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Letters 06-10-2013

- June 10th, 2013  

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Disaster & hypocrites

It’s too bad some people have no empathy until disaster strikes home. There are 6 Republicans and 1 Democrat in the Oklahoma congressional delegation. How many of these Congressmen voted against Hurricane Sandy relief but are now standing with their hands out? I believe it was 5.

This Bible belt doesn’t seem very “Christian” to me. I think it’s disgusting when you only care if it happens to you.

David Petty • Charlevoix

Saving our planet

I am thankful to live in Northern Michigan where the water is clear and the summers comfortable. Unfortunately, we are dependent on fossil fuels to maintain our current lifestyle. The waste products generated, including potent greenhouse gases, have the power to change the quality of our lives for generations to come.

In the U.S., the fossil fuel industry is unaccountable for damage done by carbon emissions in terms of human health and climate. Many other countries have instituted a tax on carbon which would force the fossil fuel industry to pay for these damages.

Even conservatives like economists Art Laffer (Reagan administration) and Greg Mankiw (Bush administration) and former Secretary of State George Schultz agree that a carbon tax would employ the free market to move away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy.

One proposal would be to have a phasedin tax on fossil fuels at the first point of sale ($15/ton of carbon increasing annually $10/ton). The Carbon Tax Center estimates that this would lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions to 30% below 2005 levels in about a decade.

The funds generated from a revenueneutral carbon tax would be equally distributed back to the people (via periodic dividends or income tax rebates), protecting low and middle income families from increased energy costs until the transition to renewable energy is complete. This would create incentive to move toward renewable energy which would stimulate the economy and create jobs without increasing the size of government. Instituting border tariffs on countries that do not already have such a tax in place would protect American jobs.

As Michiganders, we have the responsibility to preserve our beautiful home for generations to come. A revenueneutral carbon tax is an ideal bipartisan way to facilitate that process.

Elizabeth A. Del Buono • via email

Gas attack

How great would it be to give yourself a $5,000-$10,000 raise every Thursday afternoon by simply, typing in some new prices for gasoline on the digital sign in front of your station?

That is what goes on here in the TC area almost every weekend. Do the math. If a station raises it’s price 30 cents a gallon and then sells 50,000 gallons in that week, they make an extra $5,000 that week. Larger stations that sell more gas make more.

Jeff Greenwood • via email

Hung out to dry in Boyne

Mayor Ron Grunch of Boyne City, a lakeside community haven for both residents and vacationers – riparian, mariner, camper, summer-homeowner, sailor, hiker, cycler - won’t allow alcohol to be served at outdoor tables contiguous to the town’s restaurants.

He’s not alone. Four of five commissioners voted to nix the proposition. What is wanted is a popular vote, not five people. No public hearing; no inclusion of outdoor alcohol vote at the next meeting. That bill is dead, like the business it banned.

It must be realized of course that by not providing this service many potential customers will go somewhere else next time, after dining and drinking indoors or immediately opting to move along to the next town for friendlier ambience. Boaters and motor-homers can easily depart for Petoskey or Traverse City for their pleasures and take their money with them.

What is it with these people? These few who determine the decorous nature of dining and drinking as if reciting a church catechism want a tidy little environment wherein no sloppy degenerate drunks are wanted. Are they unaware of the tourist trade that reflects so much money spent on entertainment?

Outdoor drinkers and diners are no more raucous or boisterous than your ordinary backyard cookout revelers with beer coolers. What is this: The Inquisition? A Salem witch hunt? The Vatican? A convent? A monastery? Perhaps a tea party.

This is Boyne City, guys and gals, the historic place founded in part by the black family Zack and Mary Morgan seeking freedom, lumberjacks, onetime home of the Tannery, hotels, brickworks, a pioneer village that attracted folk who wanted a healthy environment and opportunity to engage in enterprise in the burgeoning post-Civil War state via land grants and entrepreneurial energy.

You mean on a hot day they couldn’t sit and drink a beer outside the hotel restaurant? This is just silly, petty and prudish to outlaw a beer with your burger if you choose the sidewalk patio. Preconceived notions of behavior or inference are insulting and a calumny. Good intentions overwrought are presumptuous tee-totaling arrogance.

This is a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

I’ll just mosey along to Petoskey for lunch. Maybe that newest brewery has a sidewalk table.

Mitchell Jon MacKay • Boyne City

Contamination conflict

Oil and gas companies have applied for about 20 leases of federal and state land to explore for crude oil and natural gas. They argue that the process of hydrofracking will make the U.S. energy-independent.

In this process they will use millions of gallons of fresh water and contaminate it with chemicals, some of which are carcinogens. This slurry is pumped underground to break up the rock layers and release oil and gas.

The contaminated water that emerges from the well head is pumped into trucks and sent to sites where it is pumped back into existing wells. Not addressed is the future impact on our ground water, lakes and streams. These companies may export the natural gas and oil to other countries. In short, their plan is to use our fresh water supply, contaminate it, pump it back into existing wells, and profit by selling it to other countries.

If Michigan or the federal government leases these lands, at a minimum huge escrow funds should be set up by the companies to pay for any claims, restoration of contaminated streams or lakes and pay for any litigation that occurs as a result of fracking. Companies should also purify the contaminated slurry that is emitted from fracking before it is injected into other wells.

Ron Dykstra • Beulah

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