Letters to the editor on conserving water, fracking, campaign donations, illegal immigration, dirty campaigning

09/05/2012 12:00 AM

09/04/2012 5:31 PM

Think and act on conserving water

I am aghast with people and organizations that waste our water supplies. Even in wet conditions, we should manage water usage to our best ability.

As I go to a lot of garage sales, I find that neighborhood organizations, along with many individual home residents, are negligent in controlling sprinkler systems. I see the ground soaked from over-spraying, excess water running off lawns into street gutters, and wide bands of water churning along destined for storm drains. Also, I see misaligned nozzles spraying water out many feet into the roadways.

The Equus Beds aquifer is vital to all of us. Being irresponsible with water usage is disrespectful to all the community members of south-central Kansas.

I respectfully ask each and every resident of Sedgwick County to think and act on conserving water every day.



Drilling downside

Though it is true that natural gas burns more cleanly than other carbon fuels, Jamie Maddy, regulatory director of Chesapeake Energy Corp., neglected to mention the downside of natural-gas drilling, especially for states such as Kansas suffering from drought conditions (“Better alternative,” Aug. 31 Letters to the Editor).

The currently unregulated process of horizontal hydraulic fracturing can utilize 2 million gallons of freshwater per well (or more) per day. The water is injected with a chemical formula, including known carcinogens such as benzene. It flows back to the surface but cannot be returned to the watershed. Thanks to the “Halliburton loophole,” the formula remains an industry secret.

Most water-treatment plants are not set up to treat these pollutants, so the water is reinjected into the ground. The injection process is suspected of causing cluster earthquakes in Ohio, Arkansas and Oklahoma, as well as groundwater contamination in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

In Wichita, our current controversy about whether to raise residential rates for water use and natural gas, while cutting rates for industry, raises the question: Is natural-gas drilling really cost-effective? Are we the people paying to replenish the Equus Beds aquifer to guarantee sufficient water to support the process, plus a 10 percent profit to natural-gas investors?

If hydrofracking is such a wonderful thing, then regulate it and let those who profit pay the real cost of the water use.



Legal bribes

David Koch asserted that his contributions to super political action committees and groups such as Americans for Prosperity are an exercise of his First Amendment rights. “We live in a country of free speech. I think I have a right to speak out,” he told reporters at the Republican National Convention.

If Koch said, “I support deregulation of the oil industry,” that would be freedom of speech. Backing it up with millions of dollars of campaign funds sounds like bribery, albeit legal. “Bribery” is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary as the giving of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.

What makes a bribe different from a demonstration of goodwill is the expectation of a favor in return. Unfortunately, politicians receiving large campaign contributions from powerful corporations, organizations or individuals in anticipation of favorable policy forms the major part of campaign finance in America.

A government that exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and ruling class at the expense of the wider population is known as a kleptocracy. This term certainly fits our political process in its current state.



Wrong question

Rony Molina of Stamford, Conn., asked the wrong question (“Parents deported, what happens to U.S.-born kids?” Aug. 26 Eagle). It’s not: “How can my country not allow a mother to be with her children?”

He should be asking: “How can a mother and a father create a family without first being sure the children will have support and love from legal, law-abiding parents?”

Molina and his wife knew the law and the consequences for ignoring the law. They evidently chose to gamble that law enforcement would never be aware of their actions. But law enforcement found them, and the children lost due to their parents’ poor decision making.

Mom and Dad should accept the result of their stupidity and selfishness and not try to blame U.S. laws and authorities.

There need to be serious consequences for the Molinas and others, at no cost (monetary or emotional) to U.S. citizens.

Congress needs to make laws that include means and provision for enforcement, including a punishment to discourage people from ignoring this responsibility. As long as people have no respect for the law, they need an incentive to obey it.


Valley Center

Selective objection

What a shame that the elder Michael O’Donnell didn’t object to mean-spirited campaigning while his son Michael was working on Wink Hartman’s congressional campaign against Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Wichita (“Campaigns shouldn’t be so mean-spirited,” Sept. 1 Letters to the Editor). Hartman’s campaign was one of dirtiest, most mean-spirited and most despicable in Wichita history, and the younger Michael O’Donnell was always right at Hartman’s side.



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