I read the March 6 article "Farmers claim right to harvest ditches" with sadness. Tell me that there truly is no other way to feed the cattle on Minnesota farms but to mow the ditches. Tell me that there is an emergency shortage of forage supply of epic proportions. Tell me that other acreage currently tilled to grow corn or soybeans is incapable of being used to grow forage crops. Tell me that mowing ditches would not diminish populations of native plants, mammals, birds or invertebrates. Tell me all of these things truthfully, and I will have a bit of empathy for the desperate farmers needing this ditch habitat to support their farms.

This article is a sad report on the state of the environment and the impact of farming in Minnesota. It is also a statement of the absence of a healthy land ethic among some people (farmers) who often claim to be careful stewards of the land. May I suggest that farmers who wish to mow the ditches read "A Sand County Almanac" by Aldo Leopold or pick up a copy of "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss if they want a shorter read with the same message.

Someone must speak for the butterflies, the pheasants, native plants and the bees. Sadly, few do.

Boyd Emmel, Buffalo, Minn.

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I'm reading the book "The Worst Hard Time" by Timothy Egan. It details the destruction of the High Plains land due to overplanting, causing the Dust Bowl. One review described it as arguably the best nonfiction book yet on the greatest environmental disaster ever to be visited upon our land and a powerful cautionary tale about the dangers of trifling with nature. Minnesota Department of Transportation, please hold your ground and keep those roadside ditches wild.

Diane Syverson, Maple Grove

It's not just the quality of the candidate pool, it's the politics

State Rep. Jennifer Schultz and the Star Tribune's staff writers missed the point in "Regents vote raises questions about diversity" (March 9). The issue regarding oversight of the University of Minnesota is more than attracting a qualified, diverse candidate pool. Rather, look at the political nature of the appointments. The Second District had a strong, qualified female candidate in Sandra Krebsbach. But she was not a Republican strong, qualified female candidate. Steve Sviggum, former Republican Speaker of the House and communications director of the Republican Caucus, was brought in 15 minutes before the joint committee chose a Second District candidate, circumventing the monthlong vetting process. Republican legislators fell in and voted along party lines, all thoughts to other candidates' qualifications rendered inconsequential. To truly affect change, Schultz (a DFLer) should look at extracting partisan games from the regent selection process. Perhaps University of Minnesota students should be allowed to choose their president's counsel. They have an investment in regent selection equal to the state's.

Kate O'Brien, Rosemount

Pruitt has reasonable doubts; paper blows it out of proportion

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said something to the contrary of "climate change," and the Star Tribune chooses to run that as the top story? Really? ("Pruitt sets off climate uproar," March 10.) Are you people on the left so worried about being challenged that you take a relatively small story and run it on the top of A1?

We have had periods when Canada was the tropics. We have had ice ages. We have many more scientists than you will admit to who have the same questions Mr. Pruitt stated. There is only an uproar within your left-wing partners. Maybe if there had not been multiple times where prominent "climate scientists" have been caught in outright lies and data manipulation, your cause would have a little more substance. Leave your editorials to the editorial page, and please report news as it should be reported — fair and balanced!

Gregg Veldman, Becker, Minn.

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Did I just mishear a comment by Scott Pruitt, the new GOP-approved EPA administrator, on CNBC regarding his disbelief in the science of global warming and the impact of human generated greenhouse gases on the planet?

I thought I heard him say: "I think that measuring with precision that the earth is round is something very challenging to do and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of roundness, if any. So, no, I would not agree that it's primarily round as we see it. We don't know that it's round yet. We need to continue the debate if it's round and continue the review and the analysis."

This reminds me of a line from "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" — "You're off the edge of the map, mate. Here there be monsters."

John Albers, Minnetonka

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Cheers to Star Tribune for prominent placement of "Pruitt sets off climate uproar." Shame on the paper for perpetuating the misconception that "carbon dioxide is the primary driver of global warming." Although 375 members of the National Academy of Sciences, including 30 Nobel Prize winners, representing 97 percent of the world's climate scientists, say the facts are incontrovertible — humans are causing climate change — the article fails to make clear that human population is the primary driver of atmospheric carbon dioxide due to increasing combustion of fossil fuels.

Global human overpopulation is rapidly approaching 7.5 billion growing at over 80 million per year. Recently, global carbon dioxide emissions are at record levels, and there is nothing to indicate this trend will change. In the 1990s, rate of emissions was approximately 25 billion tons annually, but in 2015 the amount escalated to about 36 billion tons annually. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increased from 250 parts per million in the early 1900s to more than 400 ppm today. At this concentration, we are already in the "dangerous zone." Climatologists consider 350 ppm the optimum safe level. Worse, for the first time, carbon dioxide annual increases broke records two years in a row: 3.02 ppm in 2015, 3.28 ppm in 2016. During the 1980s and '90s, annual accumulations were about 1.5 ppm each year.

We are moving rapidly into an era of climate disruption. And the really bad news is that carbon dioxide emissions remain damaging for thousands of years. Pruitt's EPA leadership dooms humanity.

David L. Trauger, Marine on St. Croix

• • •

Pruitt is being widely, and unjustly, criticized for his statement that he does "not agree that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a primary contributor to the global warming."

Actually, it is atmospheric water vapor that is the primary contributor to global warming.

Molecule for molecule, water vapor resonates with a wider segment of the earth's infrared radiation (the global warming effect), and there is approximately 70 times as much water vapor in the atmosphere as CO2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but it is a relatively minor player in global warming compared to water vapor and methane.

Rolf Westgard, St. Paul

• • •

When reporters do due diligence to investigate a scientific issue, they need to ask more experts than just those "endorsed" by the definers of scientific orthodoxy. Thomas Kuhn in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" noted that dissenting opinions in any field will be excluded and persecuted, their holders vilified and marginalized, until there is a change of generations. There is credible opposition to human-caused climate change. Seek those brave scientists for a real discussion. See http://creation.com/global-warming-and-climate-change-recent-developments.

Ross S. Olson, Richfield

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Pruitt as head of the EPA is like having a pope who doesn't believe in Jesus.

Pat Proft, Medina