Letters to the editor, July 2022

Comments from readers.

 

REMARKABLE DESTRUCTION

Thank you very much for Emmet Gowin’s remarkable illustration of the destructive damage to the Nevada Test Site by the U.S. government (“Man Looking Down Earth Looking Upward,” June 2022). The amount of damage to the land is frightening. And also thanks so much for Terry Tempest Williams’ profound and moving essay by a “downwinder.” I loved her derivation of the term pappekak, but BS has never been more clear.

Chuck Trost
Pocatello, Idaho

 

As a longtime supporter of HCN, I read your article (“Man Looking Down Earth Looking Upward,” June 2022) and viewed the surreal images of the nuclear testing legacy with great enthusiasm. In my career, I was responsible for a few of the nuclear explosives that created these subsidence craters, including the last of them, Divider, referenced in the article. However, those craters were conflated with the plight of the downwinders exposed to radiation from atmospheric testing in the early days of the Cold War. The craters are the result of underground testing that all but ended that period in the early ’60s. These images support a narrative that ended a dark era, and Divider ended nuclear testing altogether in 1992 in the U.S. and in other countries as well during that time frame.

Larry Witt
Moab, Utah

  

KING OF ARTICLES

I think Ruxandra Guidi’s piece (“The Lion King of Los Angeles,” May 2022) about Miguel Ordeñana, feline celebrity P-22, Griffith Park, Los Angeles wildlife and so much more is one of my favorite High Country News stories of all time.

Shawnté Salabert
Los Angeles, California

 

RIDING HEARD ON HEARD

I haven’t been reading you much lately (just life stuff), but after happening upon Tiffany Midge’s column yesterday (Heard Around the West), I’m back. Just renewed for two years lest I miss a single sentence she writes. She’s a keeper.

Billie Stanton
Arvada, Colorado

 

BIGGER THINKING NEEDED

I read “Powell’s looming power problem” (June 2022) and was disappointed that the article didn’t go deeper into this crisis. More investigation might open the door to revised management of the Colorado River Storage Project to help mitigate the drought. 

Prioritizing power production was the primary way that Bureau of Reclamation Director Floyd Dominy justified the construction of Glen Canyon back in the 1950s and early 1960s. Big problems require big solutions. Solving today’s problems and making these legacy water supply projects resilient will also require bold thinking.

Robert Crifasi
Boulder, Colorado

 

‘RARE’ METALS

I was somewhat surprised to not see a bit more skepticism displayed in your story “Tellurium in the Klamath Mountains?” (June 2022). 

Unfortunately, these sort of mining schemes have never really panned out economically, resulting primarily in long-lasting environmental scars. Anyone who has traveled in the backcountry West, including southern Oregon, can still witness the degraded landscapes from similar exploits during the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

In addition, it failed to explain that the term “rare” for tellurium and its ilk is really a misnomer. While such elements occur in very low concentrations (and may therefore be difficult to process), they can be incredibly plentiful in the earth’s crust. As the story correctly noted, tellurium can be readily and cheaply obtained as a byproduct of copper smelting. Better to obtain such “rare” elements as a consequence of existing mining, rather than encouraging new sites.

Thanks, by the way, for paying attention to our little corner of the West and for your incredible publication. 

Dan Thorndike 
Ashland, Oregon 

 

While rare metals may be vital to our society, the greed of the mining industry will poison our earth. I pray that southern Oregon will resist the mining and the pollution and destruction that their greed will produce.

The Earth is owned by no one; it belongs to everyone.

Charles Martin
Seattle, Washington

 

NO NOSTALGIA

We’ve watched Yellowstone and see this show differently than Liza Black’s critique (“We don’t share land here” May 2022).

First, the show portrays the Duttons as homesteading on the land and making it their own private kingdom. The show is clear that a good part of that land previously belonged to Indigenous people. Second, we see no heroes among the show’s characters. Actually, many of them are despicable. It has brought us no nostalgia.

The show sends a strong message that if you have something worth having, there will be those who will try to take it away from you, and you will have to fight to keep it. It is a long-term history lesson worth remembering.

Black is correct that Yellowstone says America belongs to whoever can hold onto it. I would add the show also says it belongs to anyone who can take it from someone else by legal, non-legal and even violent means.

John W. Thomas
Fort Collins, Colorado

 

WISDOM FOR GRIEF

Ruxandra Guidi’s essay was so eloquent, so true and so loving (“When the little owl vanishes” March 2022). It is a perfect expression of my own grief. I have two wonderful grandchildren I am grateful to have in my life, even as I grieve for them every day, knowing that they are going to witness horrible chaos and suffering as our species self-destructs. I was so grateful for Guidi’s words of wisdom.

Stephen Wilder
Willow, New York

We welcome reader letters. Email High Country News at [email protected] or submit a letter to the editor. See our letters to the editor policy.

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