Remembering 9/11 :: September 11, 2001

- published 8/21 (Larry) old link: http://www1.cfnc.org/applications/NC_Community_College/apply.html?application_id=1527

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Opinion Letters

Western North Carolina is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The majestic mountains, the lush green forests and valleys, the small family farms, waterfalls, rivers, streams, along with the pristine sky all inspire us on a daily basis. We treasure this natural abundance, and like all inheritance, we must be wise stewards for our future generations.

Unfortunately, there is a fundamental threat to all of this: hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” This could destroy it all.

Fracking is an industrial process using millions of gallons of our pristine mountain water mixed with toxic chemicals pumped underground at extremely high pressure to break apart natural gas-infused shale rock thousands of feet below the surface.

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Senator Jim Davis and other Republican state legislators voted not to expand Medicaid in N.C. Early studies showed this would be a costly mistake for N.C. However, a new study completed by the largest non-profit organization devoted entirely to advancing health care for the public, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shows just how costly this would be for N.C. N.C will lose $51 billion in federal funding between 2013-2022. The N.C. portion of Medicaid expansion totals $3.1 billion. The report shows that for every $1 a state invests in Medicaid, it will receive $13.41 in Federal funds.

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I recently had the privilege of speaking before the Macon County Board of Commissioners on the subject of hydraulic fracturing. To be clear, while I am opposed to the current legislation, I do believe that natural gas is a key transition fuel to a sustainable energy future. In this letter I want to address some of the issues and questions raised by the supporters of the current legislation.

One asked why we should be concerned when hundreds of wells have been fracked in Macon County over the years. While this is undoubtedly true, it is both misleading and irrelevant to the current discussion. These were drinking water wells with vertical bores and the materials used were not toxic. By contrast, compounds such as kerosene, 2- butoxyethanol or any of hundreds of other toxic chemicals are used for gas and oil well fracking.

Another speaker (and subsequent letter writer) asked why the opposition to fracking has only emerged in the last three to four years, while the practice of hydraulic fracturing has been around for over 60 years. This is an important and relevant question. A little research has provided the answer to that question.

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My first thought after reading last week’s letter “Boomers begat ‘a legacy of protest’” was to think it was so off base it didn’t even deserve a rebuttal. However, the more I considered, the more compelled I became to point out the holes in the writer’s flawed logic.

The writer says that the baby boomers who protested in the 1960s were disrespecting, rejecting and protesting their parents’ “Greatest Generation.” On the contrary, the boomers’ beliefs were a continuation of the very same ideals their parents had fought for. It should never be forgotten that Americans who fought in World War II to eliminate the oppression of people in other countries did so from within our own segregated armed forces.

The writer compares baby boomer protesters to spoiled children throwing temper tantrums. I hardly think that putting their lives at risk would qualify as such. Indeed, just like their parents' generation, some even made the ultimate sacrifice for what they believed in.

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