Re: Aug. 20 article, “West Texas sand rush exposes faults in state’s lizard protection plan.”
So, the state’s much-vaunted plan to avoid regulation and protect a rare species has run off the rails. How’s that for voluntary conservation by industry?
We were all told that companies engaged in fracking operations in the Permian Basin would go out of their way to protect the habitat of the dunes sagebrush lizard. Now, we learn that sand mining companies are digging into the heart of the lizard’s sensitive habitat, creating pits 80 feet deep.
Surely it’s obvious this native species will go extinct if this practice continues.
We’d all like to believe that corporations can be good citizens, but let’s be frank: In a choice between lucrative contracts and a small brown lizard struggling to survive, which is likely to win?
This sad case is a vivid reminder of why our country needs the Endangered Species Act and a strong U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to enforce it.
JOAN MARSHALL, AUSTIN
Re: Aug. 23 article, “Possible change to state pension worries retirees.”
In response to the Texas Tribune article published in the Statesman regarding the financial problems in the State Employees Pension Fund, I am at a loss to understand why the fund is not making money big time.
Since 2009, the stock market has been on the biggest run in history. Billions of dollars in profit are being made by investors. Even mutual funds are showing returns in the 18 to 20 percent range. The growth in the stock market over the past 7 years has been in double digits. It seems to me that reasonable investments would have returned a rate far greater than 7.5 percent to the fund.
SAM MCGLAMERY, AUSTIN
Re: Aug. 22 article, “As alternative energy expands, utilities weigh plant shutdowns.”
Energy has been a driving force for our civilization, especially during the Industrial Revolution. We have big power plants supplying us reliable energy for our various needs. We have also learnt the consequences of burning fossil fuels and increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and its effects on global warming. This is why many utilities have revised their business models to include more alternative sources of energy.
Austin Energy gets a quarter of its power from renewable sources and is working towards achieving a higher goal. Power companies across the U.S. can use their expertise, invest in conservation and research and find economically viable solutions to provide energy while growing profitably. The bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the U.S. House is now 52 members strong and determined to find ways to address our energy needs in ways that will reduce health risks and protect nation’s security, infrastructure and agriculture.
KALPANA SUTARIA, AUSTIN
The Charlottesville, Va., riots and killing opened old wounds and created animosity in our nation. President Trump referenced neo-Nazis and other white supremacist groups on three occasions after the riots, but I focus on neo-Nazis. I remember well the sacrifices during World War II, which ended in 1945. Wives and mothers saw millions of our nation’s finest go to war. Critical goods were rationed. About 400,000 American troops died on foreign soil, most of them fighting German Nazis.
Donald Trump equated white supremacists in Charlottesville to citizens protesting them, but he neglected to call out rioters displaying Nazi flags, Trump signs and Trump caps. He also failed to reject neo-Nazi support of his administration. Because of his words and actions, I consider Donald Trump as the most despicable American.
HERSCHEL HILL, TAYLOR