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 V.20 No.5 | February 3 - 9, 2011 
 

Letters

Thinking Healthy

Dear Alibi,

Let’s breathe air ridden with soot and water laced with mercury and lead. Doesn’t that make you want to live in New Mexico? The leading cause for the distribution of these chemicals is coal-fired power plants. New Mexico has two of the oldest and dirtiest coal plants in the nation. These plants are able to spew tons and tons of toxins into the air we breathe and into the water we drink.

These pollutants have lasting impacts on our health and the health of future generations. In addition, mercury pollution from these facilities has contributed to one out of every six women of childbearing age in the United States having enough of the toxic pollutant in her body to harm her child’s neurological development should she become pregnant.

We must act as a community to ensure that our future is in good health. Sens. Tom Udall and Jeff Bingaman need to take action and stand up for our health and oppose any effort to reduce emission standards from power plants and industrial facilities.

Nile vanWestrienen

Environment New Mexico intern

Clean Air?

Dear Alibi,

Our new governor's first steps have been as bold as those of an angry teacher vigorously erasing a shunned idea off a blackboard. The prosecution of all progress that has been achieved for clean air and water in our state was a swift stroke meant to eliminate a hard-won victory, not for any political party, but for the health of New Mexicans all over the state.

The work of the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board, now replaced and headed by climate change denier Harrison Schmitt, was in keeping with the findings of the U.S. Supreme Court that carbon dioxide is considered a "pollutant" within the meaning of the Clean Air Act. If there were no global warming studies to consider, the effects of carbon dioxide on the health of the citizens of New Mexico would be sufficient to warrant reduction of emissions. Given the fact that the majority of climate scientists around the world insist that reduction of greenhouse gases is imperative to stave off the devastating effects of global warmingwhich for the Southwest spells severe droughtit does not seem that this governor cares too much for the current health of New Mexicans or for the future of an environment capable of sustaining life.

The plan that was adopted required 3 percent reductions annually from 2010 starting in 2013 [News, “Guv Sued Over Eco Rules,” Jan. 20-26]. It was flexible and provided and promoted avenues of transition such as installing one wind or solar facility, or a natural gas power plant, to one coal plant, while maintaining operations as usual for all other plants, as that much reduction would be sufficient. The plan, which has been enacted into law, much as it has been deliberately “hushed,” would also allow a variance to the rule based on economic hardship, or if the rules threaten a company's financial integrity and economic vitality.

Another reason why this law is good for New Mexico is that the future is with green energy and technology, and for the state to abandon its progress to compete in these fields is to doom it to a “shut out” from the job creation and competitive edge that is currently in demand. The fact that many companies have seen the future and have made their own plans to comply with emissions reduction in hopes of trading carbon credits should also not be thwarted. Businesses do not want to fall behind, and the state does not need a disadvantage in any viable market that does not promise to kill us with a promiscuity of poisons.

Anita Walsh

The Disturbing Truth About Cow’s Milk?

Dear Alibi,

The title over Don Schrader's letter, " Milk Is for Babies" [Jan. 20-26], would be challenged by Dr. Joseph Keon if it includes cow's milk. Author of Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth About Cow's Milk and Your Health, he was interviewed by Diego Mulligan on "The Journey Home," KSFR 101.1 FM Santa Fe Public Radio, and said that cow's milk is not intended for human consumption and, among other things, that it can increase the chances of prostate cancer. The interview is on podcast, go to diegoradio.com, Dec. 8, 2010. Thanks to Don Schrader for his letter.

Bill Murray

Arroyo Seco

Correct Rather Than Repeal

Dear Alibi,

Health care repeal and efforts to roll back the new law are being pursued in both Congress and the courts. True, the Affordable Care Act is not perfect. Even the law’s strongest proponents acknowledge the need for improvements. But it does make insurance more affordable right away by providing small businesses with a tax credit to provide coverage, and in 2014, by providing tax credits to those who need help buying insurance, representing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history. The law will help more children and uninsured individuals with pre-existing conditions get good coverage, and reduce health disparities in low-income, minority and other populations.

These are all good things. But proponents of repeal are dead-set on rolling back reform and have signaled that the repeal push is the start of a two-year campaign to roll back the lawnot just in Congress but in the states. We as New Mexicans need to stand up and demand that our state and federal legislators defend the improvements to the health care system, so we can continue to reap the benefits. Rolling back health care reform would mean higher health care costs, and would add to our already huge deficit, and in today’s economy, that is the last thing New Mexico consumers need. We need to reach across the aisle and work on improving the law, rather than completely reversing progress.

Nicole Veilleux

Science vs. Intelligent Design

Dear Alibi,

[Re: Feature, “Education Election Guide,” Jan. 27-Feb. 2] First, intelligent design is not a theory. A theory has to meet certain criteria, to be accepted as a theory. This doesn't.

That's why it keeps losing in court cases where people want it taught in science curricula as an alternate theory.

A scientific theory is not the same thing as a TV detective's theory about a crime, or your brother-in-law’s theory about who gets the most speeding tickets. Nor should it ever be the kind of explanation someone creates to make the facts fit what they already believe, or think they should believe.

In science a theory is a special kind of statement, which must be both falsifiable and predictive.

That means you can prove it isn't so, and it will imply that other, testable things are true if it is.

Intelligent design isn't falsifiable, you either believe in it or you don't, but there is no way to prove it wrong. Science is more about proving things wrong than it is about proving things right. If that bothers you, then you should probably not take up science.

It continues to amaze me how many seemingly educated people, including career educators and school administrators, just don't seem to understand what a scientific theory really is. If they did, they would stop referring to intelligent design as a theory and give up arguing that it does, or doesn't, deserve equal time with other scientific theories.

Because. Once more. Intelligent design is NOT a theory.

dsecrist

Comment from alibi.com

Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to letters@alibi.com. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.
 

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