Letters

Scaling Green Mountain, Where Credit's Due, Horse-Whipped

Scaling Green Mountain

Aw, shucks: Have read and enjoyed the Press for eons now, consider you the finest paper on the planet, and have a serious addiction to your intelligent and penetrating reportage. Now that I've said that, here comes the hammer.

So Green Mountain has made a high-profile commitment to offer renewable energy to Texas, which is not known as a haven of environmental consciousness ["Red Light, Green Light," by Melissa Hung, June 7]. And you spend several paragraphs on its connection, now apparently severed, to some Republican billionaire (Texas wouldn't be Texas without our rich right-wing nuts, God bless 'em), discuss the hazards of biomass (which they're not offering here) and offer some vaguely dire speculations about the disasters that could possibly occur if Green Mountain is permitted to continue, seein' as how Big Oil has given them money and all.

Geez, guys, can't you give 'em a chance to screw up before you nail their hides to the barn door?

I was first in line to sign up for Green Mountain; someone has to make the initial commitment to renewable energy, and I am thrilled that in this good-fer-bidness state someone has the vision, drive and resources to make it happen. Is Green Mountain a scam? I doubt it, but betcha the next one won't be; the legions of Texans who've been waiting too long for clean electricity won't just go quietly.

L. A. Johnson
Houston

Good neighbor: As one of the founders and activists of the Save Our Springs Coalition, I offer the following input on one small -- but very important -- aspect of Green Mountain's activities: its choice of office location in the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer region.

Green Mountain sought me out and asked (paraphrasing), "What can we do to soften our footprint on the aquifer?" No individual or company had ever asked me that. Several of us quickly came up with a menu of options, expecting the company to choose one or two items. Chief environmental officer Tom Rawls said, "We'll do all that, and we want to work with you on an ongoing basis to create a model for other companies in our situation to follow."

Green Mountain, in its dealings with me, has made good on its word and continues to be proactive regarding the conservation of the aquifer. It has demonstrated a meaningful commitment to do the right thing vis-à-vis "living lightly" on the aquifer.

I'm glad to know about www.houstonpress.com. Keep up the good work.

George Cofer
Austin

Electric prose:Melissa Hung has written an excellent, accurate and Pulitzer- worthy story on Green Mountain Energy and the right-to-choose issue in Texas. I am confident in her accuracy because I spent a considerable amount of time looking into the charges leveled against GME by the boycott group.

Thanks for providing the public with this stellar example of the most important type of journalism there is. More articles on energy efficiency and smart growth would be welcome!

Marie Gibbens Ristroph
Pinehurst

Where Credit's Due

College credentials:Your article is interesting ["Credit Check," by Jennifer Mathieu, June 7], but you haven't done much sampling of the qualifications of the teachers involved. I think that most teachers are quite familiar with the standards of college courses, having been there themselves. However, high schools do create constraints upon anything called college-level. We deal with this by allowing only the best students into the classes in the first place. Nevertheless, in my own courses the attrition rate is about 50 percent from the beginning of the junior year to the end of the senior one.

Personally, I would welcome some leadership from the college and my own district that would allow consensus among all of the teachers, both college and high school. When you think about it, we are no different from any other adjunct faculty when it comes to our qualifications; the difficulty is that the adjustments that must be made to fit college into the high school are typically left up to the individual teacher. College teachers are often quite independent-minded and might welcome such freedom. Nevertheless, for the sake of the students as well as the institutions involved, some sort of liaison is necessary.

Thank you for calling attention to this issue. I have often been pleased that the Houston Press offers thought-provoking journalism.

Stuart Appleton
Nimitz High School
Houston

Money-minded:Your article shed a great deal of light on the topic. In the fall, dual credit courses will be offered at each of our Clear Lake-area high schools, and I and other teachers there are concerned that the students will be "given" passing grades because the district as well as the colleges want this program to succeed. I have taught school long enough to know that districts don't do joint efforts such as this without receiving some sort of benefit for themselves.

Your article helped me to determine who is getting the greatest financial benefit from such a program, and it certainly isn't the student.

It is inconceivable to think that my 16- to 18-year-old students are anywhere near ready for college-level work. You can hardly get them to turn in a homework assignment or study for a test. I think this is going to be one experiment that is going to fail -- not only the student but also the workforce in general.

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