On nuclear energy and greenhouse gases

Editor of the Reformer:

There’s a serious problem arising from America’s surging production of shale gas, that is methane greenhouse emissions. The rise in methane discharges from natural gas wells and processing facilities are apparently nullifying any environmental gains that have been achieved by switching from coal to gas in electricity production. If that’s the case, what can be done about it?

A new study has determined that emissions of methane -- which is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas -- are higher than was thought and could be exacerbating climate change. The study by 15 climate scientists at Harvard University found that methane discharges from oil and gas production might be as much as five times greater than the level estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Published by the National Academy of Sciences, the study may have profound implications for U.S. energy policy. It suggests that President Obama has engaged in wishful thinking in his support of fracking for natural gas. Not only is the Administration surprisingly irresolute on reducing methane emissions, but it also is missing an opportunity to advocate a reform that would help combat climate change and increase the use of emission-free energy sources.

A reduction in corporate taxes that would reward the use of nuclear power and renewable energy sources that produce little or no greenhouse gasses, while providing additional incentives to home owners for improved energy efficiency could go a long way to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Surely President Obama could support such worthwhile environmental goals, since recent decisions to shut down several nuclear plants will lead to greater use of fossil fuels and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Bob Leach,

Radiation Protection Manager/

Certified Reactor Operator, Retired

Dec. 13

To medicate,
or not to medicate?

Editor of the Reformer:

Why would psychiatrist Neil Senor in a recent editorial in The Commons take time to write about the dangers of marijuana use before wrangling with the drug problems of his own field? He challenges that marijuana hasn’t ever killed anyone, which it may not have. Meanwhile proof abounds that drugs dispensed by the psychiatric field kill routinely. Doesn’t Neil Senor care that psychiatrists are killing? Would he like to see a robust new oversight of the entire field? I would. From my perspective as a mom, psychiatrists are sanctioned drug dealers. They prescribe drugs created by drug companies who only make a profit when people are "sick."

How many beside me followed the under thread on the web of the stories of mass killings around this country, and saw that every one of them had a killer on meds. As well, evidence of iotrogenic deaths (death by medicine) is beginning to be known, and the numbers are hugely significant.

In my own life, I have seen this occur twice, once with my beloved soul mother, Versa, who suffered from burns due to a chemical reaction to a drug to treat her cancer before dying. The second occurrence, a lovely young woman of 18, Christina, asked to stay at my home because there she felt she safe. I loved her as my own. She would have been safe. She flourished. She quit smoking, she began taking walks in the woods. She was singing. But every night she would take the medications that her psychiatrist prescribed her. She’d begin to slur her words, and act so woozy she had to go to bed. Over the course of the months she stayed, her psychiatrist gave her another two prescriptions (unbeknownst to me, who had advised her to cut down). In total she had nine medications in her body (some contraindicated her family later said) when she died of an overdose in my home. The autopsy blamed a psychiatric medication she got on the street and a partially finished fifth of vodka.

I don’t smoke (I have in the past), but I don’t worry about pot. In fact I am a candidate for governor and my views holds with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), that no addiction should be criminalized. Jailing addicts does not make society safer, it only gives us higher taxes that are not being used effectively. I support the full legalization of pot, and it’s local production, where we can verify it hasn’t been laced with something bad, such as heroin. If we legalized we could inspect. Our alcohol laws work for pot use.

I asked my psychiatric nurse sister over Thanksgiving, "Is there such a thing as exercise therapy for depression? Wouldn’t it be effective? Why don’t we see it?" She answered that the major studies are done by drug companies to show their drug works, and there isn’t money for a study that shows exercise works.

There just might be a more natural way to get healthy in mind, body and soul than to medicate.

Emily Peyton,

Putney, Dec. 2