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Letters to the Editor

Kudos to Hal Crowther...

Let me buy the man a hammer. Hal Crowther has hit the nail on the head so precisely so many times, he must be ready for a new one.

Reading an article that expresses viewpoints so completely in unison with my own, and having it put to paper with such elegance, clarity and passion is comforting even when the subject is not. I am certain I am only one of many Indy readers sharing this experience while reading Crowther's latest cover story ("Prince George and the return of the Sheriff of Nottingham," Oct. 4).

Just knowing it and agreeing with each other about it is not enough; actions must be taken to turn the ship and create new trends. Thanks for the continuing inspiration.

Clay Harless

...and reporter Lisa Sorg

While the corporate media abdicated its duty on the Duke Energy/climate issue at a most important juncture for this state, the Indy opened up the underbelly of the behemoth ("Duke Energy pays lip service to efficiency," Oct. 4).

Your approach in exposing multiple contradictions is crucial: The public and its advocates almost never win against giant corporate polluters simply by having hands-down technical, legal, moral and economic arguments. It's vitally important to challenge how the debate is waged. This is a hard lesson for many talented and dedicated people to learn.

In the case of both Duke Energy and Progress Energy, their aggressive corporate lip service about concern for climate and support for energy efficiency has misled many people into thinking these companies are actually walking their talk. Instead, even as we speed into a climate crisis, both utilities are stepping on the gas by trying to divert billions of public dollars into huge coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

North Carolina must choose: We can remain under the shadow of these utilities, which have made such a mess of our natural, economic and political systems, or ramp up clean, efficient energy--the quickest and cheapest way to cut greenhouse gases and damage to public health, as well as boost our economy.

Many people are now working to "mainstream" efficiency and renewable energy, but we do not have time to reach critical mass only by doing the right thing at home. We must concurrently challenge the big utilities' control over our decision-makers and public information system.

Jim Warren
Executive Director
N.C. Waste & Reduction Network

...and cartoonist V.C. Rogers

Many thanks to V.C. Rogers for connecting the dots between problems at Durham's yard waste dump, the toxic explosions at a hazardous waste plant in Apex and the fire safety compliance issue at Shearon Harris nuclear power plant (Peripheral Visions, Oct. 11). Rogers' point is as simple as it is unassailable. Despite the prevalence of safety proclamations from industry and regulators, accidents can and do happen.

In the case of Shearon Harris, a serious accident would quickly and tragically teach our region the meaning of the word catastrophe. This is why local governments in Orange County, Carrboro and Chapel Hill all passed resolutions urging the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to require immediate remediation of the numerous fire safety violations that have plagued the plant for more than a decade. The resolution asks that all violations be corrected before any reactor expansion or license extension is considered. According to the NRC, 50 percent of the risks of catastrophic nuclear plant failure are associated with fire-related accidents.

I urge readers in other jurisdictions to contact their local officials and ask them to pass similar resolutions (a draft resolution and background material can be obtained from the N.C. Waste Awareness & Reduction Network). When it comes to nuclear safety, united we stand ... divided, who knows?

Dan Coleman
(The writer is a member of the Board of Aldermen.)

Question the propaganda

Patrick O'Neill's interview with "Israeli environmentalist" Alon Tal would be disappointing in any media source because of its unquestioning acceptance of Tal's assertions (Oct. 11). In a column titled "Religious Left," it is almost strange.

If the environmental record of the Israeli government is to be examined, a number of issues must be considered. Using environmental degradation as a weapon is a rather important aspect of assessing a nation's commitment to ecological responsibility.

The environmental aspects of the wall are too obvious to require much comment, but it might have been helpful if the topic had at least been raised. Perhaps the wall was what Tal meant when he decried the fact that "so much money goes toward survival" rather than be used for environmental purposes. The reality, of course, is that the money--much of it being used to construct the illegal wall and settlements--is not going toward "survival" but toward the subjugation and colonization of the Palestinian people.

While I share Tal's happiness at the large number of trees planted by the Israeli government, I would also have liked to hear his views on the large number of olive trees on Palestinian lands torn up by the Israeli government. Tal could also have been asked how the highly disproportionate allocation of water fits into the concept of environmental justice. An allocation that is not helped by the fact that many Palestinians are prevented from securing what water is available to them by the actions of settlers.

In short, the interview would have been a great opportunity to bring up a number of important issues. Instead it simply became a vehicle for propaganda.

Richard Wark

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