Exploring our changing planet
Editor of the Reformer:
This is a response to "Massive landslide in Alaska" which ran in the Friday, July 13, Reformer, on Page 6.
From the article: "When a cliff collapsed in Glacier Bay National Park, [in Alaska] it sent rock and ice coursing down a valley and over a lovely white glacier in what could be one of the largest landslides recorded in North America."
It seems that observers and reporters of natural phenomena have a penchant for the word "lovely" as though it were a law of nature to be pristine, pure, beautiful and, above all, attract the populous to an emotional involvement requiring care, attention, and feeding, like a dog or a flower -- something living and breathing. I’ve used the word "lovely" in a geological context myself. I love the crystal formation of minerals imbedded within colorful matrices. Our family collected minerals from all over the U.S and other countries. It is still a habit of mine to collect these minerals.
The article goes on to report that "Scientists also are looking at the role of climate change." There has been more frequent landslide activity in our national parks. Rocks weaken due to the seasonal patterns of freeze and thaw. Water seeps between the cracks in the rocks, and freezes. Water expands as it freezes. If the freeze continues, it becomes like glue holding those rocks in place. Anyone who has had to replace
The landslide in Alaska is one of many recent natural calamities. Calamity is a part of nature. Our Earth is in another adolescent phase. It’s yelling for attention. It is painfully growing and eroding. Volcanoes produce lava flows, dust and landslides; earthquakes create tsunamis. More frequent hurricanes, floods and drought are becoming "the new normal." Do we have to accept this behavior? How do we adapt? What can we do about the care and feeding of our pet planet?
On a visit to Yosemite National Park in April, we enjoyed the rushing waterfalls and the rainbow mists as the water splashed over the rocks. John Muir’s book "The Yosemite" is truly an inspired description of natural wonders. If President Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir and others hadn’t pushed for the creation of this park, who knows what would have become of the valley floor. Glaciers, landslides, earthquakes and the Merced River might have never been allowed to hold its forests and wildlife, as the area was already targeted for industrial development and construction. Now, from the tunnel overlook, one may see that ancient landslides or talus slopes now support a lovely blanket of evergreens.
Brattleboro, July 16
On VY’s water discharge
Editor of the Reformer:
A recent letter to the editor ("On water temperature," July 11) called for citizens to speak up against Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. The letter’s author claims -- without any scientific support -- that Yankee’s discharge of heated Connecticut River water in accordance with a Vermont Agency of Natural Resource-issued permit is harmful to fish.
The author apparently did not participate, as she could have, in the extensive, recent review by VANR and others of Yankee’s thermal discharge permit. Had she done so, she would know that her claims are wrong and stunningly so. The author fails to point out that for more than three decades, Vermont Yankee has engaged leading fisheries scientists to perform extensive, ongoing analyses of aquatic conditions in the Connecticut River. Their mission -- successful in all respects -- has been to understand this important ecosystem in order to safeguard it.
Over six years, from 2004 into 2009, this extensive scientific database was reviewed by VANR and five other independent
environmental organizations: The Vermont Environmental Court; the Vermont Supreme Court; an independent thermal and biological expert consulting team selected, retained and directed by VANR; VANR’s Environmental Advisory Committee , consisting of representatives of the Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts state environmental and fisheries programs, as well as the United States Fish and Wildlife Service; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Based on their separate reviews, each of these entities separately concluded that Yankee’s discharge was protective of the environment as required by the federal Clean Water Act and Vermont law. These organizations each reached their conclusion fully accounting for the implications of climate change.
It is also ironic that the author seems not to know that nuclear stations, including Yankee, provide needed power every day, without burning hydrocarbons, without emissions of greenhouse gases, and therefore, without advancing climate change concerns.
Vermont Yankee’s aquatic database focuses on key Connecticut River fish, including Atlantic salmon and American shad. For instance, to date, Yankee has submitted more than 45 separate reports to VANR on American shad and Atlantic salmon. Continued protection of the Connecticut River is assured through ongoing monitoring that Yankee performs under VANR’s direction and oversight each year. This monitoring includes assessments of fish and other aquatic species. It also includes hourly temperature measurements (with calibrated equipment that must meet 0.1-degree accuracy). The author also offers no reason that this remarkable body of scientific work should be ignored based on her say so and nothing more. She also failed to mention that 2012 marks a boom year for shad returning to the River.
Over the next year, Yankee’s discharge permit doubtless will again be reviewed by VANR. Given the scope and quality of the reviews that only recently ended with unquestioned support of the highest court in Vermont, we are confident that the conclusion of the new reviews will be the same: Vermont Yankee’s operations protect the Connecticut River.
Vermont Yankee, July 13
They want us
to be sick
Editor of the Reformer:
Do you remember when the Federal Government had the brilliant idea to spray the marijuana fields from the air and the results were that the users became ill? I personally thought, and still do, that it was a great idea.
Well, this is what is happening in my opinion with the users of the EBT cash cards that the state and federal governments provide to the needy. The government’s attitude is: Let’s make the people sick by allowing them to buy anything they want from cigarettes, liquor, tatoos (they make you look sick) and all the non-nutritional foods that you can eat, and then we will attempt to cure them when they become sick with middle-class tax dollars. This will increase the size of government and guarantee job security for government union employees.
We live in a decadent and decaying society where the politicians we voted for are on the take, either morally or financially, or are just fundamentally stupid.
I have tried in vain to suggest to the politicians that if you smoke, your health care should be provided by the R.J. Reynolds company along with other suppliers of poisons, and by removing these individuals along with the 30 million illegal aliens, including the ones that are incarcerated, our medical system including Medicare may become manageable.
Westminster, July 12