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Stop Damage to Waters
Lake Bellaire is a northern Michigan treasure, enjoyed by its residents and visitors for fishing, boating, and majestic views. But there is an unwelcome surprise awaiting those who love the Antrim Chain of Lakes, and Lake Bellaire.
The O.I.L. Energy Corporation has recently applied to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for two permits to drill for natural gas near the intersection of Brake Road and White Birch Lane, mere yards from the headwaters of the Grass River.
The proposed well will be over 900 feet deep, then turn, horizontally, for another 2600 feet. The amount of land cleared and industrialized will be significant. Given the DEQ’s record, the permits are almost guaranteed to be granted.
Residents will soon be forced into the debate of whether or not Michigan should continue to support gas and oil exploration, thought by many to threaten our pristine lakes, rivers, and water aquifers.
My advice is for residents and visitors to research the effects of gas and oil exploration in states like Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Dakota and California, where spills and fracking may be permanently damaging ground water. Michigan also has numerous gas wells, some of them fracked, many drilled near the headwaters of the AuSable, Manistee, and Muskegon rivers.
I believe Michigan must lead the nation by moving away from hydrocarbon energy towards renewable energy. Our current Lansing representatives benefit greatly from the lobbying efforts of big gas and oil, but could be persuaded if enough citizens remind them of the importance of tourism, which depends on clean lakes and rivers.
If Lake Bellaire residents wish to fight against permits for drilling gas, they should do so immediately by contacting their representatives and joining environmental groups resisting Michigan oil and gas exploration.
The gas companies have the upper hand, so protesting must be significant and persistent.
Glenn Bier, East Jordan
Learn About NSA’s Powers
I read and watch the news with growing concern over the expansive powers of the National Security Administration (NSA). The explosive revelations by Edward Snowden now being reported by Glenn Greenwald and others hopefully are triggering thoughts and renewed debate over the tension between national security and information privacy. It has now been reported that the NSA is collecting ALL mobile phone conversations in the Bahamas, not especially known as a hotbed of terrorism.
If you are concerned or just want to learn more, attend an airing of Democracy Now’s interview with Glenn Greenwald regarding his new book “No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State” on June 2 at 6:30pm at the Traverse Area District Library. The event is sponsored by MidEastJustPeace.org.
Marian Kromkowski, Suttons Bay
Too Much War
Are we addicted to war?
A recent speaker on international affairs reported that the current military budget is 20 percent of the total U.S. budget. Those figures are “suspect.” Since 9/11, the US military budget has swollen by 49 percent over its 2000 levels, not including two wars. Many of our brightest engineers and scientists have been drawn from potential productive careers like developing alternative energy sources and research into developing weapons.
Has violence become our nation’s leading industry? One of the priorities of our national security strategy is to “perpetuate US military dominance globally so no nation can rival or threaten the United States.” In 2003, 80 percent of the top buyers of US weapons were countries our own State Department said were countries known for their failure to uphold civil rights. We sell to both sides of conflicts. In the past century, 43 million military personnel were killed in war, and 62 million civilians.
Ten percent of the U.S. military budget could care for the basic needs of the entire world’s poor. I can think of a few programs in our country that could use additional funds: education, medical research, and transportation -- all of which would add value to our lives as citizens. Must our fear outweigh our common concern for the life of our planet?
Lou Ann McKimmy, Kewadin
Correction: We mistakenly identified Jim Harvey’s wife Wendy as Linda in an article last week about the Traverse City Summer Concert Series. We apologize for the error.