Letters to the Editor: April 27, 2016 

The truth

Sorry all of you, but Oklahoma’s oil and gas economy is dead and Oklahoma needs to find a way to be innovative and relevant with a new, forward-thinking economy.

We know that soon there won’t be any kind of oil and gas generation in the U.S. This has nothing to do with fracking, earthquakes or an oversupply of fossil fuel, but with the fact that with 7 billion people on earth, we can’t continue using methane- and carbon dioxide-producing fuel. This is the truth, and no amount of denial about climate change is going to change it. If they don’t change, our energy producers are going to go the way of the dinosaurs that helped give us the oil, gas and coal in the first place: extinct.

So what can be done? Oklahoma needs two things: a relevant energy industry and an infrastructure that gets the energy to the people who are going to use it. And where will that come from? The oil and gas industry. Let’s ask them to put their amazing, innovative energies into energy and manufacturing systems that will fuel the future. Devon could build renewable energy research and development and delivery systems. Oil and gas entrepreneur Harold Hamm can do the same. Chesapeake can put its employees to work finding ways to build renewable infrastructure.

These actions will build a workforce that isn’t dependent upon a Middle East that dictates oil and gas prices. Think about it: an Oklahoma that sets its own standards and is really independent. This would make Oklahoma a true exporter of energy and home-state-manufactured energy products to underserved areas in the United States and the world, as well as troubleshooting, service and repair to ensure those systems continue to run.

This will mean we need a well-schooled, intelligent workforce. Our existing energy companies can help provide those, too. They could work with our public colleges and universities to educate engineers and technicians and give them apprentice programs so they get the experience they need. We could even start those programs in high school.

If our energy companies don’t fuel the future, the Devon Tower will become the symbol for oil and gas hubris in the face of disaster and Classen Boulevard and 63rd Street will be a ghost town.

Carolyn Dershem Oklahoma City

‘State interest’

In the April 13 Gazette article about State Question 777 (News, “Loaded question,” Laura Eastes), Amanda Rosholt is paraphrased saying, “The amendment benefits all farmers and ranchers equally.”

This is blatantly false and an example showing farmers being harmed is why SQ 777 should be defeated.

An Oregon community of organic farmers is seeking protection against their farms being contaminated by genetically engineered plants from nearby fields. Previously passed SB 863 changed the state statues to pre-empt legislation like SQ 777 is designed to do.

A new bill, Transgenic Contamination Prevention Bill (HB 4122), has been introduced that would, if passed, repeal part of SB 863, which preempted local governments in Oregon from protecting organic family farmers from contamination of their crops with transgenic properties. This contamination would destroy the future crops from being labeled organic. In this case, since SB 863 is just a statute change and not a constitutional change, as SQ 777 would be, HB 4122 could simply repeal the preemption.

To reverse SQ 777 would require another constitutional change and be considerably more difficult.

The Oregon example is not hypothetical but a real threat to another group of farmers, despite Rosholt’s assertion. Should SQ 777 pass and when an Oklahoma organic farmer finds his farm has been contaminated, will that be ruled a “compelling state interest,” the phrase added to make any reversal even more unlikely?

Chadwick Cox Norman

Oklahoma Gazette provides an open forum for the discussion of all points of view in its Letters to the Editor section. The Gazette reserves the right to edit letters for length and clarity. Letters can be mailed, faxed, emailed to jchancellor@okgazette.com or sent online at okgazette.com. Include a city of residence and contact number for verification.

Opinions expressed on the commentary page, in letters to the editor and elsewhere in this newspaper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ownership or management.

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Chadwick Cox

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