Letters to the Editor

August 12, 2014

Letters to the editor on prairie burns, voting law

Most of the smoke blows elsewhere

Research carried out by Gene Towne of Kansas State University on range burning suggests that the net result to cattle being grazed in the Flint Hills is unrelated to when the grasslands are burned (“Change to prairie burns could cut air pollution,” Aug. 10 Opinion). Of course, I am certain that the ranchers take other conditions into consideration, in particular wind speed, direction and ambient temperature.

However, I am at a loss to see how changes in burn dates would have much effect on air quality in Sedgwick County. The major portion of the Flint Hills is to the east and northeast of Wichita. The prevailing winds are from the south and southwest. Thus, communities north and east of Sedgwick County would receive the brunt of the smoke and particulate matter. And please remember that ranchers are very careful in doing burns when the wind velocity is low.

It is really hard to suggest that ranchers in the Flint Hills are responsible for much pollution in Sedgwick County. We should be looking at commercial and agricultural sources south and southwest of the air-quality monitors.



Ranchers know best

It would be so nice if the scientists and the government would stay out of things they know nothing about. Now a Towanda scientist says the prairie can safely be burned all year long, rather than in April, when traditionally done (Aug. 10 Eagle). Well, of course it can be burned, but is it the intelligent thing to do?

Burning in winter leaves the ground without vegetation until spring, thus ripe for blowing dust and erosion. It also leaves nowhere for native wildlife to have cover for the winter. Cattle are grazing the land in the summer, so would have to be moved off the pasture for the duration of the burn and a few weeks afterward while enough grass grew back for them to eat. Some of the cattle that graze the prairie in late spring and summer are brought in from long distances.

Spring burns destroy the woody weeds left from the previous season as well as the cedar trees, which would indeed turn the land into a hardwood forest in time. The burning provides nutrients for the new plant life. Ranchers know what they are doing and how to best care for the land. Let everyone else stay out of it.



Must be eligible

“Voting ‘cure is worse’” (July 15 Eagle Editorial) blamed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach for a plan that “has created a barrier to voting for 19,500 Kansans.” But the Kansas voting law is entirely in harmony with the U.S. Constitution in requiring that a person be a U.S. citizen to be eligible to vote.

Those 19,500 people have not troubled themselves enough to prove their citizenship, which they can do by simply producing a birth certificate, passport or other acceptable documentation. Who really are disenfranchised are citizens whose votes are canceled out by ineligible voters.



Letters to the Editor

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

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