Cute metaphors don’t

fix fossil fuel dangers

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

If there is a lesson to learn in your highly cynical editorial, “A pipeline lesson for Virginia, courtesy of Massachusetts,” it should be that wherever they occur, fossil fuel extraction and distribution have a devastating impact on the environment. We need to be actively advancing alternatives to energy sources that threaten our environment, our health, and our climate.

The pipelines proposed in Virginia will impact 443 miles of Virginia farmland, mountain peaks, and virgin forests, as well as countless creeks, streams, rivers, and wetlands. For comparison, Interstate 64 runs for only 300 miles in Virginia; Interstate 95, for 180 miles.

Whereas our existing interstate highways provide a necessary public service, Virginians will get no benefit from the pipelines’ massive scars. What we will see is higher electric bills, threats to our clean water, and irreversible impacts to some of our state’s most pristine landscapes.

Virginia is not experiencing rolling blackouts. There is no demand for this scale of infrastructure except one fabricated by the developers. Those corporations plan to profit handsomely. Any further demand for electricity can be met by the huge investment Virginia is about to make in renewable energy and energy efficiency — enough wind and solar to power more than 1 million homes, and a $1 billion commitment to a more efficient grid.

Though it may be true that no baby seals will perish if the pipeline projects move forward, how many poisoned private wells and polluted creeks and streams will it take for your Editorial Board to put Virginians’ safety above a cute metaphor?

Lee K. Francis,

Virginia League of Conservation Voters.Richmond.

Youth march showed

world they want change

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

When my wife and I embarked on the March for Our Lives down Pennsylvania Avenue, we physically merged with 1,000 young people from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and other schools. They were full of spirit and conscience and determination to do good things. We stood next to a crying young man holding the names of all 17 Douglas victims. Not far away, another young person held a sign reading: “In that Second Amendment document, I was three-fifths a citizen.”

It reminded me of the thousands of young people who marched the same streets 49 years ago calling for an end to the Vietnam War. We carried the names of American war victims and laid them on the steps of the Capitol. Eventually, elected officials saw how needless and unjust that war was.

On March 24, an astounding 800,000 marchers in Washington and millions of others across the nation and world condemned America’s out-of-control gun culture. The crowd was full of family and friends from places like Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, and Orlando. New public opinion polls show that strong majorities stand with the young marchers and their adult supporters.

This month we remember America’s foremost opponent of violence, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He opposed violence from the murderous backroads of Mississippi and Alabama to the Vietnamese provinces sprayed with Agent Orange. If he was a healthy 89 years old today, I am sure he still would be a reverberating voice and a foot soldier for restrictions on horrible instruments of mass violence.

In his memory, in the memory of our fallen children, and for the sake of all who have been touched by the needless killing, let’s make sure we get new laws passed now.

Ben Ragsdale.


Trump is standing strong against bad actors

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Recently in an Op/Ed column, Victor Davis Hanson reviewed our history with North Korea, whose southern boundary is where our attempt at liberating Korea ran out of steam once Red China intervened.

This left a friendly, prosperous South Korea and a rogue, poverty-ridden North Korea that proceeded to develop nuclear weapons while trading lies for aid. The North outsmarted Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. It succeeded in acquiring a nuclear weapon in 2006.

Now it has threatened to attack the United States. President Trump has not offered bribes, but international boycotts. Pyongyang wants to talk.

Hanson proposes a stiffer embargo, no aid, and pressuring China for help.

Cal Thomas, writing on Russia, asks if President Vladimir Putin will invade more neighbors or kill more enemies with nerve gas. Will Putin continue to interfere in world elections? Putin’s aggression against Ukraine went unopposed by Obama. So far, Trump has refused to condemn Putin. He has imposed sanctions against Russian oligarchs. Thomas mentions “peace through strength.”

Nicholas Kristof discusses these threats plus a potential trade war. The New York Times columnist is especially worried because Trump is president — as if previous presidents have shown a propensity for handling world bullies. Kristof fears that Trump’s attempts will lead to war(s), but the columnist offers no options.

What should we do? No talks with North Korea. We have no choice but to take out its nukes. Whether its people live is the North’s choice. As for Russia, the Cold War worked once and deserves another try. Make clear any aggression against our friends will be vigorously opposed.

S. P. Gauntt.


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