News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 30, 2013

Readers’ Forum: June 30, 2013


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TERRE HAUTE — Global warming

is fact, not fraud


I want to respond to Thomas Tucker regarding his June 16 letter about “global warming fraud.”

Thomas: The earth is round, not flat. The earth orbits the sun, not vice versa. Global warming and the concept that human activity contributes to global warming are facts, not “fraud.” Scientists have nothing to gain by stating that global warming is occurring. There is no “political agenda” on the part of climate scientists.

On the other hand, the mega corporations who are involved in selling carbon-based energies have a huge financial stake in denying global warming, which their products contribute to. Having said that, however, you’ve probably noticed large advertising campaigns in all major media lately by big oil companies expounding how they are concerned about the environment and are working to produce cleaner energy. In other words, even the major sources of carbon pollution are being forced to admit that there really is a problem!

Thomas, you make the common but serious mistake of latching on to one person or one study and then projecting those conclusions to be proven scientific fact. I would recommend you look at a very extensive new study conducted by the team of John Cook and Dana Nuccitelli, as reported by the Washington post on May 18, 2013.

In this study, researchers sifted through almost 12,000 climate-related research study abstracts written over the past 20 years. They found that a full 97 percent of those studies concluded that global warming is a serious problem, and that humans contribute to global warming. That is an awfully strong consensus.

Furthermore, there has been agreement among climate researchers for quite some time that anything above 350 parts-per-million (ppm) of carbon in the atmosphere is “incompatible with life.” In other words, when we pass 350 ppm of carbon, all creation doesn’t suddenly drop dead, but it is on a downward slope toward destruction. Not only have we passed the 350 ppm threshold, but recent measurements at climate stations in Hawaii have measured 400 ppm for the first time. Not only is global warming happening, but it is increasing at a much faster rate than was anticipated.

Finally, I implore everyone to look into both sides of the issue before coming to a conclusion on such an important matter. You can find more facts at websites like www.SkepticalScience.com, www.IPCC.ch (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and www.350.org, a grassroots organization started by a concerned Christian whose goal is to disseminate accurate information about caring for creation.

— Richard Kennel, Ph.D, HSPP

Terre Haute

More to learn

about new plant at Edwardsport

Now that Duke Energy’s Edwardsport IGCC is allegedly “commercial” as of June 7, it’s once again time to set the record straight and fill in the blanks. For over seven years now, Duke and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission have conveniently left out information they prefer the public not be told, as perhaps the truth is too inconvenient.

Duke, along with the IURC, continues to perpetuate the myth that the plant will result in just a 14.5 percent rate increase. The reality is that this 14.5 percent represents only a portion of the financing costs for the project. Additional financing costs of at least $320M, as well as the actual construction costs currently capped at $2.595B, are not included. That’s right, nearly $3B yet to be accounted for and ultimately coming from ratepayer pocketbooks.

That 14.5 percent only represents the approximately $665M in Construction Work in Progress charges, or CWIP, a tracker or extra fee tacked onto the bill of captive Duke ratepayers. How much more will monthly bills increase after the other $3B is factored into rates? Ask Duke or the IURC … see if you can get a straight answer.

Duke is already collecting approximately $30M/month from ratepayers just for financing costs. In fact, Duke ratepayers will pay more just for the financing charges for the Edwardsport fiasco than Indianapolis Power & Light is seeking in total for their proposed natural gas plant in Morgan County, a plant that will produce approximately the same amount of power.

Duke claims its construction costs are capped at $2.595B, but that isn’t accurate. Duke declared the plant “in-service” on June 7, which effectively marks the end of this so-called “cost cap” from the settlement. From this date forward, ratepayers can potentially be stuck with every dollar Duke spends on the plant, and there remains a lengthy “punch list” of items that are yet to be completed. So, the settlement effectively exposes consumers to the potential of significant costs outside of the cap, which was intended to protect them.

Lastly, it needs to be understood that the IURC has declined to protect consumers from a white elephant by refusing to place any operational or performance requirements on the Edwardsport IGCC plant. Despite this plant being a first of its kind technology, never built or operated at this scale anywhere in the world, if it doesn’t work or operates at less than the 85 percent capacity factor that Duke opined the plant will achieve, Duke ratepayers are stuck with the bill, no questions asked. As long as the plant runs for even a minute, Duke gets the full amount as allowed under the settlement.

With Duke already collecting over $30 million/month from customers for this plant which is already two years behind schedule, Duke indicates it will be another 15 months before the plant is expected to have its “long-term level of availability” — whatever that means. Duke has been less than forthcoming every step of the way with this boondoggle … why should anyone believe them now?

— Kerwin Olson

Executive Director Citizens Action Coalition

Indianapolis

Fighting for

transparency

in Seelyville


Recently, I sat in the Vigo County Division 3 courtroom and listened to the arguments of lawyers for the Town of Seelyville’s elected officials. The following actions by the Town Council set the stage for the court hearing on Friday.

It is a twisted mass of conflicting resolutions, ordinances and state laws. The council has a no-give attitude when it comes to allowing anything that isn’t their idea.

Council passes ordinances/resolutions, but do not ensure they all work together. Some are so vague they can be stretched in any direction. Were they written by the town attorney?

When the council gave the previous clerk/treasurer the position of office manager (billing/collections of utilities), it was never documented as an “additional duty” and “not an expansion of C/T powers”. As a result; the pay of the C/T position was raised. When Ms. Hinsenkamp took over and paid herself the same as Mrs. Caton (as per the State Board of Accounts), council suddenly declared that they “didn’t mean to do that”. The council knew what they meant, but did not stop to think how it would impact what the C/T would be paid from there on out (as per Indiana Code). The correct verbiage should have been used. Did the attorney advise them of this mistake. If not, why?

Ms. Hinsenkamp replaced the C/T by the majority vote of the people in the first election in over 40 years. Those who elected her expected her to take over the duties of the last C/T. I understood it might not happen overnight, and anticipated that the new C/T would be present in the utility office, like past C/T, and be in charge of utility billing. The council had other plans.

Ms. Hinsenkamp terminated the office manager; Indiana Code makes the C/T the person in charge of the “collection and billing of the utilities.” The council rehired her the same day, removing the entire water utility from Ms. Hinsenkamp’s responsibilities. Council claims that Ms. Hinsenkamp never had the authority over the utility, then passed a resolution 12 days later in a monthly meeting saying the same.

How can you take away something she never had? It’s poorly written and showed conflicting acts taken by the council and its attorney.

The C/T is required by law to account for the money of the Town (a multi-million dollar a year cash cow) and given no direct authority to oversee those monies? This is unbelievable.

With no response of our repeated request for financial transparency by the council for over 12 years, was I surprised when I heard that they were changing the rules, preventing the new C/T access to utility monies? No, I was not.

The issue the council freely admits to: they approved claims outside of a town meeting. Indiana Code requires them to be removed from office. They have no one to blame but themselves, residents had warned them it was illegal.

We are asking, “Why?”

Why work so hard to keep the water utility monies secret, and risk your position to hide this?

Why spend thousands of taxpayers’ dollars defending a lawsuit to keep the newly elected C/T from doing her job, as per Indiana Code?

Why change the locks in the utility office? Ms. Hinsenkamp cannot open the door into said office unless another employee is present. Hiding something?

Why does the council think she works for them? She was elected by the people.

Ms. Hinsenkamp was my opponent in 2011. I am pleased to see her working so hard for the people of Seelyville. This hasn’t been easy. She has been publicly humiliated, verbally assaulted and has been told not to give financial information to the public. She has followed the law by supplying the information.

Every honest citizen of Seelyville stands by her in her fight for transparency and to shine a light on town activities.

We pray that the judges see that just “because it has been done this way for over 20 years” does not make it right, and find for Ms. Hinsenkamp.

— Wayne Langman

Seelyville

Be grateful for

what you have


It would be imprudent to identify the name of the “teaching assistant” who recently voiced her concern for having her hours reduced by the equivalent of 65 percent of one full workday each week.

Hey, lady, you’re working. I hope that the school system employing you will realize you have an unenlightened, selfish and negative attitude to impose on indefensible children. Prepare yourself, start interviewing and find a real full-time job you are qualified to pursue. You are being paid with tax dollars; and you propose the idle threat to choose not to pay taxes as a response to 5.75 lost hours?

Hey, kids, let’s learn how to blame and seek revenge, because preparing and working hard in response to a setback is for un-American chumps. Could your husband help the many single mothers in the area who work two jobs to provide for children? Hey kids, today’s new words are, “idiot and rip-off”; and we’ll learn how to use them out-of-context and in a run-on sentence.

If you wish not to pay income tax you must be self-employed, as your employer will deduct taxes from your earnings despite your antiquated, misguided attitude. The money value of the 5.75 lost hours subsidized from our taxes can now be spent on a person who is qualified, competent and grateful for what she/he has, and not for one who walks and talks a narrow-minded message.

The bottom line will be: you pay your bills and have health insurance, while many others truly struggle for assorted reasons. If you really want to feel good about this life, give your time, without pay, to any of the many causes helping those less blessed than you.

Our true character and value to society is never measured by what happens to us, but by how we respond and mature from those experiences. Good luck.

— Jim Camp

Terre Haute

Disturbed by

today’s problems


I read that you asked for reasons on why the readers love America and send the answers in to possibly be published. I love this country for all it has been in the past, providing me and others work, ways to better one’s self and freedom. It is very hard to be positive for me today on the way our country seems to be heading. Today’s paper really got me upset enough to write this letter.

“ACLU fights Evansville plan for public crosses” started it. This nation was founded to escape oppressions of different governments on religious freedom. God and the Ten Commandments are mentioned and carved in stone all over Washington, D.C. Now, centuries later, comes the ACLU wanting to change things. I understand they don’t want crosses in our national cemeteries where our soldiers are buried. The Ten Commandments are still in the high court courtrooms, which may well not please them.

While digesting the above, CBS broke into their morning show to announce that California could have same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court skated out on that by saying those who sued were not in the position to do it. They question if the states or the federal government has to recognize the union. My thought was would God recognize it? He is the Supreme Court that will judge me in the end. How do other nations view us on this issue?

Now, per today’s paper, Obama wants more regulations on carbon emissions to curb global warming. My question to him, Al Gore and others is: Please explain the “Ice Age” and then the melting of all that ice. Was it global warming caused by what man has done to the earth during that time or just a cycle in nature? Hint: Man was not there at the time.

Please go to Youtube.com and in the search at the top, type in “God Bless America Again” and listen to the Conway Twitty/Loretta Lynn version. If you love our country and don’t like some current problems in the news, it may be hard to keep a dry eye.

— David Marter

Terre Haute

Caring people

gave support


On Thursday, June 20, at 9 a.m., through no fault of my own, I was involved in a two-car accident at 13th and Poplar. Fortunately, two very kind and helpful young women, Shauna and Vicky, witnessed the accident. They could see I was terribly upset and kept asking if I was OK. Even though they would be late for work, both stayed with me the full time, and told the police officer what they had seen.

My daughter Carol also came to give me support. It was extremely calming to be surrounded by these loving, caring “angels.” I don’t know how I would have managed without the support of these two amazing people I had never seen before.

Thank you, Shauna and Vicky. And especially Carol.

— Mary Hood

Terre Haute