Lighthouse Letters: The Best From February
Each month, The Pilot reprints the letters judged to be the best from the previous month.
Focus Needs to Shift
To Affordable Energy
FROM Feb. 11: Several letters have appeared lately about global warming. The environmental impact side of carbon-based energy use has been debated to the point that the more important priority -- future availability of affordable energy -- has been pushed to the background. The key word is "affordable."
Theory holds that all the easy-to-extract oil reserves in the world have been discovered.
Going forward, demand will outstrip supply due to world economic expansion. This will cause prices to escalate even higher than we saw last year.
Natural gas, like oil, is a diminishing resource. Consumption is up, due to new power plant conversion to gas. Facilities are being built to handle liquefied natural gas, but the construction and transportation costs weigh in heavily and add to the use cost.
Uranium also has a limited supply. One estimate states that if enough conventional reactors (not breeder reactors) were built to supply about one-half of the world's electrical energy consumption, the supply of uranium could be depleted within 30 years.
Coal supply is abundant, especially in North America (estimated 159-year supply), but air quality standards dictate that clean coal technologies will have to be applied in future uses. This increases the use cost.
The path forward is to develop supply in the short term and alternative sources of affordable energy for the longer term. One report states that to replace just 10 percent of U.S. coal-supplied power consumption would require as many as 40,000 wind turbines.
How long would it take to construct these? Who could make them?
One thing is obvious. If we don't get focused on the real problem, high energy costs will diminish the quality of life we now enjoy -- and the quality of life that future generations anticipate.
Time to Meet Halfway
FROM FEB. 6: Your "So Much for Change and Bipartisanship" editorial (Feb. 1) is also a no-change editorial. As in the past you blamed the Republicans. This time it's for not showing "a little courage" by not joining in a bipartisan approach to the measure.
Where was this "outrage" at the Democrats for not allowing Republicans to have some input to the bill? President Obama is trying to reach out to the opposition party, but I guess House Speaker Pelosi doesn't intend to do so.
You failed to mention the fact that 11 Democratic representatives crossed the aisle and voted against the measure. I guess they were showing bipartisanship in their votes. Additionally, you failed to mention the correct vote tally, 244-188.
If there is to be true bipartisanship in Congress, both parties need to play nice in the sandbox and get along. The president needs to have the Speaker of the House and Majority Leader of the Senate also extend olive branches to the Republicans.
Republicans need to accept the fact they were solidly defeated in the last election and must meet the majority party part way.
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