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Why is Rep. Newhouse in favor of giving our property away?

Letter to the Editor


Here is an open letter to Congressman Newhouse. Please print it in letters to the editor section.

Dear Congressman Newhouse:

I am a believer in property rights, though my version of them extends beyond my front lawn. My property includes the clean air I breathe, the clean water I drink, and my public lands. If someone poisons my air or water, they are taking away my property without my permission. Similarly, when federal lands are given away to ‘local control,’ realistically that means giving them to corporations to develop, perhaps to despoil (local governments don’t have the finances to manage more open space).

That is why I am distressed by many of the policies being pushed by this Republican Congress, and by your co-sponsorship of House Joint Resolution 46. Why would you support unfettered oil and gas extraction, with no provision for mitigation, in our National Parks? You are proposing taking away my property without recompense. I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, where every abandoned old road went by long unused strip mines. The scars on the landscape were 40, 50, 60 years old without a blade of grass or a bush starting to grow on them. And that was in a state that gets 40 inches of rain a year. If National Parks have no control over oil and gas drilling on our land, then we will all be walking by these kinds of scars at every park with any mineral resources in them. Why would you be in favor of that?

You also seem to be favoring businesses and agriculture dumping their waste (including nitrates) in our streams and rivers. You wouldn’t want someone else’s garbage on your lawn; why allow businesses to dump their garbage on all of us? I respectfully ask you to withdraw your sponsorship of House Joint Resolution 46.

If you want to see what unfettered capitalism in the absence of environmental regulations looks like, you should go to China and India, as I recently did. No American would want to live there, as the cities are so polluted you cannot see the length of a city block. A water expert told me that 40 percent of China’s water is unfit for ANY use. Why would you move America in that direction?

Los Angeles used to have a pollution problem almost as bad as China’s cities do now. The Clean Air Act and car fuel economy rules have made that city much more livable. Isn’t that what we call progress? Please show support for clean air and water; sacrificing them for the illusion of jobs is a grave, perhaps irreversible mistake.

Peter Bauer


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