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Clearing the Air on Emissions

October 19, 2002

Thank you for "Clean Air Is the State's Right" (editorial, Oct. 14). We have been fighting the big auto manufacturers on this very issue for years. Our electric car has over 6,500 miles on it after about nine months of use. Clean, reliable, zero-emissions, one-penny-each, charge-at-home, no-visits-to-the-gas-station miles -- consuming no oil, Iraqi or otherwise. People give us the thumbs-up on the road, smile or wave. When was the last time that happened to an SUV driver? I think they're more used to a different type of gesture.

People often talk to us when we park, sometimes at stoplights, sometimes just yelling across traffic, encouraging us and expressing support. Soon we will have solar electric panels on our house and then we will have zero emissions. There is an alternative to oil for transportation.

Nick Carter

Santa Rosa


Re "2002 Spike in Air Pollution Reverses Downward Trend," Oct. 13: Nowhere in the analysis offered to explain the possible reasons for the purportedly unexpected spike in air pollution is there any mention of the fact that half of all new-car sales last year were sport utility vehicles. As an air-quality planner, I have raised the probability that, this year or the next, we would see just such a spike in air pollution measurements. It is inconceivable that we can know the laws of physics and the principles of atmospheric chemistry and not know the consequences of our collective actions.

Each one of us who chose to drive an SUV chose to ignore the consequences of that choice and chose also to externalize the consequences of our choice-making onto others far distant from us. If those who sow and those who reap are not one and the same, natural law cannot prevail. An emissions tax is the only way to redress the harm being done to us by those who care the least about us.

Ashwani Vasishth



Re "Calif. Overstepped Authority on 'Clean' Cars, U.S. Contends," Oct. 10: Once again President Bush has proven to be two-faced and a hypocrite. In siding with DaimlerChrysler in its bid to trump the revolutionary measure passed in our state to force auto makers to put zero-emissions vehicles on the market, he has sided with those who would, in the name of profit, risk the health of millions, as well as the environment in which we live. While espousing his commitment to states' rights throughout his campaign for the presidency, his commitment to that philosophy stands only if his friends in big business -- in this case, car makers and big oil -- are not threatened.

As a gigantic force in this nation's overall economy and well-being, we as Californians should have the ability to govern our own path in taking a great leap forward in developing a more sustainable society.

Early in his presidency, Bush sided with business interests when he refused to endorse the Kyoto Protocol. Now he is castigating other nations around the world for acting in their own self-interest in not supporting his campaign for war against Iraq. Citing a perceived, yet unproven, threat, Bush beats his chest for war with Iraq yet he conveniently forgets the far graver threat of environmental destruction and global warming that is slowly, but surely, creeping over the horizon. Is it myopia that guides him, or pure greed?

Luke Grannis

Playa del Rey

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