Garfield County and the Town of Carbondale bank with Wells Fargo. I encourage them to divest, not because of recent reports of Wells Fargo setting up phony accounts and loan sharking, although that does say a great deal about the integrity of the organization, but their continued support of the oil and gas industry.
Wells Fargo backed the Dakota Pipeline Company that violated the sacred burial grounds and threatens the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota. Locally, they help finance oil and gas drilling and fracking which pollutes our groundwater, belches methane gas, mars our landscape, and contributes to the devastating effects of climate change.
These are not the heroic hombres who raced their stagecoaches through hostile territory in the old West. These are scheming capitalists who sit behind their desk and put profits ahead of the common good. Our local credit unions or Alpine Bank would be a much better choice.
If, as Garfield County Finance Director Theresa Wagenman said, the county finances are dependent on the oil and gas industry, we have tied our wagon to an obsolete and soon to be dead horse.
Having worked for 17 years in a big integrated steel mill in the Chicago area, I saw our business go bankrupt because we were replaced by smaller, more versatile mini-mills and totally out-managed by the Japanese. Thirty-five thousand people out on the street. I returned there recently and found my former coworkers found other jobs and were collecting pensions.
We’re not dependent on the oil and gas industry. That concern has been slumping for at least the last five years and unemployment is low, sales tax revenues are high, hotel, motel, and rental property occupancy is up, and the tourist industry is booming. One sure way to ruin that is to have county line to county line oil and gas rigs and shortened ski seasons.
Regardless of the economic realities, what good is a job if the planet is uninhabitable?
Fred Malo Jr.