any bike trail, but the very best recreational bike trail we can design, construct, fund and maintain. A coordinated governmental approach is essential to seeing it become a reality. The recent cooperative proposal by the governments of Douglas, Saugatuck and Saugatuck Township is a necessary and long overdue step toward that worthwhile goal.