I would like to thank The Daily Item for the coverage of environmental and energy issues over the last few months. In addition to the other environmental issues that have been discussed in the newspaper, there are two others to which I'd like to draw attention and about which readers should contact their members of Congress.

The CAFE standards (Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency) are set by the federal government. Raising CAFE standards for cars from the current 27.5 miles per gallon to 45 mpg would save us an enormous amount of petroleum and move automobile manufacturers in the right direction. Standards for light trucks (this includes SUVs) also need to be raised. The costs for technology to increase fuel efficiency would be off-set almost immediately by savings on gasoline purchases.

Mountain-top-removal (MTR) coal mining is exactly what it sounds like: the tops of mountains are blown off to provide easier access to coal. In the process, however, entire valleys are filled with rubble; miles and miles of natural habitat -- forests and streams -- are ruined, with an immediate toll on the human residents: health problems, homes and infrastructure destroyed, communities weakened. If the health effects, lack of drinking water, and demolition of property caused by mountain-top-removal were caused by a natural disaster, we would have celebrity telethons, and aid efforts would much more visible. Contacting our representatives and the Office of Surface Mining is an appropriate way to start helping.

U.S. Rep. Carney will be in Union County on Friday. This would be a great opportunity for us to let our congressman know how we feel about CAFE standards and mountain-top removal mining.

Mary Hague,


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