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Our readers speak out

Warming theory not supported by facts

letterpolicy Letters to the editor must contain the signature of the author, the writer’s street address and work and/or home phone numbers. Maximum length is 300 words. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for clarity, conciseness, taste, and to prevent libel. Signed editorial columns appearing on the Opinion page and letters appearing in the Voice of the Reader columns do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Billings Gazette. Send your letters By mail to: P.O. Box 36300 Billings, MT 59107-6300 By fax to: (406) 657-1208 Or by e-mail to: speakup@billingsgazette.com

Editor’s note: The Aug. 24 Opinion page included a guest opinion about the threat of global warming and an invitation to Gazette readers to share their views. Here’s what two readers had to say:

There’s plenty of “hot air” floating about in our atmosphere but this reader (and about 17,000 scientists with advanced degrees) doubts that it will have any effect on global temperatures. Dr. Arthur Robinson, director of the Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine, organized an anti-Kyoto petition which states the following:

“There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other green house gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.” (That makes sense. My life science teacher told us way back in the seventh grade that plants thrive on carbon dioxide and, as a result, they give off oxygen which we then use to breathe and, as a result of that, we give off carbon dioxide which the plants need, thus causing an endless cycle.)

Thousands of scientists with impressive academic credentials do not buy into the theory (not fact) of catastrophic global warming.

Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, a meteorologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pointed out in a June 11 Wall Street Journal op-ed, “two centuries ago, much of the northern hemisphere was emerging from a little ice age. A millennium ago, during the Middle Ages, the same region was in a warm period. Thirty years ago, we were concerned with global cooling.”

The bottom line is this: We know that the Earth goes through climatic changes. We know that Earth itself pollutes its own atmosphere hundreds of times the amount that man is even capable of in the form of natural fires, volcanoes and dust storms and that this process has been happening for more time than we can ever measure. We are fools to think that we as mere men can change this process. Wake up, people! You are about to be controlled by a world body that wants to take away your personal rights and freedom. The global warming scare is just another tactic being used to do exactly that.

J.D. Kober Billings

Warming most urgent ecological problemI am glad that the Bonn U.N. Convention was able to keep the Kyoto protocol intact, even if in a much watered-down form. It gives all the nations of the world a chance to make a start on reducing global warming, the world’s most urgent ecological problem.

I hope the Bush administration might be persuaded by the rest of the world to sign on and, if not, that the next president will get us on board. I am convinced that the United States’ 25 percent contribution to the world’s fossil fuel emissions that cause climate change could be easily reduced without jeopardizing our economy. This could be done by increasing CAFE mileage standards for automobiles now and gradually switching government subsidies and tax relief from coal generated electricity and the petroleum industry to clean energy sources – wind and solar power, and hydrogen powered fuel cells to replace the internal combustion automobile engine. This is possible, but not under the Bush-Cheney Energy Plan or an administration paid for by the oil industry.

The U.S. Department of Energy Web site states that Montana is the fifth-best state in the Union for wind power, which is now competitive with coal for producing electricity and a source of good-paying technical jobs. I would like to see Montana encouraging wind farms instead of more coal generating plants.

Marian Lacklen Billings

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Martz land deal with ARCO isn’t OKGov. Judy Martz wants Montanans to think the “plot” of her real estate story is simple and innocent. In her mind, the only relevant facts are these:

In 1999, she and her husband bought 80 acres adjacent to their home north of Butte. They bought the land from Arco. “We paid what they asked us,” she explains. “End of story.”

To the contrary, it is the beginning of a legitimate news story that Martz wishes would go away. What she refuses to recognize is that she did something that appears highly inappropriate for a high-ranking public official. She accepted a substantial, personal favor from Arco.

What Arco bought for $70,000, it then sold to her for $24,000. No one else got an opportunity to bid or buy at that price or at any other. When she bought the land, she was the incumbent lieutenant governor and an announced candidate for governor. She said then-Gov. Marc Racicot told her it was OK to go ahead.

But now that Martz has a new job, is it still OK? As governor, she has a duty to serve as trustee for the state’s Superfund-related litigation against Arco. The people in government who get to decide the extent of Arco’s financial obligation now include Martz, who accepted a substantial, personal favor from the defendant.

Suppose other state officials who now have decision-shaping roles in the Arco case had bought land from Arco. Suppose none of them had to compete with rival bidders. Would such deals be “OK” with Martz? Would Martz assert that such conduct by these public officials would be “OK” with the citizens of Montana? And if she thinks such conduct by other public officials wouldn’t look right, then why would she hold herself to a lower standard?

Frank Edward Allen President and Executive Director Institutes for Journalism & Natural Resources Missoula

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