Relief wells can pre-empt gas catastrophes
Re “A billowing wake-up call from L.A. on greenhouse gas” (Editorial, Dec. 30): There is already a perfectly good way to prevent gas and oil leaks from becoming major catastrophic events. It is to preemptively drill one or more relief wells close to the main bore, before the main well is struck.
It was a method first suggested by Admiral Thad Allen (Commandant U.S. Coast Guard, Ret.), the person in charge of the Gulf cleanup, as the only way he knew to ensure safety on these types of drilling operations. Sen. Frank Lautenberg also introduced a bill in Congress to require the pre-drilling of relief wells.
It was referred to committee in 2010 and apparently died there.
Once in place, pre-drilled relief wells all but guarantee that the containment of any spill or leak can be done in a matter of weeks, if not days. That would prevent the massive spills caused by months of delay waiting for relief wells to be drilled after the fact.
The cost of this safety measure is negligible relative to the costs of the rigs and wells themselves. Yet this direct method of preventing catastrophic damage was never discussed during the congressional safety hearings on the BP incident, and Lautenberg’s bill never made it to the floor.
One can only wonder by whom and for what reason this obvious solution set to well safety has been left out of these discussions.
Once again, it appears the oil and gas industries are putting profits ahead of public safety and the environment.
Red Slider, Sacramento
Alejo shows economic illiteracy
Re “Wage hike will lift families, won’t cost jobs” (Viewpoints, Dec. 30): My first job was making $3.35 per hour at a small mom-and-pop Greek gyros stand at a shopping mall. Within a couple of months, they liked my work, and gave me a raise of 10 cents.
I worked my way up to $3.75 about a year later when I left for college. I had no special skills when they hired me, but did have a willingness to work, and although it was a tiring and greasy job, it gave me experience.
Other jobs included pizza delivery for Domino’s and working in the college cafeteria and at Subway, so that in graduate school, I was able to land a job as assistant manager for a small pizza chain, which included health benefits.
The bottom line was, I was able to work my way up so that I could move beyond minimum wage.
This is why those jobs are there – to give experience, not to be a way of life. I wonder why Assemblyman Luis Alejo’s mother-in-law worked for 20 years at one minimum-wage job and eight years at another for only 10 cents more.
During that time, did she not gain any skills to go after something better? If you work hard and are well-liked, there are options, and those should go beyond waiting for the government to take care of you.
Employers have only two choices when the government hikes the minimum wage: raise prices or hire fewer employees. Both of these options hurt the poor that Assemblyman Alejo claims to care about.
Jeff Randall, Antelope
Milk does bodies harm
Re “Greener cows can cut carbon emissions at dairies” (Viewpoints, Dec. 30): Making dairy operations greener by installing methane digesters overlooks three inconvenient facts about dairy products.
Dairy products can increase risk of breast, prostate and ovarian cancer. Production of dairy products is water-intensive. And, as the article observes, methane is an environmentally harmful byproduct.
Don’t buy dairy and protect yourself, your family, and the environment.
Ken Newman, Sacramento
Refuse vasectomies too?
Re “Birth-control surgery refused; ACLU sues” (Page 4A, Dec. 30): Thank you for informing us that some of our own local hospitals here in California are refusing to do basic tubal ligations for women who choose to have them. Incredible, in 2015 in California.
If certain religious individuals and organizations believe they have the right to control women’s health, I wonder if they also refuse to do vasectomies for men who want them, since those also contribute to missed opportunities to procreate.
Do these people know the dangers and difficulties of being pregnant, not to mention individual choice and common sense?
Claudia Krich, Davis
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