Letters for June 22, 2006

Gore and the truth
Re: “Gore goes global” (Cover Story, CN&R, June 15):

Your headline ["Al Gore’s inconvenient truth"] gives the wrong connotation. It should have been: “Al Gore’s truth is inconvenient.” The basic problem with political decisions by elected officials, most of whom have no understanding as to what is meant by “scientific method,” is the priority of faith, economics, social taboos and the like.

Why is it necessary for the politically influential to make the necessary proclamations to heed? The present political establishment has already squandered precious time in working toward the solution to global warming.

As long as we use internal-combustion engines and continue to force the public to be addicted to one person per car, we will never get out of the quagmire we have created since the 1950s. Having no fuel alternatives for the fossil fuels that drive our cars isn’t going to help us with the fight against global warming either.

The only solution is to develop a frequent, efficient, mass-transit system using every kind of mass-transit mode in each and every town in the United States, which should be a model for the rest of the world, especially China and India.

It is also imperative to talk with the leaders of China and India to slow down the demand of fossil fuel, and not to relax any of the requirements on these countries as to the need to solve global warming. Just because we in the United States have become a nation that lives on a contrived economy of plastic does not mean the rest of the world has to emulate this indulgence to the detriment of the planet, destroying not just the human life, but the other forms of life that are the lifeline of all humans.

Brahama D. Sharma, Ph.D
Retired professor

Water worries
Re: “Tapping the aquifer” (Newslines, CN&R, June 15):

Thanks to Joe Krulder and CN&R for continued coverage of attempts by water purveyors to integrate the Lower Tuscan Aquifer into the state water supply. A few clarifications: Krulder describes the aquifer as a “vast underground lake.” This may be how Southern California pictures our groundwater. Actually the aquifer is a relatively thin layer that slopes from the Sierra Cascade foothills and drops about 1,000 feet below the surface as it is confined under pressure beneath Glenn and Colusa counties.

When the aquifer is punctured west of the Sacramento River the pressure in the thin sheet of water pushes upward and is released as artesian flows making extraction from that area especially appealing to water purveyors. Unfortunately this type of exploitation is likely to result in a lowering of the aquifer along the eastern margin of the valley.

Declining creeks, dropping well levels, dried-out root zones for valley oaks, cottonwood and sycamores, accelerating the movement of toxic groundwater plumes and perpetuating the destruction of the Sacramento River Delta are the logical results of allowing the state of California to integrate our groundwater into the state water supply. Proactive education of and advocacy by the citizens of Butte, Tehama and Plumas counties are required if we are to maintain and restore our environment and robust economy in the next few years.

Jim Brobeck
Butte Environmental Council

‘Great story there’
Re: “Sally of all trades” (Backbeat, CN&R, June 15):

Thanks very much for the article on Sally Long. I’ve talked to her a few times at the Music Connection, and always look forward to it. She’s one of those people that when you meet them, you instantly know there’s a great story there. Thanks for telling hers.

Joe Hobson

If you have to pay a hospital visit bill out of your pocket (no insurance and not qualified for Medi-Cal), if possible, pay the bill promptly (within several weeks), after having demanded a 25 percent reduction of the bill. It’s the same deal insurance companies get for promptly paying in full.

In my experience, the hospital did not mention this option—until I balked at the original bill. If you can’t afford this, and must make monthly payments on the full bill, I understand that $10 a month is possible, with no additional interest.

Steven Cadastral

A new Wal-Mart Supercenter in northern Chico fills me with dread. This is far from smart planning and only encourages sprawl outside of the Chico city area.

There is no need for a Wal-Mart Supercenter in northern Chico while there is an existing Wal-Mart in the business area of Chico. Certainly you could expand the existing Wal-Mart into a Supercenter. There is plenty of space in the unused portion of the current Wal-Mart parking lot.

If you build this new Wal-Mart, there will be problems. As it is, the land that is proposed has no sewage system, no water system and no budget to accomplish such a big business enterprise outside of Chico. Also, it will mean the end of local business and Chico’s small-town charm.

Please consider the better choice for Chico. Expand the current Wal-Mart and save needless misuse of our money. We don’t need another Wal-Mart. We need a better solution.

Emerald Behrens

Interchange action
By now many of you have seen Caltrans at work widening Highway 149 with interchanges at Highway 99W and Highway 70. Some of this work is direct mitigation for disturbing endangered and threatened species and their habitats, as called for in the Environmental Impact Report and the federal permits. However, the Butte Environmental Council challenged the 2003 impact report during public comment and now, even though work has started, plans to challenge the federal permits.

The California Native Plant Society and Defenders of Wildlife joined the environmental council March 29, filing a 60-day notice letter of intent to sue the Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Sacramento Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Department of Transportation for violations of the Endangered Species Act. In other words, the lawsuit is over the inadequacy of the EIR to mitigate for indirect and cumulative impacts on vernal pools, wetlands species and habitats, and failing to comply with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s biological opinion to develop a regional Habitat Conservation Plan for Butte County.

Our local Mount Lassen chapter of the California Native Plant Society voted at our April 24 board meeting to “support the state CNPS for the pursuit of a regional Habitat Conservation Plan for Butte County.” The society’s policy urges establishment of regional conservation plans. The 60-day notice may allow the parties to come to agreements that would make the lawsuit unnecessary.

Meanwhile, enjoy a Butte County outing or Plant Society field trip and consider habitats that are essential to conserve endangered species.

Suellen Rowlison
Mount Lassen chapter,
California Native Plant Society,