Letters to the editor (4/18/09)

Shell has long record of trouble

Mr. Slaiby paints a portrait of Shell as a "preferred operator" ("Shell's record shows protecting environment a top priority," April 6), a company dedicated to spill prevention, best practices, and understanding the concerns of locals.

Yet a visit to www.shelltruth.com reveals a troubled history in Barbados, Ecuador, Ireland, Nigeria, the North Sea, Louisiana, the Philippines, South Africa, Texas, and Sakhalin Island, Russia. Over 7,000 people representing 111 countries are decrying Shell and its treatment of the environment and local citizens.

Lawsuits were filed last year against Shell for routinely violating permitted emissions in Texas and in Nigeria, where Shell pipelines averaged five spills a week for years, rendering soil and water unusable for farming or fishing.

An auditor on Shell's Brent Bravo platform in the North Sea alerted his supervisors that gas leak tests were being routinely falsified so that production would not be slowed. He was reassigned. Four years later, in 2003, a massive gas blowout took the lives of two men on the same platform.

Bristol Bay is not Prince William Sound. Shell is not Exxon. But oil industry rhetoric is always environmental protection, best practices, jobs and shared prosperity. The reality, however, is too often shared environmental degradation and lost fisheries, with record profits for oil companies.

-- Dan Strickland


Center looks like big box store

The new Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center can be simply defined as a couple of entry ways, four walls, a roof, and a lot of windows. If this is the new world-class convention facility the facility managers claim it is, they are sadly mistaken. While I have no opinion of the upstairs where the walls, ceiling, and windows may hold more glamour, I can say the downstairs is built like an overpriced Costco or Sam's Club Warehouse without the merchandise. From my viewpoint it is nothing more than a new large box-store type facility.

-- Nate E. Morton III


Bad dogs; bad, bad dog owner

Recently while jogging on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail my wife and I had yet another unpleasant experience with uncontrolled animals belonging to irresponsible pet owners. A woman with two unleashed dogs walked along the trail and refused to control her animals or even pick up their waste. The scuffle between her uncontrolled dogs and my leashed dog nearly caused my wife to fall several times as this nuisance continued for over 100 yards. When confronted, the owner blurted obscenities at us and continued to let her dogs run loose and badger others.

Countless other pet owners continue to degrade the enjoyment of other trail users. Please control your pets as the trail head signs and MOA law clearly spell out. There are off-leash areas in Anchorage for the purposes of letting your dog run free.

-- Sherman Anderson


City homeless need better care

Anchorage is evolving into a first-class modern city with new buildings, roads, structural and exterior improvements peppering the landscape. Our city is clean and quiet compared with many others. The pace of Anchorage is comfortable, and it is a great place to raise a family.

But Anchorage is in need of some reforms that will add to our successes. One reform needed is the way we care for the city's homeless people.

We allow bands of homeless people to camp, mingle and congest along our highways, parks, downtown areas, etc. As their numbers continue to grow, the problems they create will continue to grow along with the cost to our community. Not just monetary but moral cost.

If a child witnesses this lack of human concern, they see their community as one that places little value on humanity. If a tourist witnesses it, it speaks volumes about our city. And if we residents see it, ignore it and become desensitized by it, we are saying to the world and our children that we care more about buildings than people. And as a result, our city shows more shame than beauty.

-- Kent Weltin


Don't treat Enstar as monopoly

Why would the state want to give a private corporation -- Enstar -- a monopoly to sell North Slope natural gas to Cook Inlet public utilities?

-- Jack Roderick