letters 88 NICE.
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Energy needs: The answer...
Sir, - Re "Punish polluters" (Editorial, September 30): Serious concern must be given to the government's policy of paying only lip-service to environmental protection. This is due partly to a complete and fundamental lack of understanding and misconceptions by both the politicians and the media.
We may be hi-tech in certain fields, but certainly not in the environmental one!
The special security panel drew up recommendations to respond to Kassam rocket attacks from Gaza (September 26). These included the stopping of the supply of mazut, described as a special diesel fuel for power plants. Mazut is heavy fuel oil , widely used worldwide to fire electricity-generating plants. No way could it be described as diesel fuel. Furthermore, your editorial stated that in heavy industry "crude oil is burned." This is not correct and is plain scaremongering.
Environmental Protection Minister Gideon Ezra, a former head of the Shin Bet and former public security minister, stated (September 28) that natural gas was the only viable solution to Israel's energy needs, even if it was more expensive than coal; but has he has done his homework?
There is a worldwide "Let's be green" fashion that has resulted in the price of natural gas rising at an exponential rate due to its consumption as the Green lobby ignores political and economic considerations and promotes its use. Minister Ezra knows full well that the cheapest sources of natural gas are currently located in unstable offshore Gaza (defined as hostile territory), as well as in Egypt, with which we have a cold peace. Both are capable of turning off the supply at the drop of a hat - certainly not viable as regards security of supply. While some of Israel's major power plants already operate on natural gas from Egypt, we appear to have unnecessarily ingratiated ourselves to them - and has anybody assessed the true political cost? Other major sources of nearby natural gas are the neighboring Arab countries in the region, which could act similarly.
It is time for us to be fully independent and use our own plentiful natural resources of oil shale, which can produce clean liquid fuel for less than the current world crude price of $81 a barrel. It is time to stop following world trends and address ourselves to our own unique situation.
In proposing new environmental laws, all Western countries have extended periods of consultation with local industry and set timetables for such laws to be effective. One cannot say "Punish polluters" when the law has no teeth.
COLIN L LECI
...and the problem
Sir, - It seems ironic that we are always "defending our borders," and yet not defending what is within them! Will we someday have a high concrete fence to "protect" the boundaries of the State of Israel from all the tall concrete condos, mountains of plastic bags and bottles, and pools of sewage waste and oil? Isn't it time to put some muscle into protecting what we are protecting - the Land of Israel?