Letters to the editor (07/25/13)


It’s not all it’s cracked up to be
A recent letter from Valencia County’s high priestess of petroleum praised hydraulic fracturing and blasted both the Environmental Protection Agency and the renewable energy industry.
The letter writer forgot to mention a few details. According to the Environmental Law Institute, between 2002 and 2008, the fossil fuel industry received government subsidies to the tune of $72.5 billion (Poor little oil companies!) while the still-developing wind and solar industries received only $12.2 billion.
And the “anti-fracking” EPA for years allowed the Halliburton loophole. Inserted in EPA regulations in 2005 when former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney was vice president, the loophole allows the fracking industry to keep secret whatever toxic chemicals they’re pumping down wells. (Isn’t that cute!)
The high-decibel letter also ignored three other developments. First, Architecture 2030, a group started by New Mexico architect Edward Mazria, announced on May 7 that our nation is on track to reduce building energy use by an amazing 29.8 percent by 2030. As a result, according to Mazria, the construction and operation of buildings — about half the nation’s energy consumption — won’t require any new electrical generating capability. We can start replacing filthy coal-fired plants with cleaner power sources.
Second, an article in Bloomberg announced that El Paso Electric Co. has agreed to buy power from First Solar’s 50-megawatt Macho Springs generating project at 5.7 cents a kilowatt hour, compared to the 12.8-cent price typical of new coal plants. Adding in state and federal tax credits brings the Macho Springs cost to about 8 cents a kilowatt hour, still significantly lower than coal.
The problem with solar is not the technology, but prices that are falling too rapidly for business models to keep up. According to an article in The Week, a one-watt silicon solar cell that cost $76.67 in 1977 costs 74 cents today.
And finally, as a result of burning fossil fuels, atmospheric carbon dioxide just hit 400 parts per million. In geologic terms, that’s a lightning fast increase from 280 ppm at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and it guarantees a further rise in the earth’s average global temperature.

Laura Sanchez
Los Lunas

Lunch was appreciated
The Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Valencia County (Middle Rio Grande chapter) had an enjoyable lunch for more than 140 volunteers on April 19 at the Belen Elks Lodge.
The success of this event owes much to a variety of people, companies and organizations.
RSVP is very grateful to the Belen Elks Lodge for allowing us to use their wonderful facilities for our event.  The lunch was a hit with the help of volunteers that included many Belen city officials, including Mayor Rudy Jaramillo, city council members Mary Aragon, David Carter, Jerah Cordova, and Wayne Gallegos (who also emceed the event and served as our DJ), City Manager Mary Lucy Baca, Planning and Economic Development Director Steven Tomita, Deputy City Clerk Leona Vigil and Risk Manger Lenore Pena.
We are also indebted to the many others who assisted at the event to make the day a success, including Lillie McNabb and Margaret Gutierrez.
RSVP also wishes to thank the following for their financial support, providing door prizes for our volunteers, and assistance in staging our luncheon:
Amerigroup, the Greater Belen Chamber of Commerce, Silver Sneakers, Comfort Keepers, Affordable Tires, Rio Metro, Marianna Sandoval and Davis Vision, Maureen Kasten and Presbyterian Health Services, Mary Jo Santillanes and Aflac, Medicare Senior Plans, Marisa Valdez and Delta Dental.
Rita’s New Mexican Restaurant, C & M Ceramics, Julia Moore and Colonial Life, Earth Essence Wellness, Belen Public Library, Bosque Farms Senior Center, Del Rio Senior Center, Fred Luna Senior Center and the Belen Recreation Center.
Thank you also to Mid-Rio Grande RSVP Sponsors: The city of Belen, Corporation for National and Community Service and the New Mexico Aging and Long Term Services Department.
Thanks to the RSVP Advisory Board and everyone for helping me coordinate such a wonderful and successful event.

Bertha Flores
Mid-Rio Grande RSVP Director

Wounded Warrior Run great
On behalf of Jubilee/Avalon  Los Lunas, an active adult community,  and Main Street Muscle and Fitness Center, sponsors of the May 25 third annual Memorial Day Run for the Wounded Warrior Project running and walking event, we would like to thank all the participants and contributors making this a very successful event.
This was a non-profit event with all entry fees, contributions and donations going directly to the Wounded Warrior Project.
The success of this event was possible with many Jubilee, Main Street Muscle volunteers including the assistance of key personnel within the village of Los Lunas, police, fire, parks and recreation departments who donated all their time at no cost to the village.
Thanks also to the Valencia County News-Bulletin, Huning Ranch HOA board and Starlight Cinema.
This event had close to 400 participants and raised nearly $20,000. The Wounded Warrior Project seeks to assist those men and women of our armed forces who have been severely injured during the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations around the world. Wounded Warrior Project is there to meet the needs of our wounded heroes, raise awareness and enlist public support.
The fourth annual event will be held next May 2014.

Jim Schnitzler
Jubilee resident
Race coordinator