Letters to the Editor
Smart climate action needed now
To the Journal editor:
Pragmatism is defined as the practical approach to problems. This means if I am going to be pragmatic, I have to set aside pre-conceived opinions and evaluate problems as level-headedly as possible. It may mean, at times, I will have to choose the lesser of two evils.
How do you feel about nuclear power? Three-mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima justifiably make us skeptical of nuclear power generation.
Today, we have 99 operating nuclear plants in the US supplying us 20 percent of our electricity and they are in a precarious position. The reason is nearly every other form of energy is cheaper. Since 2013 five nuclear plants have closed.
When plants close, the electricity they produced is often replaced by electricity generated by fossil fuel-powered plants. This means carbon dioxide emissions rise beyond limits we can hope to survive. We cannot afford to shut down any of our nuclear plants at this time because they produce no carbon pollution.
Here is the bottom line: Our National Academies of Science, the International Panel on Climate Change and 13 of 13 federal science agencies tell us we have no time to waste.
Carbon pollution is rampant because we subsidize fossil fuels. The waste of fossil fuels is dumped into the air without penalty. That waste, even if we do not consider the destruction of our climate, also creates a myriad of health problems. Comparing coal and nuclear fatalities per unit of energy produced are not even close.
We must punish pollution and reward clean energy. For the time being, we need to protect nuclear power until we can ramp up solar and wind.
We have the means to do it! The House of Representatives will be voting on HR7173 called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. It will penalize pollution and reward us through a citizen dividend.
Want details? Go to www.citizensclimatelobby.org and www.ucsusa.org or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a well-researched paper written by MTU Distinguished Professor of Environmental History, Nancy Langston.
HR7173 will not magically pass because it makes common sense. It will only pass if we call and politely demand it. Set the remote down, please, and call your congressperson.
Disappointed in our president
To the Journal editor:
(Recently), I watched the pre-game ceremonies of the Army-Navy football game. As a veteran, observing the cadets and the midshipmen left me with a sense of pride for our country and our military. To me they represented what is good in our otherwise divided country. As the saying goes, “there are no atheists in foxholes.” Neither are there Republicans, Democrats or independents in foxholes. Then the cameras shifted to the president. Immediately my pride evaporated. In 1968 (at the height of the Vietnam War) some doctor conveniently said (Trump) had bone spurs (his parents’ wealth did the talking) which kept him out of the draft. I’m willing to bet these alleged spurs never required treatment. As a draftee, I find it difficult to understand how any veteran, or current active military person can respect him.
With the recent death of President H.W. Bush, it’s hard not to compare the two. For one thing, there is no comparison. One a true military hero and unifier of our country. The other, well he speaks for himself. There has never been a more unpresidential president than this man. To me he is an embarrassment to our country.
With the division this man has created, it could lead to the next civil war. However, it won’t be between the North and the South, it will be between the Left and the Right.
And by the way, there “were no” hush money payments and Mexico “will pay” for the wall. We must all be Mexicans.
U.S. Army 1972-74
DNR must improve wolf tracking
To the Journal editor:
On May 27, 2016, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to Michigan DNR, seeking 2016 wolf depredation data including livestock verified killed or reported missing, the location of the events and payments issued to compensate producers for losses. I also requested a copy of “reports and or documentation for any non-lethal measures implemented in Ontonagon County in an attempt to reduce wolf conflicts.”
DNR partially denied my request asserting the release of the location of these conflicts would constitute a “clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy.” DNR certified that no documentation or reports existed related to the use of non-lethal measures. I filed an appeal with DNR which they denied.
It is in the public’s interest to know the location of wolf conflicts.
I hired an attorney and took my case to the Michigan Court of Claims. In their recently released decision, the court ruled that DNR improperly withheld the locations of wolf-related incidents that occurred in 2016 and ordered the agency to release the location as this information is not of a personal nature. The court further stated that the names of individuals making depredation reports are not exempt and found it appropriate to award my attorneys’ fees, costs and disbursements of $10,000.
Regarding the documentation of non-lethal measures, the court accepted the DNR’s affidavit stating: “The court cannot compel defendant to produce under FOIA that which does not exist.” This is problematic.
Upon delisting, DNR will have the authority to kill problem wolves. How can DNR justify killing wolves, authorize producers or utilize hunters to kill wolves when they fail to maintain records of non-lethal measures used?
In compliance with the court order, DNR released the unredacted information which confirmed my suspicions. Of the 21 verified wolf/livestock events during 2016, 81 percent were at one Ontonagon County farm and this producer received 86 percent of all depredation payments. I can only speculate as to why DNR didn’t want this information revealed.
Fencing has been shown to be highly effective in reducing conflicts and records show that DNR had funding at the time under a federal grant to provide fencing and other non-lethal tools. Were they offered to this producer? Were they provided and shown to be ineffective? Why isn’t there documentation?
FOIA is an effective means to hold DNR accountable as the public has the right to know if they are following the Wolf Management Plan.