FERC needs more authority to site electricity lines
Regarding the Jan. 28 editorial, "Obama's high-wire electric act": Interstate transport systems are an increasingly important part of our nation's energy infrastructure, particularly where renewable energy resources are concerned. Our nation is blessed with ample wind power, but much of it is located in regions, such as the Upper Midwest, that are far from the cities whose residents would benefit most from it. We need to expand these national assets in a way that provides both reliability and lower prices for consumers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has more than 70 years of experience siting interstate natural-gas pipelines. If this commission is given more authority to site electricity transmission facilities, we would continue our practice of giving due consideration to the concerns of landowners and others when we consider infrastructure investments.
Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Population growth increases pollution
In regard to the Jan. 26 commentary, "Can Obama's family-planning policies help the economy?": Bravo to the Monitor for covering the crucial population issue. The fact is that we can't have our cake and eat it, too. The Earth can't withstand unlimited population growth. China is a case in point. If its population size were "only" 130 million people, or 1/10th of its actual current population of 1.3 billion people, we could afford to be far less worried about the stunning increase in China's per capita emissions of greenhouse gases. If other developing countries hope to follow China's example in rapid economic development, limiting the growth of their populations now will pay huge dividends in reduced environmental impacts in the future.
In regard to the Jan. 27 article, "Rwanda-Congo move isolates UN mission": The relevance of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) has not been lost on the thousands of combatants voluntarily disarmed and safely repatriated to Rwanda with their families by MONUC since 2002.
A military operation to disarm and demobilize the remaining elements of the FDLR was prepared by MONUC with the Congolese Army (FARDC). This was agreed to by Rwanda and international partners, including the European Union's special envoy, last September. It was interrupted when hostilities broke out in North Kivu the same month. With the recent agreement of the CNDP and other armed groups to join the Congolese Army, such an operation has again become feasible.
MONUC has been tasked by the United Nations Security Council to ensure that the protection of civilians is given paramount importance in the planning and implementation of any military operations against the FDLR. We are in contact with the two governments to impress on them the United Nations' concerns in this respect. Recent developments provide a chance to put an end to a conflict that has consumed the region for almost 15 years. MONUC will play its part in helping the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda to finally overcome this tragic consequence of the Rwandan genocide.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General, United Nations
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
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