Letters to the Editor

Posted: Tuesday, April 09, 2002

Keeping state on daylight saving time has benefits

Let's stop this silly time shuffling.

Alaska should not 'fall back' off of daylight savings time next fall. This has been done once before, and there was no impact. This would put us two hours ahead of solar time, but -- So What?!

This state has an abundance of both phases of the day during half the year. If there's any daylight to be saved, lets save it in the winter, when it's most scarce. We'd be on the same time zone as the west coast (until they go on DST), which would be advantageous for business, and an hour closer to the east coast, a benefit for anyone that deals with stock markets.

One advantage I would personally enjoy is not having to get up so early to get a full day's daylight snowmachining in. I'm sure skiers, 'boarders and other winter sports enthusiasts would be able to take advantage of the 'additional' daylight hours.

James Back


Residents need to take closer look at claims of pork industry

My compliments to Les Palmer for his excellent article on the "pork project," (Outdoor View, March 29). While Les offered several well aimed tongue-in-cheek comments, the important thing to remember is that no matter how much "state of the art" technology these meat factories claim to bring, they always seem to generate more environmental problems than their technological bells and whistles can cope with.

I would like to offer the following recent example, a synopsis of an article taken from the March 18, 2002, edition of the Waste News:

"Cargill Pork Inc. operates a hog farm in Martinsburg, Mo., and is paying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a $1 million fine for illegally discharging hog fecal waste into the Loutre River, a tributary of the Missouri River. The discharge occurred in July 2001 and was caused by the company's failure to properly operate the hog farm's state-of-the-art waste management equipment, overfilling the waste holding pond and releasing the waste to flow into the Loutre River.

"The company then did not report the release of the wastes to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The immediate and direct result of this illegal discharge was the pollution of a five-mile stretch of the river, killing thousands of fish. The secondary result was the $1 million fine from the EPA, plus $500,000 for the cleanup and remediation costs, and a payment of $51,000 to the state of Missouri for the failure to notify of the release.

"The farm that discharged the waste consisted of 24 buildings holding 16,800 hogs."

Of course, Cargill expressed contrition about the "event," saying, "It happened and we owned up to it." But only after the cleanup costs and fines had all been paid.

One has to wonder whether the regret was about the fact the state-of-the-art safety systems failed; the waste was released and brought Cargill adverse publicity; the waste polluted a river, killed thousands of fish and caused other environmental damage; or the release meant a loss of $1.55 million from Cargill's bottom line.

One other small item to consider: Not all of the waste contained in the holding pond at the time of the "event" actually escaped.

The people of the Kenai Peninsula need to ask themselves only one question about the future of industrial grade hog farms on the peninsula: If only a portion of the wastes from only 16,800 hogs can pollute five miles of river and kill thousands of fish, what could the impact be from 600,000 hogs? xIf you, the people of the Kenai Peninsula, do not like the answer to this one question, you really do not want this type of mega-agri-business in your back yard, let alone any where else on the peninsula.

Mike Blair

Anchorage and Kenai

State parks are for the people, not for the bureaucrats

As a former member of the Kenai River Advisory Board for State Parks, I think Mr. Nash has hit the nail on the head. There is more than one way to both protect our environment and provide a recreational forum for the people of Alaska and its visitors.

If the "professional state employees" want to pack up their "toys" and quit the game, let the "people" have a chance. If they take their picnic tables, we will spread blankets on the ground. If they take their trash barrels, we can take our trash home or to a locally run disposal site. If they take out the "porta potties", well, maybe we will have to bag it and dump it on the front porch of the Parks Department.

For far too long we have constantly been threatened with the loss of certain services if we don't approve more and more money. OK, let's bite the bullet and see if they can really close the Kenai River if we don't approve a large enough budget to keep feeding the monster. The Alaska constitution says that parks are for the people, not the state employees.

What are they going to do, hire fired airport security guards to keep us from entering OUR state parks?

Claudia Knickerbocker


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