GRASS FIELD BURNING
Growers getting another political fix
Re: “New ecology chief may lift grass-burn ban” (Spokesman-Review, Aug. 23).
Department of Ecology Director Tom Fitzsimmons has decided not to keep his agency’s 30-year-old promise to ban grass burning. He says the future of the ban is in the hands of a task force that is looking at alternatives.
I am a member of the task force. The public has the right to know that the task force, which is composed primarily of individuals with an economic interest in burning, is not considering alternatives to burning. Instead, at grass industry request, the task force (without my vote) has approved funding for research to justify burning after straw is removed from the fields as a way to reduce emissions.
This research has already been done. In 1976, grass growers funded a Washington State University study which concluded that burning after straw removal resulted in more smoke.
Nevertheless, the industry intends to use the “new” research to convince regulators to replace the current regulation which restricts burning to 20,000 acres with an unenforceable emission standard that will restore burning to all 60,000 acres in production.
This is simply history repeating itself. Citizens were promised a ban in 1969, 1973, 1977, 1983, 1989 and 1996. Each time, people went home to wait patiently while grass growers, without public knowledge, went to Olympia and brought home a political fix.
Tell Gov. Gary Locke and Fitzsimmons that 30 years of broken promises is enough. It’s time to finally put public health ahead of industry profits and stop the burning in 1998. Patricia Hoffman, president Save Our Summers, Spokane
Can’t have it both ways
Do the farmers want a shorter phase-out period or do they want the base number of acres to be lower?
What window of opportunity would be necessary for them to join the program? Farming is farming, and even at that, you can’t have it all.
The farmers need to put up or shut up, and stifle the whining. Ken R. Brown Post Falls
No decrease in game from hunting
Russ Moritz’s Street Level column of Aug. 24 (“Send well-armed ‘Animal Advocates’ to bag hunters”) is the rambling of a person well out of touch with reality. Only one statement deserves a reply.
He states the population of game animals is on the decline because of hunting. Get your facts straight. It is because of hunters and organizations they support, such as Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Ducks Unlimited, that game species are growing greater than ever, as well as many non-game species.
If there is a decline in a species, it can be attributed to all of us, including Moritz. We are the ones who have moved into and altered their habitat.
To The Spokesman-Review, please put your editorial space to better use. Richard A. Janssen Spokane
We don’t want any beings hunted
In response to Russ Moritz’s column of Aug. 24, “Send well-armed ‘Animal Advocates’ to bag hunters,” I would like to emphasize that Animal Advocates of the Inland Northwest, a Spokane-based animal rights group, does not condone the sport hunting of any type of animal, including humans. Anne Groeschel, secretary Animal Advocates of the Inland Northwest, Spokane
Hatred of mankind behind column
Letter writer Duane Cocking was not the only subscriber to the “good paper” who was appalled by Russ Moritz’s contribution(?) to the Roundtable.
At first, I thought it was written tongue-in-cheek. But as I kept reading, I realized that the writing was only sarcastic on the surface. Underlying the absurdity of Moritz’s proposal is a deep and dark hatred for his fellow humans and their millennia-old traditions of hunting and gathering.
In a few more years, if we keep on this track, jurors will be fainting at some fisherman’s or hunter’s trial while our streets run red with the blood of our fellow humans.
We humans are omnivores. Our stomachs are not constructed to eat just vegetable fiber. We do not have the ability to regurgitate and chew our cud to aid in digestion. We are not ruminants.
Hunters do not waste the meat from the animals that are harvested. They feed their family, friends and the needy. The biblical quote that should be the hunter’s motto is from Acts:10, “Rise Peter, kill and eat.” Cherie Graves Newport, Wash.
Wrong to advocate killing people
I could not believe I would ever see anything published in a legitimate newspaper advocating the killing of one segment of society by another (Street Level, Aug. 24). Under no circumstances is this acceptable behavior.
Recently, a well-publicized trial determined a person is not justified in killing even to protest abortion. Much of the debate centered around the issue of the perpetrator acting on the notion that some people openly proposed killing abortionists.
Almost every person I have ever talked to spent a good share of their life coming to grips with the fact that they were “sent to jungles and bushes to kill homo sapiens,” whether it was World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam or any other war. Unlike what Moritz implies, they did not appreciate or come to love it.
There was very little truth in the rest of the writing, either.
When we settle the debate about whether TV violence contributes to a violent society, the legal profession should have a heyday with The Spokesman-Review blatantly contributing. This also should help to further the myth that North Idaho harbors people who bear watching. James L. Kujala Greenacres
Eco-bureaucrat plot against the people
The Inland Empire Public Lands Council’s choice of a closed lumber mill for its victory celebration and call for a total logging ban on public land was very fitting. Several hundred Northwest mills have closed as the timber harvest on public land dropped to less than one third of what it was 10 years ago, due mainly to the efforts of such groups.
Industry - capitalism - is the great Satan, the holy grail is government control of all human activity, and reducing the timber harvest on public land - a loss made up by imports - is just the tip of the iceberg.
Everyone in the Inland Empire is a “biological unit” in the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project. We will soon be governed by appointed federal officials with virtually unlimited powers over local and state officials.
The Clinton administration has also proclaimed the American Heritage Rivers Initiative, a massive federal land control scheme to be implemented without the approval of Congress. Among the areas affected will be those drained by the Columbia and the Mississippi-Missouri rivers.
Federal air quality standards that make even flower pollen illegal are already in effect. Proposed measures based on the myth of global warming will achieve the old socialist dream - government control of the means of production, and busybody regulators closely monitoring citizens’ ascetic lives.
If you aren’t as scared as I am, maybe you just don’t know what’s going on. Edwin G. Davis Spokane
Mustard plant worth trying here
The Environmental Protection Agency has been spending many millions of our mining and company dollars to remove lead contaminated soil from the Silver Valley.
In the Aug. 23 L.M. Boyd trivia column, was an item on removal of lead contamination from a former battery manufacturing site in New Jersey. If the item is factual (I don’t doubt it), maybe EPA ought to stop hauling lead contamination from one hole to bury it in another and give the Indian Mustard crop a chance to clean up the site at much less expense.
Where the lead goes wasn’t mentioned. Perhaps the mustard plant would have to be removed and buried. It might make a good sense to try that method of removing lead from the soil. Perhaps a small plot could be planted and tested. It would certainly be much less expensive. Ed O. Weilep Spokane
Forests sick - look who’s in charge
Upon reading Jack Buell’s recent guest column (“Just sit tight and we’ll all get to cry in the wilderness,” Roundtable, Aug. 20) I can only conclude our wild forests are doomed to extinction unless we clearcut them first.
I’m surprised that the timber industry chairman-county commissioner is saying this. Seems the public should be able to clearly see that this forest health craze is really logging in disguise.
The cozy relationship between government officials (bought and paid for by the timber corporations) and a timber industry that makes windfall profits from public forests, is getting out of hand.
Just look at national forest counties in this region. Every one has timber, mining and ranching politicians at the helm. We have commissioners who are timber corporation representatives and we have ranchers as state senators and miners. These politicians, beholding to industry PAC money, are in charge of your public lands, and they are crying about wilderness being sick.
Their remedy for this sickness is a chainsaw. Heck, that’s like a doctor prescribing cyanide for a headache.
The truth is that we have more roads, more clearcuts and more degraded fish and wildlife habitat, and compromised water quality than we can handle.
How about some restoration - not procrastination?
Let the wilderness be free of political gerrymandering, like the human spirit used to be. Tim J. Coleman Republic, Wash.
No control for radical preservationists
After the Sierra Club came out against resource harvesting on public lands a couple of years ago, by a 3-2 vote of its board of directors, funding and membership declined. Much of the public realize that as consumers, we do depend in part on resources that come from public lands.
Now the local preservation group, the Inland Empire Public Lands Council, has finally made public its stand against resource extraction on public lands. These lands, the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Natural Resources, etc., belong to all of us, not just the preservation groups. The Sierra Club and IEPLC feel they are the only ones qualified to have a say about what happens in the forest.
That would be bad enough, but most of what they say are half-truths and outright falsehoods. “The sky is falling” is the message from these groups, and without that message, they would be struck dumb. If they can’t scare the hell out of the city dwellers, their primary support base erodes, and they cease to be a force.
However, as with Chicken Little, their message is wearing thin. More and more, the public that used to support them is realizing they are radical preservationists, and they have no plan to feed, house, clothe and energize the people of this nation.
I do not want my public lands take over by radicals who want nothing more than to eventually eliminate access to public lands to all but the preservation groups. Gary Garrison Northwest Timber Workers Resource Council, Kettle Falls, Wash.
Don’t try to preserve all species
I’m getting fed up with the greens’ thinly veiled attempts to lock up the lands, rivers and skies from use by man.
We cannot fly an SST because it will harm the ozone. We will not be able to use a river because a group of power boaters might spill some fuel or sewage into the water. And God help us if a tree gets cut down.
I am reminded by a front page photo of some Earth First!ers in the forest to stop tree cutting. The photo shows a camp with blue tarps tied to freshly cut young pine trees; the fresh cuts on the poles showed just how hypocritical these people are.
Greens seem to want to revert to a time when only homo erectus wandered the world and happily practiced cannibalism. Another more probable explanation is that they want a socialist agrarian society just like the one that the Khmer Rouge attempted in Cambodia.
Trying to halt natural evolution of the planet by not allowing the extinction of some animals is a bad mistake. In order for the planet to evolve naturally, this must be allowed to happen. Remember, if Velosi-raptor had not become extinct, we would not be alive to debate the fate of the planet. K. Lee Osborn Spokane
Sometimes, the mind boggles
OK, what we have here is an apparently homeless man or transient (he told police that he lives in the Coeur d’Alene men’s shelter) who was arrested for sexual battery of a minor and felony assault in broad daylight because he was lonely - and he then was released on his own recognizance?
Wouldn’t you just love to hear the thought processes that led up to this decision? Keith D. Cotter Harrison, Idaho
Columnist ‘trumpets worn line’
The apparent reconciliation of Yasser Arafat with Hamas leaders causes columnist Cal Thomas (Opinion, Aug. 26) to assert that Middle East peace efforts are futile. Thomas trumpets the worn line that Israel remains threatened with destruction by fanatic Arabs who obviously don’t comprehend Israel’s “beautiful dream,” its “purity of arms.” Why would anyone want to destroy such beauty, high aims and morality?
Simple. The Israeli military since the 1940s has slaughtered countless Arab civilians as a strategy of conquest. Every major Israeli leader has articulated or supported this goal. Americans, blinded by decades of indoctrination, foot the bill for the butchery of Palestinians. Almost every U.S. journalist could write Thomas’ column and say the same thing.
The big lie is that Israel is merely defending its territory, its Biblical covenant. Never mind that the two-legged beasts, the drugged cockroaches (Palestinians) are threatened with extinction or concentration camps. Americans are not to know these facts because our own scruples might cause a cutoff of the billions we give Israel each year.
There will be no peace for Palestinians because the rejectionist United States and Israel only want total subjugation. Israel’s goal for 50 years has been the genocide of the Palestinian people. The facts are undeniable and available in the truly independent writings of Noam Chomsky and Edward Said. Read ‘em and weep. Chuck D. Armsbury Greenacres
Supplement not welcome news
I saw an advertising supplement on schools in the paper recently that upset me. I found it potentially deceptive.
There is a graph indicating the school system spends 72.7 cents of every education dollar on the classroom. I suspect a lot of stuff lumped into that category shouldn’t be.
I see a familiar spin being put on the numbers. Universally, we are told how financially strapped schools are, how poorly staff is paid and that more cash equals better education.
These things simply aren’t true. An awful lot of public money is spent on education. We can be proud of that. Schools are not that strapped, and some spend the money fairly stupidly.
And generally, teachers are paid pretty well. Most didn’t get into the field to get rich - and believe it or not, more money will not make dedicated teachers do their jobs one whit better.
Sad facts. Sad also is the piecemeal way schools get their money, so they are encouraged to spend a great deal outside the classroom. Often in ways that leave common folks walking away scratching their heads.
I’m concerned if an administrator is paid $100,000 annually or if a teacher with an advanced university degree qualifies for food stamps. I’ve seen both situations.
This supplement didn’t give me this information. But looking at it, I know the time and expense of producing and distributing it would have put computers in a couple of classrooms. Ed Easley Spokane
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