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Will environmentalists allow any form of energy production?

To the editor:

The Review-Journal’s June 21 report by John G. Edwards, “Experts air solar grievances at hearing,” provided remarkable insight into why we are watching our standard of living decline and our economy sink in the face of ever-increasing demand for energy.

Forget about oil and gas drilling, coal or nuclear, this meeting was about renewable energy. In the report, we learned that environmentalists:

— Don’t want solar thermal power plants. Why? They use too much water and too much “wild” land.

— Don’t want wind turbines. They kill birds.

— Don’t want geothermal plants because they cause hydrogen sulfide pollution.

— Want public lands kept “pristine and undeveloped.”

Into this yawning canyon of “No!” stumblebums the federal Bureau of Land Management, which has put a 22-month freeze on leases while it “studies” the matter.

Can you see what will happen in 22 months? Whatever decision the BLM makes, some faction within the environmental movement will sue to stop it, tying it up in the courts for a decade or more while other factions in the movement will keep telling us how renewables are the only answer and that coal, natural gas and oil use must be stopped dead.

Besides the mass of people suffering a sharp decline in the quality of their lives, a process well under way already, a brand new industry that could create thousands of new and good-paying jobs will be reduced to nothing more than a fringe player with no real impact at all.

You might want to consider that before you write another check to an environmental group.

KNIGHT ALLEN

LAS VEGAS

No oil ‘independence’

To the editor:

Crude oil is currently selling for about $140 a barrel. The Energy Information Administration states that domestic crude production is slightly more than 5 million barrels a day. This domestically produced crude is then placed on the world market, selling at the same price as oil produced around the world.

Many are arguing that opening offshore drilling and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will result in lower prices for a gallon of gasoline and our being energy independent. If domestically produced crude is priced the same as imported oil, where is the difference in the price at the pumps?

Thus, what is the value of oil “independence”?

President Bush is asking Saudi Arabia to increase production, hoping that an increased supply will reduce the per-barrel price. What he should be doing is asking companies that produce oil domestically to withhold their crude from the world market and sell to the American consumer at a lower price. That would have a more immediate effect on the price at the pump.

What is really happening in this debate is the American consumer is being sold a red herring. The oil companies want to drill in these environmentally sensitive areas in order to put more crude on the world market, taking advantage of the growing demand by China.

Were these domestic producers to show a real concern for the American consumer — meaning the suggestion mentioned above — then I could fully support their effort. Until then, their rhetoric about being independent of foreign oil falls on deaf ears.

Terry E. Peele

LAS VEGAS

Government growth

To the editor:

I had never met nor heard of Mary Lau, president and chief executive officer of the Retail Association of Nevada, but her quote in the June 21 Review-Journal is the most intelligent remark I’ve read concerning our state’s economy:

“If you look at those numbers on employment, the only sector that’s growing is mostly local government. All the business sectors are losing employees.”

I could only add county, state and national government employees to her list. No wonder the budget can’t be balanced.

We the taxpayers cannot and should not be forced to pick up the tab for all the excessive programs and added employees that our elected officials feel is our burden.

Jan Madigan

LAS VEGAS

Knowledge production

To the editor:

Vicki VanBeveren took a cheap shot at Las Vegas college professors in her June 19 letter. There, she sarcastically expresses amazement that some college faculty might actually have to teach.

She does a disservice to all faculty when she expresses shock that 130 faculty did not teach in the fall semester. Those faculty have been instrumental in bringing in thousands if not millions of dollars each year in grant money to UNLV to support their research (and to support graduate students with assistantships), and their salaries reflect this. Would Ms. VanBeveren like research faculty to work the number of hours she does teaching schoolchildren and then, in addition, carry on the full level of research, writing, mentoring and administrative work that they must do?

Contrary to what Ms. VanBeveren might be thinking, those faculty were working long, hard hours. If she had given a moment’s thought to the full role of college professors, she might realize that there is more to it than teaching classes.

College professors in Las Vegas and across the country are involved in knowledge production as well as knowledge dissemination. Those professors who did not teach in the fall are directly involved with research and the training of future researchers, and of teachers such as Ms. VanBeveren. There are college professors, such as those of us at the College of Southern Nevada, who are hired solely to teach five or six classes every semester.

There are also my valued colleagues at UNLV who have, as part of their job expectation (for which they are evaluated for tenure and promotion) the obligation that they must research and publish, guide graduate students such as Ms. VanBeveren, participate in shared governance, as well as teach undergraduate and graduate courses. With that kind job expectation, they have a reduced teaching load compared to us at the College of Southern Nevada. But while I envy this, I do not begrudge my UNLV colleagues, because I know what is truly expected of them.

Perhaps if Ms. VanBeveren were to understand what really is involved in being a college professor, then more citizens would be upset, not at a supposed reduced teaching load, but at the fact that Nevada is ranked 45th in the nation regarding support for the sciences and technology. This is an accurate reflection of the value many people place on college faculty in this state. Who would want to make an academic career in science or technology when even Clark Count School District teachers like Ms. VanBeveren are making snide comments about the work that faculty do? Such comments do a disservice to all college teachers and put the rest of the district’s teachers in a bad light.

Geoffrey Frasz

LAS VEGAS

THE WRITER IS A PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY AT THE COLLEGE OF SOUTHERN NEVADA.

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