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Letters 1/28/08

- January 28th, 2008
Dear Climate Confused:
We need the temperature measurements you mentioned to more accurately predict the weather, but we don’t need them to know that our earth is warming (re: Letters 1/21). Many measurements indicate that our earth is warming, such as, the increase in ocean temperature, the lengthening of our growing season, the melting of glaciers, etc. These things cannot happen unless our earth is warming.
We can measure the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in our atmosphere very accurately, and the ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica allow us to measure both over long periods of time.
For me the most significate measurement is that of oxygen in our atmosphere: in 1976 it was 20.9476, in ‘88 it was 20.9429, and in ‘99 it was 20.9362.
This is a small decrease in oxygen, but the only way we can lose oxygen is through the burning of fosil fuels, and this decrease proves beyond any doubt that we are changing our world.
If you would like to know more, go to my web site and click on comments and then ‘It’s more than carbon dioxide’ and ‘It’s more than global warming.’ http://my.freeway.net/~rrriker.

Richard R Riker Mackinaw City

Conspiracy theorist?
One evening while I was watching TV, I saw a 15-second announcement stating that sometime in 2009 everyone will need to update their TV set because (digital) TV signals will only be broadcast through a cable box. I thought first, “this doesn’t change anything, I already have cable, and so does most everyone else.” My second thought was, “why does it matter how anyone chooses to receive their TV signal?”
Days later I noticed Public Access channel 2 had a U.S. Army-endorsed show about the great things our Army is up to. It didn’t appear to me to be local access anymore.
Today, I read in “The Eagle” that scheduled local access shows are to be broadcast on “Governmental channel 99.” Suddenly, I remembered hearing somewhere... “The revolution will not be televised...”.
I was always told to ask questions, and this is my question: Is something happening to our public access channel?

Gary Wittig • via email

Mine is poison for U.P.
The Department of Environmental Quality‘s comment period on the Kennecott company’s petition to open a metallic sulfide mine on the Yellow Dog Plains in the Upper Peninsula is closed. However, I would like to share my concerns about this project.
First, this is no place for a mine. The headwaters of the Salmon Trout River, a pristine tributary of Lake Superior and home to endangered coaster brook trout is one of the worst places in Michigan, if not the world, to put a mine. Any mine. And to even consider a metallic sulfide mine operated by an EPA listed polluting foreign company is more than crazy. It’s criminal.
Second, while Michigan’s new mining law looks good on paper, it’s a facade. Deficiencies include: No siting criteria or water setbacks, making any fragile environment a potential mine site. The mining company does the data collection, monitoring, reporting with the DEQ, inspecting the site just four times a year and environmental threats reported “as soon as possible.” There is no monitoring along the transportation route. Local zoning control was taken away from governments and the people most affected. The rules are confusing, making the law difficult to enforce.
Third, the Kennecott application is flawed. Essential information on groundwater, surface water, discharge rate, transportation and safety is missing from the application.
During the hearings, Kennecott was allowed to change the discussion to jobs rather than environmental concerns. But there are not that many jobs to risk the largest source of fresh water in the country. If Kennecott doesn’t address safety and environmental concerns and the DEQ doesn’t require it (or hides missing data), then the permit process is itself flawed.
Fourth, this is our state land, not Kennecott’s. You don’t have to let them use it, so “takings” isn’t an issue. The payoff to the state of Michigan doesn’t add up. They get billions. We get few short term jobs, toxic waste dumps, polluted air and water, lower property values, health issues for citizens, and a trashed landscape no one wants to visit, ruining our vital tourism economy. Michigan is being treated like a third world country with state leaders looking on in assent.
In summary, Michigan, Water Wonderland of the US, has lost its way and you are leading us down the wrong path. No mine should be sited here, the mining law has no teeth, the application is flawed, and the people of Michigan lose.

Mattea Wellnitz - Rapid City

Follow the order..
The “bucking” part of making buckskin was to soak the fresh deer hide in hardwood ashes or lye so that the outer skin layer and the hair could be scraped off.
Bay Harbor shoreline seepage would do just as well; it is lye’s chemical equivalent, just as strong – but also contains hazardous levels of arsenic, lead, other carcinogens, making it unfit for use in clothing. Unfit for use in swimming, fishing, drinking, wading – anything.
In fact, it has been officially known as a hazard to public health, safety, and welfare for over 25 years! Why? Because of the cement kiln dust abandoned there without treatment by the departed Penn-Dixie Cement Plant.
And in February 2005, the EPA generated an Administrative Order (not a “mild suggestion” or a “what about –?” – no, an ORDER) calling for the clean-up of the Bay Harbor Hazard by removing, isolating, or containing the toxic materials. There was no mention of squirting it down a hidey-hole in some little nearby town. The order was issued to the CMS Energy Company, a partner in the development and ownership of the Bay Harbor Resort, site of the hazardous waste deposits.
And what has CMS come up with? A plan requiring the drilling of a hidey-hole in Alba where the toxic problem can be squirted down into fractured and permeable rock and shale and an active groundwater system.
In September, at an all-day meeting with CMS and a panel of experts and consultants, hosted by Friends of the Jordan, CMS was offered all manner of help in developing a plan consistent with the EPA order, but in the end showed no intent to carry out all the conditions of the EPA order, preferring to clout its way along to the hidey-hole method.
The eminent geologist, Dr. Jim McClurg, a long-time property-owner on Torch Lake, intimately acquainted with the geology of the region, points out that bed rock and shale layers in the Michigan Basin – that’s where we live – were bent down by the weight of the two-mile-thick glaciers until they fractured. As we’ve all seen in martial arts displays, once the strong man’s blow cracks the top-most tile in the stack, they all break, one after the other, just as the layers of shale and limestone have done here.
So, it doesn’t matter that CMS plans to case its hidey-hole in steel. When the toxic water comes out at the bottom of the pipe, it’s free to flow through the billions of existing fractures in this very active groundwater system and come into our lives in unforeseen ways, as well as in some very foreseeable ways, such as poisoned water wells, contaminated streams, rivers and lakes, and heavier emergency room traffic.
Please join us in endorsing Dr. McClurg’s request that a meaningful, independent, geological study be done and publicly reported before there is any pumping of toxic wastes into the ground. Visit
our website at www.friendsofthejordan.org, and support our petition.
It looks as though this time, the buck stops here, with us ordinary types joining in a determined effort to get things done right. Buckskin, anyone?

Jack Norris, Three Lakes
Association & Dr. John Richter President of Friends of the Jordan River Watershed, Inc.

 
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