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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Letters

Air Date: Week of March 2, 2001

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Transcript

CURWOOD: Time now for comments from our listeners.

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CURWOOD: Daniel Stewart, who hears us on KUNM out of Albuquerque, caught our story on industrial hog farms. He says we failed to point out an obvious solution to the problem of hog manure. "More than a century ago," he writes, "American farmers were using anaerobic digesters to turn manure into clean-burning methane, that's natural gas, and pathogen-free compost. You quote Robert Kennedy, Jr., as saying that industrial hog farms will have to pay tens of millions of dollars for sewage treatment plants for their operations. In fact, a state-of-the-art anaerobic digester could be put into operation for a tiny fraction of that amount. The resulting methane could be sold at a profit by the hog farms, or used anywhere on the farm that gasoline or natural gas is now used."

Recently we ran an interview with Dr. Gina Solomon of the Natural Resources Defense Council about her study on the elevated diesel levels in school buses. It prompted WBEZ-Chicago listener Barry Gardner to point out, what he termed, its numerous shortcomings, and wondered why it merited our attention. "A sample of four buses is so small," he writes. "Dr. Solomon hasn't controlled her study for the manufacture of the buses, the age of the exhaust system, the mileage of the buses, the maintenance program of that particular school district. The list goes on and on."

And many of you had a strong response about the proposal in Maine to make cigarette butts redeemable for a nickel. Web browser Patti Albee writes, "I'm tired of cleaning up after people who are inconsiderate enough to throw their trash on my lawn. But I feel that the appropriate response is to fine these people for littering, instead of rewarding them for simply cleaning up after themselves."

Mary Jane Newborn on the other hand likes the idea of the Maine deposit.

NEWBORN: As a smoker, and as a recycler, you know, it would be great if I could go around the pick up cigarette butts, which I've picked up many times, just, you know, for litter removal. I compost my own.

CURWOOD: Your comments light up our program. Call our listener line any time at 800-218-9988. Our e-mail address is letters@loe.org. And visit our Web page at www.loe.org.

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CURWOOD: Coming up: Too much, way too much, of a good thing. Promoters of the possum fur trade in New Zealand got more than they bargained for. Stay tuned to Living on Earth.

Now, this environmental health update with Diane Toomey.

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