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Energy: Short-Term Gain, Long-Term Pain

April 20, 2002

How ironic that in the same issue that The Times writes of the destruction of hills, streams and homes in the search for coal ("The Steep Cost of Cleaner, Cheaper Coal," April 14) there would appear an advertisement for home photovoltaic systems (Page A31). The new generation of solar shingles has proven itself effective in providing up to 40% of a household's electrical needs in locations as diverse as sunny Southern California and cold, cloudy Holland, according to Guillermo Hernandez, adjunct professor of architecture at Woodbury University and head of the DWP's Solar L.A. project.

This innovative product requires no batteries or special equipment: The energy feeds directly into the power grid and the homeowner's meter runs backward, paying for itself in six to 10 years. Currently, the DWP will subsidize 40% of the cost of installing these systems. Considering the cost to both the environment and people's health, wouldn't it make sense for the federal government to step in and pick up the balance?

A 100% rebate, offered nationwide, would immediately end our dependence on foreign oil, save our environment and produce millions of new jobs. Instead, the Bush administration wants to further relax coal mining standards.

Charles Crawford

Los Angeles

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For the Bush administration to rewrite mining and dumping regulations to suit President Bush's and his industry cronies' narrow interests reduces the president to little more than a common dictator who changes the rules. And the fact that many members of his own party have implored him to cease his slash-and-burn environmental policies only underscores the fact that this man is seriously out of control.

Bush, Interior Secretary Gale Norton and the rest of the industry shills seem unconcerned that they're also destroying the lives of the residents of Appalachia and other environmentally sensitive areas. This wholesale destruction of irreplaceable natural resources for short-term financial gain, plus the betrayal of the people affected, will not only be Bush's domestic legacy but will be an issue that he will be hard-pressed to defend come 2004.

Michael Laskavy

Oak Park

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