Readers Write

GOVERNMENT

While state agencies having to reduce spending by an additional 25 percent is challenging, and probably difficult to implement, it is encouraging that our Georgia government is willing to take the same steps that we as individuals have had to take, rather than just raise taxes.

Jim Parkman, Cumming

ENVIRONMENT

Responses to "Tree-saving plan has credibility questions." AJC online, May 24.

Forest program worthy

I think the article took something of a cheap shot at the Keeping Forests in Forests program that has been proposed as a way of keeping carbon sequestration dollars in Georgia. Organizations like the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy appear to oppose this effort just because Power4Georgians thought of it first in connection with their proposed Plant Washington, and the likely event that some carbon cap and trade program would be mandated by Congress.

The science of the issue has been well thrashed out by forestry experts from both the University of Georgia and Duke University. The potential for providing some economic benefits to Georgia timber owners is certainly there at a time when almost all sections of the national economy are struggling. The program would also be voluntary. What's not to like about it?

William Hovey Smith, Sandersville

Research shows results

The writer ignores the fact that Keeping Forests in Forests is based on the sound science of programs at Duke University and the University of Georgia. Research conducted at those institutions is among the most advanced in the world, and shows that pine trees are extremely effective in sequestering carbon, and forests are a viable answer to climate change. It's putting an existing system to work to offset a greenhouse gas. You don't have to pump carbon into caverns or into the oceans, or worry about the uncertainties of those sequestration methods.

I find it ironic that program critics quoted in the article have been silent on other carbon programs, many of which have no science behind them. The results of our program will be verified by an independent third party, with outcomes made available to participating electric customers, so they may see how their contributions are helping preserve Georgia's natural resources. I challenge the critics of Keeping Forests in Forests to show comparable science or accountability in other carbon sequestration programs.

Dean Alford, Power4Georgians

Preserve resources

Providing landowners with monetary incentives to practice sustainable forestry will help preserve one of Georgia's most valuable resources: its forests. If we lose these forests to development, one of the greatest carbon sequestration sources will be lost. The importance of Georgia's managed forests and the carbon bank they represent cannot be ignored.

I agree with some of the points of dissension about the Power4Georgians program but a managed forest, if managed in accordance with accepted managed forest protocol for carbon offset projects, is environmentally and scientifically sound.

As an offset aggregator of managed forest carbon sequestration projects that follow the protocols established by the Chicago Climate Exchange, we are working diligently to ensure sustainable forestry in Georgia and the Southeast will be a major player in upcoming environmental, and cap and trade programs.

John Ramey, Valley Wood Inc.

Standards are valid

Keeping Forests in Forests should be applauded for developing a way to help fund forest conservation. Each day a forest grows, it removes carbon from the atmosphere. Privately owned forests, like those in this program, help maintain clean air and water, biodiversity and other benefits. These working tree farms are struggling to break even because of declining values for timber products. Many owners are selling or developing their land. The AJC chose to take a negative view of this program, which is using a similar approach to the standards for the Chicago Climate Exchange. There are various "protocols," or standards, for these projects and the more stringent standards fail to entice forest carbon sequestration and forest conservation in any significant amount. The AJC recently stated the "Keeping Forests project does not even follow the Georgia protocol." The current Georgia protocol is voluntary, and currently under revision. Keeping Forests simply used other standards. I also suspect that their forests will grow and provide ecosystem services many years into the future.

Nathan McClure, Georgia Forestry Commission

POLITICS

Give talk radio a chance

Thank you for publishing Mary Grabar's defense of talk radio, ("We need insights, wit from Limbaugh," Opinion, June 2). She speaks for the millions of us conservatives, moderates, independents and even some liberals who listen every day and are informed, entertained, inspired and engaged by the energetic public discourse. She mentions my favorite, Dennis Prager, who prefers "clarity over agreement" and talks about everything under the sun.

Keep an open mind and listen for a while, instead of dismissing the entire medium — because after all, it's just hate talk, isn't it?

Becky Orrison, Atlanta

ELECTIONS

Handel needs to change

I was dismayed to see that Secretary of State Karen Handel is still defiant about criticism of her woefully defective screening techniques for voters ("Feds rip Georgia voter system," News, June 2). Where does this attitude come from? A 50 percent error rate is not acceptable when it affects voting rights. If Handel thinks it is justifiable to unnecessarily hamper, and perhaps disenfranchise, thousands of otherwise qualified voters so that she can rest assured that not one illegal vote was cast, then she needs to re-examine her priorities. It is not too much to expect that her office be effective in doing its job without disenfranchising those entitled to vote.

Riccarda Heising, Atlanta