homepage logo

LETTERS for June 24 issue

By Staff | Jun 24, 2010


A recent letter about the genetically modified organism (GMO) affect on weeds is very misleading. There are no super weeds. It is a term used by the anti-GMOs to make you think biotechnology is causing some kind of environmental disaster. 

Weeds have been becoming resistant to herbicides for years, and we are not up to our waist in any such thing as a super weed. Some weeds are just not susceptible to certain herbicides. 

It has nothing to do with GMOs, as the Union of Concerned Scientists would like to make you believe. If there is any truth to this letter, why isn’t a scientific, peer-reviewed study of super weeds cited in the letter?

Naming some anti-GMO publication published in 1990, before Roundup-ready crops were even in production, is not a peer-reviewed scientific study.



I’ll call them “Wall Bangers” for lack of anything else for now. All this blabber mouthing of President Obama every time any situation comes up. These people want him there — on the spot. How many times is he supposed to be in one place or another at their beck and call? Doesn’t he have agencies with high-ranking people to run them that should be there instead? If there’s a gas leak in California, is the CEO supposed to be there? They have people to handle things like that.

Next question: which political party do these Wall Bangers belong to? Hey — you’re right again!  



Regarding two recent issues on the table these days — mobile phone usage while driving and the injection well controversy — it seems talking on the phone and texting while driving is a “no-brainer,” right? Injecting polluted, partially treated water into land, which will eventually reach the water table and then the ocean, should also be a no-brainer.

What is wrong with those we voted in to run things, supposedly to protect us and our precious environment? Do none of the elected officials spend time in the ocean or eat local fish? Our ocean already has dying coral reefs, few reef fish and now unsafe and polluted coastal waters. Things can only get worse, and with the latest horrific oil spill catastrophe, can we really afford to delay finding new and innovative ways to protect and preserve what is left of our precious ocean?

With all the money available to keep building or expanding tourist-loving resorts — those very resorts that add to the accumulation of sewage — surely there is money to find innovative ways to deal with our antibiotic-filled human waste and chemical/nitrogen runoff without injecting it into the sea. 

If there is even a slight question as to the safety of these injection wells, come on — find another way! The clock is ticking, and what’s true is no one really knows the long-term effects of injection well usage. It doesn’t look good, but rather dangerous, shortsighted and stupid. I thought gambling was illegal in this state.



What I have seen during my visits to the Gulf of Mexico is shocking, horrifying and heartbreaking. One bird, covered in oil, struggled again and again to take off from the water. It’s the kind of image you want to share, not because it’s beautiful, but because you want so badly for people to understand.

That pelican, coated in oil and struggling to take flight, reminds me of America’s past failed attempts to make meaningful progress toward the clean energy future we all know we must someday achieve.

We can’t accept business as usual after what we’ve seen in the gulf. This disaster changes everything.

The oil industry has impeded our progress for far too long. It’s time to stand up to the oil industry and move America beyond its dependence on oil. We have never needed President Barack Obama’s vision and boldness more than we do today. We are urging the president to seize this moment, not just to repair broken oversight of the oil industry, but to chart a new course.

The BP oil disaster has become a hostage situation. The gulf region, like the rest of the country, desperately needs jobs. Now, thousands in the gulf are looking at an even more uncertain future, as BP’s massive oil slick wipes out fishing and tourism livelihoods.

According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, more than 12,000 Louisiana residents have filed unemployment claims since the blowout — and most of the filings are from folks displaced by the spreading oil.

Fishing and shrimping boats are now all either docked or in service to BP to clean up its mess. The disaster has affected an estimated 13,000 commercial licensed fishermen in Louisiana, not including deck hands and crew, according to the Louisiana State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Roughly 46 percent of the gulf economy, or over $100 billion a year, comes from tourism dollars. The Louisiana Tourism and Cultural Department is reporting that the stalling of the fishing industry is affecting the $1.36 billion in tourism dollars that the state’s nine coastal parishes provide. Those nine parishes also have 15,000 tourism-related jobs with a $238 million payroll. And this is just in Louisiana.

How many more jobs should we let Big Oil destroy? Workers who depend on the gulf have seen their livelihood disappear. How many more catastrophes will it take to convince us to stand up to Big Oil and support industries that will employ people without destroying the economy and the environment?

Eleven rig workers died, the gulf’s beaches and wetlands are closed and covered in oil, thousands are jobless, and cleanup workers are getting sick, and yet some want to pretend this isn’t happening and just start drilling for more oil. If this isn’t a sign of just how bad our oil addiction is, I don’t know what else could be.

Clean energy and clean transportation could create thousands of jobs, without the risk of disasters like we are witnessing now. For many Americans, it’s easy to watch images from the gulf and feel despair. It’s easy to feel helpless. But there is something we can do. We can make sure this doesn’t happen again.

That’s why we’re calling on our supporters and concerned citizens everywhere to send a clear message to President Obama. We’re ready to stand up to the oil industry, and embrace clean energy and a 21st century transportation system.

During World War II, this country completely transformed itself to meet an unprecedented threat. We need that level of ambitious vision now. It’s time to be bold. This is our chance to move America beyond dependence on oil. We need to seize it.

It’s time to end our oil addiction. President Obama should deliver a plan to move America beyond its dependence on oil over the next 20 years.

MICHAEL BRUNE, Executive Director, Sierra Club