Readers' views for March 25, 2011
Thinking locally calms economy
This letter is in response to both the editorial "Domestic supplies could ease crunch" and a comment to the story "Climbing fuel prices trigger alarm" in the March 4 edition of Capital Press.
Americans will always for the foreseeable future find themselves on the wrong side of the "crude oil supply-and-demand equation." This simply is why our military is investing your and my tax dollars in alternative fuel sources like biodiesel-producing microorganisms, a story that doesn't seem to attract very much attention.
Plainly speaking, the U.S. demand for oil and its byproducts simply outweighs any amount of oil that can be produced domestically. Should these interests be exploited we will find only temporary relief and that the cost far outweighs the gain.
It is interesting to note that the military sees concern for fuel demand and acts on investigating and funding other sources while the federal government continues to receive pressure to avoid these sources and to find a quick fix. Could it be that our media, and representatives funded and lobbied by "big oil" and its subsidiaries -- the auto industry, petrochemicals and so on -- are more concerned with the huge profits to be made as world oil production peaks than the common man's bottom line?
Our food system and economic system are too fragile to ignore the fact that we need a change in tactics. It becomes hard to accept arguments that come from "mega-ag" operations that function on thousands of gallons of fuel a year that are only concerned with the highest-end world markets for their products, while the small producer continues to be leaned on and pushed out by all these external forces as well as by the big producers.
If you want security, and a stable economic base, then think locally! Unlimited growth is an impossibility. We will continue to lose our edge in world markets simply due to our own inability to recognize that we no longer have the resources or abilities to compete as a production nation -- nor are our people willing to accept the consequences of trying to do so. We are consumers and need to switch focus to providing for our own from within our own.
Buffers take land from owners
Various newspapers, including the Capital Press, have contained articles on restoring the Puget Sound watershed.
The heart of restoration appears to be tree planting and wetlands and stream restoration. Agriculture is not good. A return to the pre-European-settlement natural state for the maximum area possible should be strived for.
Already, tree planting and retention has resulted in view cutoffs to the point that in driving north on I-405 and I-5 from Woodinville to Mount Vernon, Wash., the only good view of the snow-covered Cascades is from the long bridge north of Everett.
The views of creeks and rivers for which homeowners paid high land prices are shut off by trees planted along those waterways and in restored wetlands, as well as in required dryland buffers.
Speaking of buffers, all but 15 feet of a lot I owned in Kirkland was designated a buffer to the wetland edge of a small lake there. In order to obtain a building permit that included a portion of the dryland buffer I was required to restore the rest of the buffer to Kirkland's specifications. The requirements, which included plantings and tree trunks and tree rootwads and five years of maintenance and inspections, cost close to $100,000. The final insult was a requirement to dedicate 80 percent of the lot "in perpetuity" to the City of Kirkland.
Thanks to government land-use regulations, people literally do not own their land anymore -- yet the land taxes continue unabated.