LETTERS: Addressing climate needs; Citizenship questioned

Letters to the Editor

Addressing climate needs

As a Texan who believes the climate is changing due to human use of fossil fuels, I am disappointed by Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton’s March 4 column published by The Washington Times. In the article, Mr. Sitton argues against the Green New Deal by falsely implying that it will eliminate your cows, your choices and your freedom.

Instead, the Green New Deal is an ambitious attempt to address what people in positions of power like Mr. Sitton have failed to do for decades.

While some aspects of the Green New Deal might be overly ambitious by attempting to simultaneously address climate change and inequality, humans must modify our behaviors in key ways. We need to reduce emissions.

While Mr. Sitton jokes about cow farts, he already holds the keys to bringing more tangible reductions in methane emissions than emanate from all the cows in Texas. But instead of attempting to reduce greenhouse gasses, he repeatedly denies climate science. Perhaps instead of attacking those who seek emission reductions, he could contribute to the effort and implement reduction strategies in oil and gas operations in Texas.

For example, we could actively work to reduce fugitive methane emissions, as methane is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Non-profit Earthworks routinely identifies rigs with excessive methane and other toxic emissions. Recent analysis of satellite data by the Environmental Defense Fund shows flaring to be much higher than reported, indicating that Earthworks’ findings only scratch the surface.

The Railroad Commission is failing to adequately investigate, enforce and regulate the industry.

We could also deny drilling permits when gas from a startup well is destined to be flared for more than an initial 10 days. Standard practice should not be to grant 45-day permits with additional 180-plus day extensions, prolonging exposure of harmful emissions to nearby communities. In the third quarter of 2018, the Permian flared an average of 407 million cubic feet per day, equivalent to the daily exhaust of 2.7 million cars. Last year flaring hit a new record on Mr. Sitton’s watch.

Extended flaring wastes resources and revenue. It risks the health of those living in the region through exposure to toxic gases and ozone, and risks all our children’s futures due to climate change.

Texas oil and natural gas have a useful place in our future energy mix.

Texas pumps won’t stop anytime soon. No energy source packs as portable a punch as carbon-based fuels.

Natural gas, plentiful in Texas, is an excellent bridge fuel from coal. But we diminish its value as a bridge fuel if we do not harvest it responsibly.

We must minimize fugitive emissions, the wasteful practice of flaring and pollution to neighbors.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we have 12 years to cut our emissions in half.

This means business as usual must change.

Texans already feel the effects of climate change with more powerful droughts, floods and hurricanes.

Industry needs to be responsibly regulated. Texas needs leadership at the Railroad Commission willing to put the interest of all Texans above that of industry.

Julie Range, Austin


Citizenship questioned

Senator Kamala Harris is not a “natural born citizen” in my opinion. Therefore, I do not believe she is eligible to be our president.

No, I’m not letting this go because I believe in obeying the law of the land, our Constitution.

I said years ago when I petitioned our government on two separate occasions, after Barack Obama was elected for his second term, to look into this matter, knowing that the issue would come up again if something wasn’t done about it. I did not receive the required signatures on either petition for it to be posted in public on the Whitehouse.gov website for all Americans to see. I also asked our Supreme Court for its definition of a “natural born citizen.”

They told me they would reply but they never did.

Based on the information I have found neither of Kamala Harris’s parents were American citizens at the time of her birth. Therefore, I believe it is impossible for her to be a “natural born citizen,” which is one of the requirements to be president.

There have been numerous attempts by Congress to either delete the requirement that one must be a “natural born citizen” to be president, or to define and relax the definition of a “natural born citizen” that will include more citizens. All attempts have failed.

Our Constitution is not a dictionary. Therefore, no definition was given as to who is a “natural born citizen.”

Based on what our Framers said, and later on what other members of Congress said, we constitutionalists believe the definition of a “natural born citizen” is one who was born on American soil of two American citizen parents at the time of their birth.

Darrell Williams Sr., McAllen