Counterpoint: What's wrong with this picture?

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By The Staff

Recently, I read Marita Noon’s guest column, “What’s wrong with this picture?” (Monitor, May 14).  I had read several of her previous guest columns, most recently “Are we becoming energy socialists?” (Feb. 25) and “Developing our raw potential” (Feb. 5).

The articles advocate further exploitation and use of oil, gas, coal and uranium, along with development of energy bridges (e.g. tar sands) and renewables.

These columns wouldn’t make the Best Articles list of many of the organizations and religious institutions in our community. They certainly don’t square with the County’s Comprehensive Plan goal to Protect the Environment or with its efforts to promote environmental sustainability.

Marita Noon is the executive director of the Albuquerque-based Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE), an ironic acronym, I would say. Under the pen name of Marita Littauer, she has written 19 books on communications and Christian living.

Last fall, at the end of her articles, Noon described CARE as “a non-profit organization advocating for citizen rights to use energy as you see fit and as you can afford.”  

In February it evolved into “advocating citizen rights to abundant, available, and affordable energy.”  Now it is “advocating for citizen rights to energy freedom.”

Do we have rights to energy? Is that the freedom we aspire too? Do we have the right to consume nonrenewable resources today and leave humankind and the environment destitute tomorrow?

CARE is registered as a 501(c)(3) organization “devoted to educating the public about the need to guarantee our access to the affordable energy that drives our nation forward.”

CARE’s 2006 Form 990 shows $184,815 in contributions. I would guess that most of the funding for CARE comes from oil, gas, coal and uranium interests who were looking for a cheap and believable way to further exploit these resources while disregarding their responsibilities for the stewardship of this planet Earth.

An Internet search took me to the Center for Media and Democracy’s website, www.sourcewatch.org.

There I found that CARE was founded by Mark E. Mathis, its executive director, a former TV anchor, a radio talk show host and a consultant to the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico. A disclosure statement with an opinion column written by Mathis states, “Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy is funded by more than 250 members including New Mexico oil and gas producers.”

SourceWatch also noted, “A June 2008 post (at CARE) stated that veteran anti-environmentalist Ron Arnold had been ‘an integral part of CARE’s founding.’”

Ron Arnold is the executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise. In late 1991, Arnold stated to Toronto Star reporter Katherine Long, “Our goal is to destroy, to eradicate the environmental movement ... We’re mad as hell. We’re not going to take it anymore. We’re dead serious - we’re going to destroy them,” he said. “We want to be able to exploit the environment for private gain, absolutely ... and we want people to understand that is a noble goal,”

Last Thursday’s article concluded, “What’s wrong with this picture? Mount Taylor should remain usable for all citizens … That includes all Americans who deserve abundant, affordable and available energy.”

What’s wrong with this picture?  

Well, let’s just hope in the future the Monitor charges advertising fees for these “articles” and that readers will find them boxed in and with an identifier, “paid advertisement, supported by New Mexico oil and gas producers.”

Richard “Skip” Dunn  is a 35-year White Rock resident, is an educator and environmentalist who established the GreenWheels Center for Sustainable Transportation in 2005.  He walks, rides the bus, drives 245 mpg (equivalent) neighborhood electric vehicles to get around in the county and gets 74 mpg with his Honda Insight hybrid on out-of-town trips.