You are here: home   Issues   Right-wing Migration   Sacrifice zones: A regrettable inevitability
Topic: Energy     Department: Letters

Sacrifice zones: A regrettable inevitability

Document Actions

I earn my living protecting undeveloped natural ecosystems and restoring degraded landscapes, and I visit Western deserts as frequently as I can. So I sympathize with the residents and stewards of the Mojave Desert confronted by the reality of industrial energy development profiled in Judith Lewis Mernit's "Sacrificial Land" (HCN, 4/15/13). However, these people's complaints, however legitimate and justifiable, strike me as more than a little motivated by Not In My Backyard concerns. Are the hinterlands of the Mojave Desert more sacred than the forests and rivers in the eastern "sacrifice zone," in the central Appalachian coal fields where each year thousands of mountainous acres in West Virginia, Kentucky and southeastern Ohio are converted to grassy mesas and miles of headwater valleys are buried under tons of overburden? In no way am I passing judgment on the value of the Mojave ecosystems or the lives of these desert residents. But as long as the population of the United States continues to grow, our appetite for electricity expands, and a comprehensive federal energy policy is lacking, such conflicts are, regrettably, inevitable.

David J. Robertson
Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania

Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. Why homes are lost to wildfire | This Forest Service expert says it's as much a soc...
  2. The energy haves and have-nots | Will rooftop solar owners get off the grid — and...
  3. Will the Colorado River reach the Gulf of California once more? | Photographs of last month's historic water pulses....
  4. Locals resist a Bakkenization of the Beartooths | South-central Montanans oppose new drilling, forew...
  5. The toxic legacy of Exxon Valdez | We are just beginning to understand the true cost ...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone