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City folk and saving Western lands

January 13, 2000



Regarding "Gulf grows over Western land use" (Jan. 11): I live in Phoenix and believe this to be a great step forward in the battle for conservation.

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I take exception, however, to Darlene Slusher's comments. Ms. Slushers's group, People for the USA, represents those who wanted that land the most - the ranchers and the developers. She says: "City people don't have a clue what happens with the federal government ... You say the word 'environmental' to city people and ... it gives them a warm and fuzzy feeling."

Having been a "city" person all my life, I do know what happens in the federal government. And I also do not get a "warm, fuzzy" feeling when someone says the word environment.

We understand that developers, along with a continuing population explosion, are a direct cause of the environmental degradation that people are fighting to protect.

Ms. Slushers's comments shows that unless drastic measures are taken, as they were by Mr. Clinton, the environment, animals, and plant life will not survive.

I congratulate President Clinton and Bruce Babbitt on this bold and courageous move.

Jenifer Gilman Phoenix, Ariz

Mideast 'facts' challenged

Regarding Helena Cobban's Jan. 3 opinion column "A Syria-Israel peace within reach": The figure of 1 million displaced south Lebanese citizens is blatantly deceptive because it is inconceivable that one-third of Lebanon's population would be displaced without causing major domestic shifts, which is not the case.

Israel could not have displaced half a million Syrians from the Golan Heights, based on the simple fact that the area was sparsely populated and put under Syrian military rule.

The Syrian heights' total 1967 population, roughly estimated at 40,000 civilians, did not even remotely approximate the 500,000 count claimed by Cobban.

Moreover, logic dictates that the Syrian population would not rush to inhabit what was a Syrian military zone, which permitted only restricted movement to its citizens.

Itzhak Levanon Boston Consul general of Israel to New England

Gore vs. Bradley track record

In response to Linda Feldmann's Jan. 7 article "Gore versus Bradley: how they would lead," there is a very simple way to determine how they would lead. Their previous records of accomplishment. In 18 years in the US Senate, Bill Bradley has only one major accomplishment, the 1986 Tax Reform Act.

In contrast, in 23 years in public service, Vice President Al Gore has helped to pass numerous pieces of landmark legislation on the environment, women's rights, civil rights, technology research funding, and economic development, among others. As a result of his efforts, Vice President Gore has many major legislative accomplishments and the country is better off. This is the mark of a real leader.

Nancy E. Kuhn Scottsdale, Ariz.

Nonpolluting cars: who's first?

I was disappointed with "First fleet of 'green' cars about to hit the road" (Jan. 11).I was struck by the sentence: "Today the only zero-emissions vehicles are battery-powered electric cars."

This sentence is not true. The most viable zero-emissions vehicles are the proton exchange membrane hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle. So much so, that Exxon was forced to comment on this technology when publicly announcing their merger some months ago.

Rahul Iyer Berkeley, Calif.

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