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Fiddling while oil burns

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In a society that reportedly has a per capita resource consumption 25 times larger than the global average, it is not surprising that the gritty piece by Hannah Nordhaus has more than a grain of truth. To some degree, however, Nordhaus’ cozy interviews with the various perpetrators obscure the fact that pots and kettles come in various shades of black.

It is difficult for some of us, for example, to empathize with Tweeti Blancett as regards the drilling for coalbed methane having “threatened the very existence of her family’s business,” when that business has apparently for 50 years (or even longer) depended on 30,000 acres of public land, most likely at a significant cost to the taxpayer and undoubtedly at a much higher cost to the resident flora and fauna. The significant point, of course, is that the environmental destruction resulting from coalbed methane development is so extreme as to preclude even bovine use, a dire result indeed.

The notion that Blancett is a “wise-use Republican-turned-environmentalist” would appear to be skin-deep at best. There may, of course, be a silver lining to Blancett’s experience, should it discourage others from serving as future campaign coordinators for the rapacious types that have controlled resource extraction on federal lands since the 2000 presidential election.

Riding bicycles and tithing 10 percent of gas royalties to worthy causes may serve as useful symbols to heighten awareness of our collective profligate use of energy. It is of paramount importance, however, to counter and eliminate the political forces and governmental subsidies that result in destructive drilling for oil and gas in unproductive areas, in excessive livestock production at high environmental cost, in the use of highly inefficient processes to extract ethanol from corn, or in placing scores of giant windmills in poor wind zones where their utility is marginal, but they still kill bats, birds and other critters.

Doyle McClure Colfax, Washington

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