Solar energy plans good move for city; Douthat ignores Obama successes – Austin American

June 2, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Solar energy plans good move for city

Re: May 27 article, “Austin Energy changes contractors, but landmark solar project is still on.

I’m extremely excited to hear about Austin’s solar energy plans. The city of Austin shows great potential for expanding solar energy: Lower costs of production and operation, thanks to the rapidly expanding solar industry and federal tax credits, will greatly allow the city to meet its energy goals. By reducing the cost of use for Austin Energy consumers, more people will see the massive potential in solar energy and will hopefully move to become energy producers themselves. Reducing the cost for homes and businesses to produce their own solar energy is an important obstacle to overcome in order to expand Austin’s solar energy use further, up to, and even past, the cited goal of 200 megawatts. Increasing demand for solar power will only serve to further increase production in the industry, creating new jobs for Austin in the process. Good job in working to make Austin an environmentally friendly city!

DASHIELL DANIELS, AUSTIN

Douthat ignores Obama successes

Re: May 20 commentary, “Defending Obama’s foreign policy looks like lost cause.”

Ross Douthat’s column on President Barack Obama’s foreign policy departs from his typically more rational (for the right wing) monologues on conservative principles. He starts by claiming that while most presidents have some failures, virtually all win some clear victories, except Obama. By doing so, he ignores winding down both disastrous and useless wars started without purpose by his predecessor, avoiding new wars in Lebanon (while bringing down a Saddam-like dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, with the sad loss of four American lives versus more than 5,000 in Iraq and Afghanistan) and Syria, finding and killing Osama bin Laden (whom his predecessor vowed to bring in “dead or alive”), and quietly helping the EU save Greece and Spain from economic collapse. At the same time, Douthat claims equivalence between ending the Cold War and achieving the Camp David accords with Bush’s AIDS-in-Africa initiative. Are you kidding me?

GREGORY K. LEMON, AUSTIN

Needed equipment slow to come

I wrote to the American-Statesman in November 2013 regarding “dignity” for our veterans. My husband did not have an issue with getting an appointment at the VA. His problem was getting the equipment that had been ordered by his primary VA doctor. In July 2013 an order went forward for an Aquila pressurized cushion for his wheelchair. Many letters and correspondence to those responsible did little to hasten the order. He received that cushion two weeks before he died in January 2014.

A respiratory therapist stated that he needed a whole house generator to sustain power for his ventilator in case power was lost. The request was denied and my husband appealed that decision. I was notified one week after he died from ALS that the request had been granted. There are more problems inside the VA besides obtaining an appointment

MARSHA B. TRIPP, GEORGETOWN

Automatic firearms must be controlled

Re: May 25 article, “6 slain, suspect killed in rampage.”

Another chapter … University of California, Santa Barbara. This incident involved a semiautomatic pistol used to kill six people and wound seven others. Our country has a history of shooting incidents resulting in multitudes of victims being killed and wounded by the use of automatic and semiautomatic firearms. Firearms of this type should be owned/utilized only by those not in the military or law enforcement. More effective gun control laws and regulations would not violate the U. S. Constitution — gun ownership would still be allowed, but not the automatic and semiautomatic type.

BILL GRAF, AUSTIN

Regulation needed for risky chemicals

This is the time for change. The explosion in West last year brought about the deaths of 15 people, devastating the people of Texas and showing that there is an urgent need for real reform in chemical safety regulations. A year after the devastation, Texas has yet to bring about the change that will protect the people from these chemicals. As Hope Yen’s recent article points out, many plants do not safely store ammonium nitrate, a chemical that caused the explosion in West. Similarly, a water treatment plant outside Austin endangers about 500,000 people by storing excess amounts of chlorine. We want the EPA to enact tougher standards on companies that store and transport dangerous chemicals. I think it is about time for the change so that incidents like the one last year in West do not happen again.

SO KOO, AUSTIN

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