My recent editorializing on reasons for the current price of fuel seems to have hit a chord with many readers. I received hundreds of letters and e-mails.
I’ll take a break from pontificating this month and share some of those comments.
– David

I have never written a letter to the editor or publisher in my 62 years, however, now is the time.

Thank you very much for your “nail it on the head” article. Wake up Washington!

The question is: Do we the people have the intestinal fortitude to tell them to get off their cushy seats and get to work to save this country, or will we continue to sit back and accept all of the perks from our friends in Washington D.C.?

Sincerely,
Rollin L. Haas, President
Rollie Haas, Master Landscapes, Inc.

If Turf is going to continue to editorialize about subjects that are only secondarily related to the stated purpose of the magazine and to make specious claims for which is offered no substantiation or citation, there ought to at least be a regular “letters to the editor” space to allow for the opportunity of dissenting opinion, lest unsuspecting readers are mistakenly led to think that these opinions are based on verified facts.

To challenge just a few of the claims made in the “Publisher’s Notes”:

Statement: “Several European nations get the majority of their power from nuclear plants.”

Facts: Yes, they do, if one defines “several” as “three,” with one of those just barely in majority status. “Several” don’t get even a quarter of their electricity from nukes, and “several” get none. And, no new reactors have been commissioned in Western Europe for over 10 years.

European countries banning or phasing out nuclear plants include Austria, Denmark, Germany and Ireland. Italy did a phaseout, but is reconsidering.

Statement: “… there is a vast amount of oil sitting under U.S.-owned ground.”

Facts: From “World Proved Reserves of Oil and Natural Gas, Most Recent Estimates,” August 27, U.S. Energy Information Administration; U.S., 23.77 billion barrels; total world reserves, 1,238 billion barrels; U.S. reserves as a percent of world total, .02 percent. One can find other estimates that the U.S. may have 2 to 3 percent of the world total proven reserves.

Statement: “… they can’t even permit the drilling of oil in parts of Alaska where no one even goes. We’re talking desolate wilderness here, not a wildlife park.”

As if wildlife only exists in “wildlife parks” and not wilderness. As if damage from drilling activities, spills and leaks has no effect on the environment except where people are concerned. Such statements are especially unsettling coming from someone publishing a magazine that purports to care, in some sense, about the environment.

I could go on, but one gets the idea. This call for action on an extremely important issue is here based on dubious claims and incomplete information.

As the fossil fuel era lurches toward a close, real progress will be made in energy use, but it will come with conservation, innovation, societal restructuring, and changes in institutions and personal lifestyle. Yes, there are solutions to the “gas crisis,” just not the reactionary, imagined ones based on straw man arguments and a skewed view of the world.

Nick Novick
Ashland, Mass.

You don’t think a discussion of fuel prices is important to people who make their living burning fuel?
You forgot to mention the estimated 85 billion barrels that the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service says are sitting under American waters (and some say that we have not even begun to locate all of the oil available offshore).
We can’t all sit around and wait for that happy day when we have the “societal restructuring” you seek. We need to get to work today. We need to heat our homes this winter.
– David

Great publisher’s statement. It can’t be said any clearer, and needs to be read by all in the country and the nation’s capital. Somebody is getting rich off this scam, and we (U.S. citizens) are giving it (the money) to them because we have no alternative. We have to buy their products to serve our customers.

Well done!
David for president!
Jerry Hendrickson

Submitted to our Web site:
I was hoping your notes on the gas crisis would help me reduce my fuel costs via conservation in turf management. Instead I read a lot of venting from someone who’s not much of an expert on energy policy.
William Edsall

I read your article—several times, in fact—and agree thoroughly, but am going to take exception in one area.

In the Chicago area we have a large refinery known popularly as “Whiting.” Some months back, BP was planning to expand capacity, which I understand is something that’s badly needed. One of our local politicians, Mark Kirk, got wind of this and stepped in to save the world. Apparently with the production of more petroleum products there would be an increase in the amount of “pollutants,” I believe it was mercury, being discharged into Lake Michigan. However, BP had been quite diligent in being sure to meet EPA requirements and from what I could understand—and from what their full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune indicated—they had even taken steps, using their best knowledge of current technologies, to reduce the levels even further.

The refinery expansion was stopped and the Chicago area continues to have very high gas prices. And, now Mr. Kirk is off on some quest for the “energy independence” that is just around the corner.

My specific exception then would be that some of the refineries do seem to be interested in increasing output.
John Fischer
Palatine, Ill.

It is about time someone takes a stand about the current fuel cost situation. I found your summary of the situation right on target. Please continue your crusade, we need more whistle-blowers like you who are not intimated by those who gouge us to create their own filthy lucre.
Steve W.
Angry in Kentucky

Thoroughly enjoyed and agreed with your editorial! You may want to sign up on Newt Gingrich’s “Drill here; Drill Now” petition. Something has to give. It’s a little insane to think that all of society has to stop or go backwards to save the planet. There is something really wrong with someone’s reasoning when we have all these resources at our disposal and we are forbidden to use or develop them. I think they would rather see people freeze or starve than to inconvenience a moose in the name of “environmentalism.”

Keep hammering on this, because it will affect everyone’s future.
Orlan Barker
Swayzee, Ind.