Letters to the Editor

Readers write about fuel efficient cars, landowners and endangered species, and fixing the immigration problem.

The US must make more cars with higher fuel efficiency

In response to the Aug. 10 editorial, "Rev up America's energy future": It is, of course, the American car buyer that makes the decision to buy big, fuel-guzzling cars and trucks. But high gasoline prices seem to work in other countries to force people to buy more fuel-efficient cars.

When I bought a fuel-efficient car, the miles per gallon that I experienced was much lower than the manufacturer had advertised, especially for highway driving. I wonder how many other people have been disillusioned by the optimistic claims for the m.p.g. of American-made cars.

With new technology, the US could reduce motor-fuel usage. As auto statistics for Britain and the European Union demonstrate, even for light trucks the m.p.g. range is better than that in the US. The process of making more fuel-efficient cars in the US has been going backward, even for imports. Both tools need to be applied: higher fuel standards for new cars and higher fuel prices.

Luther Browning
Corpus Christi, Texas

Landowners and endangered species

The Aug. 6 article, "Warblers, vireos, and tanks: Army tries new approach," implied that The Nature Conservancy does not support the Recovery Credit System, a pilot program in Texas that pays private landowners to protect habitat for endangered species found on their land. I would like to clarify our position.

The Recovery Credit System is an innovative project, still in its formative stages, that attempts to reach a balance between landowner incentives and species recovery. As with any new program, the RCS may have shortcomings and it merits examination as to its effectiveness after a reasonable trial period. However, we think landowner-incentive programs are critical to the protection and recovery of endangered species, and we support experimenting with the RCS in Texas.

Texas is a private-lands state, and private landownership is central to the ideals of many Americans. If endangered species recovery is to occur, we need more landowner programs that balance wise public-funding investments with lasting and tangible species recovery.

Jim Bergan
Texas Director of Science and Stewardship
The Nature Conservancy
San Antonio

Confronting Mexican labor practices

Thank you for the Aug. 3 article, "In Central America, child migrants now face perils alone." The US government needs to do more to fix the immigration problem. Mexico is the birthplace of the majority of undocumented immigrants in this country. I think that labor laws in Mexico are a joke, and unpaid overtime, shoddy conditions, and uncompensated injuries are the norm. Any reasonable person, faced with the same circumstances, would do anything to escape their situation.

Instead of confronting Mexico over its lack of responsibility, our government policies encourage Mexican labor practices. NAFTA and other trade pacts reward the Mexican government for keeping wages low and ignoring labor laws, not to mention moving American jobs south of the border. The US can influence Mexico to raise its minimum wage.

It is time to stop blaming illegal immigration on its biggest victim, the immigrant himself – starved in his own country, demonized and marginalized in ours.

It is time to start blaming the Mexican government and its American enablers.

Cynara Kidwell
San Diego

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to Readers Write and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to OpEd.

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