Letters

Randy Pesqueira
Garden Grove

SCHOU GETS THE ELECTRIC CHAIR

Nick Schou's provocative article "Anti-Nuclear War" (July 27) was not only misleading and inaccurate but also disserved the public's interest. Besides citing unfounded claims about the safety of working within and living near a nuclear power plant, the article overlooked the established record, especially as it relates to the safety environment at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. For the record: since the opening of the plant in 1968, employee and public safety has always been and continues to be our highest priority. While there have been legal claims made by individuals in an attempt to link employees' limited radiation exposure to cancer, the courts have returned unanimous verdicts indicating that the facts and science demonstrate that there was no connection between a person contracting cancer and their employment at San Onofre. In addition, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, relying on the National Council of Radiation Protection and the International Commission on Radiological Protection, among others, has established "federal limits" as to how much exposure any person working in a nuclear facility can receive. This is called "occupational exposure." None of the individuals named in Schou's article ever received exposure in excess of those limits. These important points were not emphasized in your article.

Clarence Brown
vice president, Southern California Edison

THE SUN IS OUR FRIEND

Paul Studier dismisses as "socialism" a a proposed California mandate that energy providers get 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources (Letters, July 27). A quick look at history clearly indicates that the U.S. has never been a "free-market capitalist" society. We have a mixed economy: the state has always provided capitalist firms with essential subsidies, guaranteed markets, bailouts, land grants and natural resource giveaways, notwithstanding free-market ideology. The key point about solar energy is that it is online during peak hours (when energy shortages occur) more reliably than any other source but wind.

Kent Bassett
CalPIRG
Costa Mesa

GLOBAL WARMING IS A SCAM

I know that in responding to Jim Washburn, I'm not responding to any kind of serious political commentary. But what the hell: in "A Nation of Consumers" (Lost in OC, July 27), he mentions the "overwhelming number of scientists [who] have determined that human activity is contributing to climatic changes that will make life on this planet difficult if not untenable in the decades ahead." Actually, an overwhelming number of scientists have determined no such thing. The pattern usually goes as follows: some outfit like the National Academy of Sciences calls for articles on global warming from scientists. Scientists submit their articles, which run the gamut from tentative agreement on global warming to outright skepticism. All the submissions are combined into a publication so large that nobody ever reads it. The outfit then tacks on an introduction that states their own predetermined conclusion, not supported by the submissions. That is what reporters read, and that's what the media reports. Protests from scientists about the misrepresentation of their articles are generally ignored by the media. Is this the method of science? I don't think so. Such methods are more consistent with a hoax, a scam, a rip-off—all to support a political agenda, specifically the left-wing, environmentalist agenda.

Jim Austin
La Habra

Jim Washburn sez: Dear Jim, I haven't personally waded through the scientific reports, and I doubt you have either. We're both going by what we're told, and the only difference is that you're listening to idiots. If the grim summaries drawn in all these reports—one after another after another by respected scientific bodies—are misrepresentations of what scientists themselves are finding, don't you think your precious president would be seizing on that in his arguments against the Kyoto accords? Instead, he agrees that global warming is a problem and essentially argues that saving the world would be bad for business. Why would the heads of these scientific panels lie? Most scientists, curiously enough, rely on business for their income. How do they benefit from taking an anti-business stance? Perri the Squirrel isn't going to pay their salaries. And what liberal media are you talking about? TV networks and newspaper chains cost billions, and the same few very rich people who own them own plenty of other businesses as well. How do they benefit from an "anti-business" agenda? If it is because sensationalism sells papers, wouldn't the news that these scientific reports are lies be even more sensational? I would far rather you were right. I'm not keen on making the sacrifices necessary to even begin controlling global warming. But I would like even less having to explain to coming generations why we sold out their future for our convenience.

Washburn's article jokingly suggests that when a genetically engineered crop contaminates someone's divinely engineered crops, the makers of the new-and-improved version would be wise to seek relief in the courts for patent infringement. Although this may seem the stuff of paranoid liberal fantasy, a Canadian federal court has recently set a precedent that makes this scenario all too real. In Monsanto vs. Schmeiser Enterprises, Schmeiser was fined and made to pay compensatory and punitive damages to Monsanto after he sold his canola crop, which he knew to have been contaminated by Monsanto's GE canola from neighboring fields. Apparently, under Canadian law, the thing to do when you find out that your crops have been contaminated by Monsanto's high-tech mutants is to notify Monsanto and let them come take the crops that they now rightfully own. Schmeiser is appealing his case, but if the precedent stands, you can bet Monsanto's stock will prove a good investment as they take over the rights to the world's food supply.

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