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Libby locals should have defended themselves

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Let’s see if I have Ray Ring’s point of view right: Powerful resource extraction corporations spend years demonizing environmentalists. Not-very-sophisticated locals join the powerful and spend years speaking ill of "damn environmentalists." Local enviros move on to other "opportunities."

Is Ray Ring telling us we should feel guilty for not assisting those whose lack of foresight or good sense has put themselves and their families in harm’s way?

We can barely get our own neighborhoods and communities to use good sense about the use of chemicals and sound environmental practices, much less worry about those in rural Montana too stubborn or unwilling to help themselves. If someone’s entire extended family has to be dying of asbestos contamination before they figure out who is the bad actor, there is no profit in spending our very limited abilities on their misfortune.

If the writer is criticizing the "environmental community" for not coming to the aid of persons so short-sighted that they are unable to stay out of harm’s way even after being warned, the writer is unrealistic. We don’t criticize those in the famine relief business because they can’t feed all the dying of Darfur.

Harold Thomas
Sacramento, California

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