A chance to stop the dirtiest oil...

Dear Editor,

Winona LaDuke and Nellis Kennnedy laid down the gauntlet, writing “A chance to stop the dirtiest oil” (Star Tribune May 25), that "A project that would not pass a federal environmental impact statement in Minnesota should not be allowed to sell to our market – or we have simply exported our environmental destruction!”  Wouldn’t that qualify under the “cap and trade” bill now up for debate in Congress?  Whose side is government on?

As you reported in News From Indian Country May 4, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that in addition to the $500 million in federal stimulus money going to American Indian tribes for schools, housing, infrastructure improvements, loans and job programs on reservations, the Interior Department plans to invest at least another $2.5 billion in Indian Country during the Obama administration.  That's a lot of money to invest!

President Obama is hard-pressed to get a bill passed that shows he truly seeks a deal on climate change when he meets with the international community in Copenhagen this December.  If Congress fails to pass a bill for “cap and trade,” the president could use his powers to regulate carbon emissions, but that would be against all the economic interests -- including oil, coal, utility and railroad industries – threatened by his “cap and trade” policy!

LaDuke and Kennedy wrote about the Canadian Tar Sands project, where earth is being scraped down hundreds of feet to create oil for an American market.  Besides devastating the land, destroying the boreal forest and releasing 11 million liters of contaminated water into the environment every day, the carbon emissions for the project surpass those of 97 nations in the world combined.  Considered evil, all 43 First Nations Chiefs in Alberta have sought to place a moratorium on the project – dubbed “Mordor” by its opponents, a tribute to Tolkien's land of death.  Now they want to move Mordor south.

I think education and job programs must have priority in deciding how stimulus money is to be spent. But unless we say no to continuing wars and weapons proliferation, the future for generations to come remains grim indeed.

Joanna C. Rovelstad
Rochester Minnesota