Letters (Week of June 25, 2008)


House leaders refused to talk on coal plant

Last week in a published interview, State Rep. Don Dahl announced his retirement and expressed a disappointment with a few key issues as being the reason to not seek another term.

One of those issues was the Holcomb coal-fired power plants that Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Robert Bremby chose to deny a permit based on CO2 emissions.

The legislature passed at least two bills that would have stripped the regulatory powers of KDHE and paved the way to permit the power plants. Gov. Sebelius vetoed both bills but offered a compromise to permit the building of a scaled-down plant of a size that would have taken care of the future electrical needs of western Kansas.

The legislative leadership refused to compromise and instead used strong-arm tactics and holding other legislation hostage to try to win the votes needed to override the veto.

They were not successful and the citizens got to watch the theater of hardball, special interest politics at work in Topeka.

This October we will be able to see the story of the Kansas coal-plant controversy told on the award winning PBS documentary series “Frontline,” when this will be part of the bigger story of the politics of reacting to climate change by denial or solutions.

Internationally respected energy policy expert Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute recently stated, “I think the important policies need to happen at a state rather than a federal level. With modest exceptions, our federal energy policy is really a large trough arranged by the hogs for their convenience.”

The 70th District has three candidates vying for the chance to go to Topeka and represent us. The voters deserve to know how each of the candidates will approach the issue and how well informed they are on the science and technology associated with the issue.

At the state level, one of the most effective strategies could be energy conservation through mandates to replace the state-owned vehicle fleet with the most fuel-efficient vehicles, reinstate the cost share energy-saving grant program to retrofit public buildings with energy saving windows, lighting and heating and air-conditioning, and fund education efforts in schools and elsewhere to raise citizen awareness of energy saving techniques.

The gallons of fuel and kilowatt hours saved by conservation are the least expensive ways to increase the net amount of energy available and “keep the lights on.”

Harry E. Bennett
Marion 

Energy policy needs a diverse solution

The pages of this newspaper often display the sentiments of Kansans frustrated by the cost of energy, including the high cost of gasoline. I support many proposals to address escalating prices, but these solutions are going nowhere until there is a collective will to do something about the energy crisis.

The will does not currently exist because Republicans and Democrats are trying to posture themselves to deflect blame and capture political gains. I disagree with my colleagues and believe Congress should be solution-minded, not partisan.

The energy challenge requires a diverse solution of developing all available energy resources. While the demand for energy has continued to increase over the years, there has been no significant change in our domestic supply. We must lift federal bans on oil and natural gas exploration in Alaska and off our coasts to increase our domestic supply.

Expanded production of domestic oil and natural gas resources alone cannot solve this problem.

The solution must also include initiatives to support renewable energy such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydro-electric and nuclear power, as well as biofuels made in states like Kansas.

Energy development must also be accompanied by energy conservation. We must encourage more efficient vehicles and construction of energy conserving buildings.

If we are to solve this nation’s energy problem, Democrats and Republicans must work together to promote conservation, aggressively pursue forms of renewable energy, and develop domestic exploration and production of oil and natural gas.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran
Kansas First District 

Land use is a topic we need to consider

I thought Jerry Engler’s column about land use in the United States (June 18 issue) was a good one. Maybe with crops being flooded and food prices going up, it will come about that maybe we shouldn’t be using all of our land for housing and malls.

We lived in the Niagara region of Ontario for five years, and fruit farms were being turned into housing developments. The fruit there is the best! I think they have finally stopped the good farming land from being covered in concrete, but I think it is something we need to think about here.

But everyone wants a piece of land in the country.

The other side is that when a farmer can sell his land by the foot instead of by the acre and finally can get something for a product he sells—after all, sometimes crops don’t go for much—he will have something to retire on. I’m glad Jerry brought up the subject for us to think about.

Darla Loewen
Carpenter, S.D.

Do the right thing about pets, folks!

I was just told of a kitten being dumped into a garbage can, later found and taken to the vet. I can understand someone not wanting a cat, as they are not necessarily my favorite animal either.

It would be fine if you wanted to euthanize it or give it away. But to throw a live baby animal into a garbage can is the work of a low-life dirtbag in my opinion.

I am sure the individual who did it wouldn’t care to die from being squashed and/or suffocated in a garbage truck.

Think about it.

If you don’t want baby animals, then be responsible enough to get yours fixed. It is that simple.

One other thing. To those responsible, please quit dumping your animals in the country when you get tired of them. It would be a lot less cruel for them to go to the vet to be euthanized, or to be shot, than to die of starvation or disease, or eaten alive by predators.

Let’s do the right thing, folks.

C. Eric Rust
Rural Marion County


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