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Mailbag: Saving the Earth hardly starts with fire pits

April 10, 2013

Melville tells us in the opening lines of "Moby Dick:"

"Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries — stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region."

He speaks to the magic of the sea. Add the magic of a bonfire and you understand why fire rings are needed for one's deepest reveries.

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The beaches are forever public and not the front yards of those privileged beachfront dwellers. If they really care about air quality, then let's start with the big factories that belch tons of coal and petroleum carbon emissions into our atmosphere.

On a list of the world's 50 most serious offenders, bonfires would be near the bottom. After all, bonfires have been around since the caveman, but Mother Earth never had air quality problems until the Industrial Age arrived.

Richard Reinbolt

Huntington Beach

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Environmental bureaucrats and their agenda

According to Chris Epting's In The Pipeline column, "Something fishy going on with fire ring ban," April 4, he learned the hard way what the Air Quality Management District is really all about. Those green, environmentally friendly shoes pinch when you have to wear them in your own town.

The AQMD hardliners were known this winter as the "fireplace" police — not the fire ring cops. To refresh your memory, a few months ago when most of us were enjoying the warmth of a fire in our homes on a cold winter's evening, the killjoys at the AQMD made the media rounds to warn us all that it was illegal to pollute the air with fireplace smoke. It's little wonder that outdoor fire rings are next in their environmental crosshairs.

If Epting thinks the AQMD is an unelected dictatorship, go to Sacramento and attend a California Air Resources Board meeting. These are the bureaucrats who, since 2006, have been openly at war with the California trucking industry (diesel trucks fill the air with harmful pollutants labeled "particulate matter" — sound familiar?), gas refineries, electrical generating plants, cement manufacturers, dairy farmers, wineries and even with some University of California college campuses that generate their own power.

To control all manner of particulate pollution, the CARB bureaucrats instituted a scheme of quarterly carbon credit auctions that Congress rejected in 2009. It's called "cap and trade." Paying no heed to our national government, Sacramento instituted a cap-and-trade program in California.

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