Thursday, February 22 , 2018, 10:50 am | Fair 56º


Letter to the Editor: Extreme Views

While looking over responses to a contributor's recent Letters to the Editor, I saw a reference to “William Smithers' 'pretty extreme views.'”

Here are themes I've pursued in Noozhawk for the past year:

1. Human-caused climate change, if not quickly and drastically addressed by world governments and industries, will result in immense sickness and death for all species.

2. Oil/gas conglomerates and their service industries - especially but not exclusively as a result of unconventional drilling practices - have caused widespread environmental and health damage, continue to do so and should be held accountable in all cases.

3. The universal failure of California regulatory agencies to monitor, control or effectively punish illegal behavior of energy companies in the state is not random or accidental, but the policy of the state's governor, who has received large sums from these companies and whose reputation for progressive environmentalism is based on proposals to be implemented after he leaves office.

4. Among presidential candidates: I find Senator Bernie Sanders a remarkable exception to the rule of corrupt moneyed influence who I believe would do more than any other to rectify the economic, social and political inequality that has disgraced our country. I find former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to have made so many false statements about her practices, has exhibited so many cynical switches in position and/or tiptoed around key issues that she cannot be trusted to oppose moneyed interests. I find Donald Trump, as the NY Times declared, the source of “racist lies.” I find Dr. Ben Carson repeatedly untruthful as to past events and inadequate when attempting to address national policy issues.

5. A small cadre of frequent contributors to Noozhawk are indeed intellectually inferior, habitually issuing near-hysterical rants, personal insults, irrelevant and/or unsubstantiated claims, usually hiding behind fake names.

I aspire to a straight-on look by an independent mind, supported by significant and relevant references. My views are given in my own name. In almost every instance I cite facts, or conclusions by knowledgeable individuals, as reported by established news, governmental, environmental and scientific organizations.

Regarding No. 3 above, for instance, Julie Cart in the Los Angeles Times of Nov. 29, 2915 (“Is Extracting Oil Any Safer?”) recapitulates the fate of construction supervisor David Taylor who on June 21, 2011 on the site of a Chevron cyclic steam injection well “fell feet first into a cavity burbling with 190-degree water and hydrogen sulfide” and was boiled to death.

Regarding the oil company practices that made this possible, “... oil and gas regulators vowed to make urgent reforms....

“Four years later, however, there has been little progress. The state has not acted, either by revising regulations or enforcing existing rules.”

Ms. Cart's extensive article also covers the governor's firing of Derek Chernow and Elena Miller for reasons I've explained even more thoroughly in previous posts.

I encourage anyone who believes this state's agency heads to be rogue operators independent of supervision; anyone who believes they are incompetents whose failings are ignored by a passive state executive; anyone who believes they are are all striving to do their best but just don't have the means while a benevolent chief administrator simply shrugs; in other words I encourage anyone who thinks my view “extreme” that California agency heads know full well what the governor expects of them and that they act in accord with this understanding – please come forward and give a clearer, more rational, more believable explanation of their universal failure to fulfill the law.

William Smithers
Santa Barbara

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