Readers Write: (June 27): Voting rights, climate change, White Bear Lake, burial options

  • Updated: June 26, 2013 - 6:43 PM
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VOTING RIGHTS

Expect that barriers now will be erected

I have a mild heart condition, so my doctor put me on Pravastatin to lower my cholesterol levels. My numbers are now within safe levels. Does that mean I can go off my medication?

Of the Voting Rights Act, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley said, “In those states ... covered by the act, they don’t have discriminatory voting anymore, so the act is not necessary,” and Chief Justice John Roberts said, “There is no denying that the conditions that originally justified these measures no longer characterize voting in the covered jurisdictions.”

Who do they think they’re kidding? Has it not occurred to either of them that the reason things are better is precisely because the Voting Rights Act was in place? Several Southern state legislatures are already rushing to impose voter ID rules and discriminatory distribution of polling places.

I have no doubt that conditions regarding voting rights are going to head back toward what they were in the 1960s. The nature of the barriers to voting may be different than they were then, but barriers will be erected. I can only hope that we won’t see protests turning violent and people being injured or killed as a result of this disastrous turn of events.

DAVID M. PERLMAN, New Hope

• • •

Those who see only racism in the Supreme Court’s decision on the Voting Rights Act are missing the greater danger of this court’s actions. Deliberately or not, the court has just given the upper 1 percent one more tool with which to divide and conquer our so-called democracy.

PAUL ROZYCKI, Minneapolis

• • •

 

THE ENVIRONMENT

Every action has consequences

President Obama’s latest energy plan (“Obama takes on climate change,” June 26) ignores NOAA data showing no increase in global temperatures for 15 years despite the rise in CO2 emissions. A Bentek study in Colorado shows that as more intermittent wind and solar are added to the grid (the Obama plan), gas and coal plants have to run in start-stop mode. This wastes fuel and emits more greenhouse gases than are saved by the intermittents.

The $23-per-megawatt-hour wind subsidy has allowed wind producers to underbid non-emitting nuclear power, which receives no such direct subsidy. Obama’s closing of the Yucca Mountain storage facility for spent nuclear fuel will block more new CO2-free nuclear power than so-called renewables can produce.

Rolf Westgard, St. Paul

• • •

The water level in White Bear Lake as of June 22 was 920.79 feet, and that was before the drenching rains Friday night. That is up 23 inches since the January record low of 918.84 feet, an increase of more than three times the 7 inches stated in a June 24 story (“Lake, property values shrink”). The reading is also higher than the lake level on the same date in 1926 and 1934. I guess the aquifer was being depleted by suburban overuse in the 1920s and 1930s as well. More recently, the lake spent about three years near 920 feet after the drought of 1988.

The lake has existed since at least the last glaciation, and we have accurate records for about 100 years. So none of us really know the extent of natural variation in the lake level. The current low level may be nothing more than natural variation. Plus, the lake is 84 feet deep. A difference of 4 feet may look dramatic on gently sloping shoreline, but it has virtually no impact on the fishery or the overall health of the lake.

I’m sure the lakeshore property owners mentioned in the story do care about the lake very much. But it seems like most of that care is focused on treating the lake as a playground that should be managed to their personal specifications at whatever cost is necessary. Any water used to augment White Bear Lake will obviously be dewatering another lake or stream. The folly in that should be obvious.

CHRISTOPHER HUGHES, White Bear Lake

• • •

I was impressed by the reader who had planned to be cremated, but changed her mind after learning that greenhouse and other noxious gases are released during the cremation process (Readers Write, June 20). Now that’s one environmentally conscious individual! Unfortunately, she failed to consider the “carbon footprint” associated with her only other alternative — burial in a casket.

The raw materials that go into a casket are mined, logged and harvested by huge machines. The materials then are shipped to mills, where they are processed by other huge machines. The processed materials then are shipped to manufacturers, who use machines and power tools to convert them into finished parts. Those parts then are shipped to a casket manufacturer, who uses machines and power tools to assemble them into a casket. The finished casket then is shipped to a mortuary by plane, train or truck.

The casket is ultimately delivered to a cemetery by a procession of motorcycles, limousines and other vehicles and is lowered into a hole dug by a backhoe. The site then is marked by a slab of granite that has been mined, cut, polished, engraved and delivered by a series of large and small machines, tools and vehicles. Would it be overkill to mention that the cemetery itself is maintained by trucks, lawnmowers and snowplows?

The point here is not to advocate cremation over burial. The point is that many “environmentally friendly” proposals sound good in isolation, but not so good when you consider their inevitable consequences. In the immortal words of Kermit the Frog, “it’s not easy being green.”

GREGG J. CAVANAGH, Maple Grove

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