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Writer objects to characterization of columnist

A recent letter writer took a nasty swipe at a column by Mark James Miller, an admired Hancock teacher, for his column "Clean water, clean energy, clean planet."

The writer called it "... a verbatim regurgitation of FWW's [Food and Water Watch] standard dogma," objecting to Miller's definition of "fracking" as "cyclic steam injection," implying the definition is "false and misleading." The writer dismissed Miller's work as "academic sloppiness," and accusing (without factual evidence) the Food and Water Watch of accepting "our tax dollars" as "corporate and government grants."

I do not know the FWW the writer hates because it apparently opposes his own interests, but I do know Miller and resent this attack on his writing.

First, Miller's definition of "fracking" is consistent with the definition on Google: "the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rock, boreholes, etc., so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas."

Second, the acceptance of "grants" attributed to "corporate or government" sources offers no evidence to support the writer's claim that the monies FWW receives aren't individual grants or donations. The writer's screed is a smear of a good man and a respected teacher by someone who doesn't respect others' opinions and who has been infected by incivility and character assassination.

I yearn for the return of a respect for truth and decency in public discourse.

Istar Holliday

Arroyo Grande

County approach to oil measured, educated

Food & Water Watch, an international organization whose goal is to eliminate all fossil fuels, has set its sights on blocking the approval of a permit for new oil wells proposed for a rural area of Santa Barbara County. From their office in Los Angeles, they are actively seeking local support for their mission.

What is clear is that they are ignorant of the facts and distort them as part of their misinformation campaign to end energy production in Santa Barbara County. Energy production in the county is done under the most stringent environmental regulations on the planet. If successful this misguided opposition will ultimately backfire, resulting in making us more dependent on imported oil from the Middle East.

Here in Santa Barbara County we have a reputation for strongly respecting the environment. Our locally elected city councils and board of supervisors have adopted regulations and standards that go beyond what’s required by state and federal law. They’ve done this in a way that’s informed by their knowledge of local conditions and with input from the residents that will have to live with their decisions.

Santa Barbara County is well ahead of the national curve when it comes to regulation of oil and gas production and our county leaders are more than qualified to evaluate projects. Importantly, they understand that by saying “no” to one thing – local energy produced under strict environmental protections – they would be saying “yes” to something less desirable – imported supplies produced under less well-regulated conditions.

They are pursuing policies that advance the goal of cleaner energy in the context of what makes sense for our area. In other words, the county is acting locally while thinking globally. This approach is more successful than that of special interest groups.

Marilu Aguilera

Santa Maria