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Letters to the editor on Ark River, IRS scandal, harassing women, Keystone

  • Published Friday, May 24, 2013, at 5:21 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, May 24, 2013, at 5:21 p.m.

Letters to the Editor

Include your full name, home address and phone number for verification purposes. All letters are edited for clarity and length; 200 words or fewer are best. Letters may be published in any format and become the property of The Eagle.

Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Wichita Eagle, 825 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202

E-mail: letters@wichitaeagle.com

Fax: 316-269-6799

For more information, contact Phillip Brownlee at 316-268-6262, pbrownlee@wichitaeagle.com.

Arkansas River worth improving

“Something fishy” (May 17 Letters to the Editor) maligned the combination adjustable fish ladder and canoe passage on the Arkansas River at Lincoln Street. The letter writer said that the fish in the Arkansas River are “rough fish” and there have been advisories regarding fish consumption. No argument about the pollution or the categories of fish, but the question would be: Why? Why are we content to have a river that is in bad condition? Isn’t it worth improving?

The letter asked: “Why the importance of the fish in the river?” The answer is that the health of the Earth depends on intertwining ecosystems. The fish are a part of these systems – eating, being eaten and not unconnected from what is occurring to the residents of the area.

There are several large pipes in Botanica with a billboard explaining that water is being pumped from beneath the Arkansas River for public consumption. Simple self-interest would tell you that the quality of the water in the river should be important, as well as the wildlife in the river. The fish killed by a sewage leak (May 14 Eagle) are the “canaries in the coal mine” and should be viewed in that way.

DAVE CROOK

Derby

Didn’t tell Obama?

On April 24, a Treasury Department official informed White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, who then notified President Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, of the preliminary findings of a report that the Internal Revenue Service had inappropriately targeted conservative groups by impeding decisions on the groups’ tax-exemption status.

If the president and his spokesman, Jay Carney, are to be believed, neither Ruemmler nor McDonough told the president anything about it, and thereby left their boss as if he were an ordinary citizen to learn about the potential constitutional violation and taint upon his presidency from the media.

If it cannot be believed that they would not have alerted the president to what imperils his legacy, then we may consider that he is complicit in the knowledge. If it can be believed, then we may question his competency. He is either to be out in front in the knowledge of these threats, so as to protect and uphold the Constitution and security of Americans, or so desirous of being sheltered from adversities that he could not care less.

RON A. HOFFMAN

Rose Hill

Nothing new

Recently publicized actions of the Internal Revenue Service may be blatantly inappropriate, but are hardly new nor a monopoly of the Democratic Party. In 1973, I was foolish enough to think that my Missouri Republican congressman actually wanted to “hear from constituents” regarding the ongoing investigation of the sitting president. Within six months, I was the target of an IRS audit. Of course, I was assured that it was in no way related to my expression of opinion.

This harassment continued for several years, always finding a minor error resulting in additional payments (never more than double digit, often in the teens) until I hired a certified public accountant to prepare and sign my returns. I think he was a Republican.

Misuse of the IRS for political purposes is not a new idea. Indeed, it may have been invented by the Republican administration of the early 1970s.

JOHN COX

Wichita

Had enough?

In response to “Women being used” (May 21 Letters to the Editor): Sparse family-planning services. “TRAP laws” and waiting periods that make abortion care inaccessible. Lack of affordable access to Plan B. Protesters at medical facilities, shaming women for their choices. Busybodies controlling the lives of others. Had enough?

JULIE BURKHART

CEO

South Wind Women’s Center

Wichita

Pipeline safe

Regarding “We can’t afford Keystone pipeline” (May 20 Letters to the Editor): Pipelines are by far the safest way of transporting petroleum products, and TransCanada has an industry-leading safety record. Our existing Keystone pipeline has safely delivered more than 400 million barrels of crude oil to U.S. refineries since July 2010. None of the small leaks that has occurred from Keystone has been related to the integrity of the pipe itself. They have all been due to leakage from small fittings and seals at our above-ground pump stations, all of which have been repaired and cleaned up with no environmental impact.

Keystone XL will use the latest technology, the highest-quality materials and the latest techniques to minimize environmental impacts. TransCanada has agreed to meet 57 special safety conditions laid out by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. These conditions include a higher number of remotely controlled shutoff valves, increased pipeline inspections and pipe that is buried deeper in the ground.

Keystone XL will transport crude oil from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region that will replace up to 40 percent of the higher-priced oil currently being imported from Venezuela and the Middle East. Experts have determined that the climate-change impacts of the oil carried by Keystone XL would be less than 0.0001 degrees annually. On the other hand, building the pipeline will create an estimated 9,000 jobs for American workers and is expected to inject more than $1 billion into the Kansas economy.

GRADY SEMMENS

Senior communications specialist

TransCanada Corp.

Calgary, Canada

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