Letters to the editor (01/25/12)

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We’re all paying for the cost of upgrading
Editor:
Suppose I burned my garbage on your lawn. Or ran my septic drain field right up to your well. Or dumped old antifreeze in your dog run or sat in the next restaurant booth chain-smoking.
Even if I wanted to indulge in such damaging behaviors, they’re forbidden by regulations — yes, those horrible government regulations the far right loves to hate. And while the fringe right accepts a few regulations on individuals, they flatly oppose regulation of corporations, even though financial deregulation directly contributed to today’s economic miseries.
In December, Valencia County’s top cheerleader for corporate crud dumping wrote her usual letter. Her string of accusations — too many to rebut in this space — were apparently based on far-right websites, including one run by the endlessly discredited utility flack, Marita K. Noon.
They all tout a similar claim: evil and useless government environmental regulations, particularly those involving renewable energy sources, will make your electric bill zoom up, so dump the regs.
While she repeatedly discusses PNM, in reality, PNM’s recent rate hikes have been attributed to increased executive compensation, junk bond credit status, the excess cost of unregulated operations in Texas, and the higher prices of conventional fuels. An on-going cause of the rate hikes is maintenance and upgrades on the ancient, dirty, San Juan plant, among the worst in the nation.
Now, the letter writer probably had a very merry Christmas on the state level. GOP Gov. Susana Martinez has concentrated on two things during her first year — pushing to make illegal workers drive illegally and waging all-out war on New Mexico’s air, land and water.
On the national level, our letter writer’s holidays probably turned very grinchy. On Dec. 21, 2011, after years of study, the EPA finally plugged the Clean Air Act mercury loophole.
Back in the 1970s, the original legislation banned facilities from spewing mercury and other toxins into the atmosphere except for coal-fired power plants. The EPA assumed the plants would soon be replaced with cleaner, more effective technology.
But surprise, surprise, PNM is still duct-taping their filthy dinosaur together. Their foot-dragging increases the cost of the cleaner, more efficient facility they will now have to build, and the increased cost will come out of your pocket.
This issue is not about views damaged by a little trace of haze. It’s about removing 80 percent of the 3,765,422 pounds of toxic materials the San Juan plant dumps annually. It’s about those toxins contributing to 33 premature deaths, 600 asthma attacks, emergency room visits and other health effects each year.
The cost of the upgrade is estimated to be far less than the resulting drop in public health costs, and it will create an explosion in jobs and investment.
Since the 1980s, the great American principle that we’re all free to start our own businesses has been deliberately distorted into an ideology that labels as “socialist” any regulations that block businesses from lying, stealing, polluting, maiming or even killing our citizens.
But it’s a sad comment on America if we can’t figure out how to make money without destroying our own future.

Laura Sanchez
Los Lunas

Hunters’ photos were nice to see
Editor:
I would like to take this opportunity to offer my thanks for the refreshing coverage of individual sporting accomplishments of some of our area hunters on page 2B of the Dec. 17th issue.
So many newspapers are reluctant to publish pictures of successful hunters and fishermen that this group of sports enthusiasts are left out in the cold when it comes to recognition.
My congratulations go to the young hunters, Gil, Bryce and Bethany, and also to Trinidad for his nice mule dear.
All in all, the pictures represent the gamut of age that outdoors sportsmen enjoy in choosing to participate in this great American tradition.
Try finding that in most of the team sports that dominate most all newspapers.

Dr. J. Gregory Boyd
Los Lunas

A snow-packed adventure in LL
Editor:
My adventures in the snowy pre-dawn: I knew I had best prepare for it like I never had in New Mexico. I suggest the radio to give weather reports earlier on snow days.
My cold weather gear: three coats, three knit caps, double mittens, scarf, a nose guard, a long flashlight, a red backpack with three taillights and a reflector and a red flannel cloth for signalling.
It was 28 degrees, but my outdoor thermometer had broken. There were two inches of snow overnight. There was a light, cold wind.
The street was snow packed. I had left my heat on, an inside light on and the porch light on. I should have crawled across the snow-packed street, but I didn’t.
I took a slightly longer way out to avoid an incline. The trail went down a little hill, so I walked to the side of the trail so I wouldn’t fall.
I went up a hill, then down to the handi-mart for the paper. I went back to my street, but had to wait a long time for the trash man to pass so he would not run over me.
I sued a steel rod for traction in my hand and crawled across the snow-packed street on a hill. I must have looked like Santa.

Martin Frank Kirtley
Los Lunas

Winter ball was a success for kids
Editor:
I would like to thank the following for their continued support and help with the sixth annual Cops and Kids Winter Ball hosted by the Los Lunas Police Department and village of Los Lunas.
The people listed have been actively involved for the last six years faithfully and with enthusiasm to participate in a special event and I would like to thank them:
Debra Sanchez, Rhonda Sanchez, Ginny Adame, Joe Griego, Lt. Carl Padilla, Sgt. M. Torres, Treena Saavedra, Audrey Saavedra, Lt. Joe Sanchez, Detective C. Lucero.
Village of Los Lunas Parks and Recreation employees, Open Space employees, Panda Express, Louis and Nancy Huning and last but not least, Judge Tina Gallegos.
You all have given your time and energy to giving back to your community, and for that reason, this event has been successful.
I would also like to thank Chief Roy Melnick and Deputy Chief David Gurule for their support of this program along with Mayor Robert Vialpando and all the council members.
This community welcomes this event every year and it continues to bring smiles to the faces of kids, parents and of course all of us. Thank you again for your dedication. I surely appreciate it!

Detective Sgt. Denise Romero
Los Lunas Police Department