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Readers write

Sierra Sun letters to the editor

Overall plans for the extension of the Kings Beach Library are now 22 years old (“Lack of Resources limiting Kings Beach library growth” Sierra Sun, Nov. 7, 2006).

Because we have waited many years for Placer County to act on this project, I met with Supervisor Bruce Kranz, District 5, and Mark Parker, new Placer County librarian, to establish a start date for further planning. I also learned from the Placer County redevelopment office that funds for the Kings Beach Library extension are, indeed, still available even though they were originally, and mistakenly, “turned down” by previous library administration. Unlike the other Placer County library groups, who are planning entirely new facilities, Kings Beach wishes to build an extension, which makes us eligible for redevelopment funds.

My agreement with the county in 1984 was to build, furnish and stock the present library, which opened in 1988, and pay for everything with community donations. The extension was planned for the 10-year anniversary point (1998) and was to be entirely the county’s responsibility.

Consequently, almost nine years have passed with no action. We would ask the county to consider this project in a more positive venue and start more serious discussions toward completion. It is already many years more expensive than it should have been, and I am sure the county can do more than one project at a time. This would not affect other libraries building activities.

We were very disappointed and surprised by our county’s response in the article and hope we can hear a more positive position such as expressed during our October meeting. There is a great deal that can be accomplished at this time to show county personnel can, indeed, keep their word.

Marian Jordan

Kings Beach

“Fifty years of coal power for Truckee” (Sierra Sun Nov. 3, 2006) by Christine Stanley: Is this 50-year contract for real? Has anyone ever heard of such a thing? Can anyone predict what will happen to coal in 50 years? In 25? The PUD springs this on us a week and a half ago, then states in their Nov. 15 agenda that they are likely to authorize such a contract right after they approve a budget. Hey PUD, aren’t you elected by the people of Truckee to work with (not around) them? Where has public review been? What are you ashamed of? Using the dirtiest energy source on earth? Open pit mines the size of Lake Tahoe? Slurry ponds and toxic sludge? Mercury bioaccumulating in kids who actually live near these mines and plants?

Maybe it’s the PUD’s summer newsletter cover celebrating a sustainable future. (This is known as hypocrisy.) Wind and other renewable energy is available. California adopted AB 32 for a reason. Why are you working to thwart it? What part of 83,000 jobs and $4 billion for California’s development of renewable energy do you dislike? What part of coal power fits into Truckee’s General Plan, up for adoption the day after you plan on buying coal for 50 years? Your decision stands to cost more than $40/mW: it stands to crush Truckee’s image as a more environmentally responsible town. How short-sighted and simple-minded that you are only measuring energy costs using dollars. Please share with us what local majority is demanding 50 years of coal.

Lance Smith

Truckee

Regarding “Fifty years of coal power for Truckee” (Sierra Sun Nov. 3, 2006), let’s pretend coal-fired power plants don’t belch 40 percent of all mercury emissions nationwide. Let’s pretend Ron Hemig didn’t recognize that “We need to get to the point where we say. ‘[Renewable energy] is a high-priority item. We haven’t done that yet; we know this (renewable energy) is important.” (from “PUD, residents push for green energy” Sierra Sun Nov. 21, 2003). Let’s look at the bottom line, like TDPUD.

What about future energy legislation or taxes? A Nov. 9 Wall Street Journal op-ed features former Bush speechwriter David Frum’s suggestion that Bush propose a carbon tax (which the House and Senate would now likely pass). N. Gregory Mankiw, former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers for Bush, echoed that in an Oct. 20 op-ed in the Journal. Former Fed Chairman Greenspan discussed it in September. Harvard’s Martin Feldstein and the Weekly Standard’s Irwin Stelzer like the idea, too. Slate columnist Dan Gross wrote about this GOP trend in the Oct. 8 New York Times (“Raise the Gasoline Tax? Funny, It Doesn’t Sound Republican”).

A “carbon tax” is widely acknowledged as closer than ever. It could erase any “savings” garnered from coal, suddenly making 50-year power contracts an expensive liability.

What about inflation? Or the ever-increasing price of steel, diesel, rubber, or maintaining aging railroad infrastructure? Where’s this 50-year pricing schedule (and what lucky conjurer got Nostradamus’ consult on it?) What business sells futures 50 years out without consulting shareholders? Why can’t we all see this stellar economic analysis?

What about the cost of liability (passed onto consumers) when 60 miles of river are ruined and 450 citizens’ lives blackened by 250,000,000 gallons of Massey Energy’s coal slurry, which escaped a pond on the Kentucky-West Virginia border? Forty million dollars in clean up and $3.5 million in damages later, everything’s still not fine.

Surely that won’t happen to residents below Colorado, Utah and Wyoming where open-pit mines will level hills and disembowel valleys to power Truckee until 2062, when our kids will magically enjoy lower power bills than we do.

Ronnie Colby

Truckee