Savana Phillips

student, William Chrisman High School

To the editor:

The definition of “loyalty” is the quality of being loyal to someone or something. Loyalty is what Coach Thompson has for the William Chrisman girls’ basketball team. She has put so much time into every single practice, game, shoot-around and workout, whatever it takes to make each girl basketball player a better athlete and physically, emotionally and mentally stronger. That is our team motto. Being Teamstrong means working together as a family and also being strong and encouraging to your teammates. And that is what Coach Thompson has taught us.

Coach Thompson has taught us things that we never thought we could do ourselves. She made us believe in ourselves and in our teammates. She made us believe we could reach our dreams and do anything that we wanted to. Also, she made sure we were all A-plus students in basketball IQ. She was always asking if we’ve watched the basketball game that was on last night, or if we’ve watched film, always working her hardest and bending over backward to make every girl the best basketball player she could be. Coach Thompson knew how well we could play. If she saw we weren’t pushing ourselves hard enough, she would make us.

She is also like a second mom to us all. She has that motherly nature sometimes. You can never get anything past her. She always knows what to do and say when you’re having a rough day. She knows how to provide just the right comfort at the right time.

This probably won’t change anything, but we all felt like something needed to be said because we don’t feel like it’s fair. Coach Thompson has put so much heart and soul into this program. She will always mean something to us. No one will ever be able to replace her or the relationships that she has built with each player. I really don’t know why she will not be coaching next year. I really don’t need to know. It’s none of my business. But in my opinion, this is a really big mistake. There are so many hearts that are being broken from past players, current players and soon-to-be players. So many tears have been shed.

Stand up in the

new energy battle

Keryn Newman

West Virginia

member of Block Grain Belt Express, based in Kingston, Mo.

To the editor:

The first battle of America’s Energy War was fought by Minnesota farmers against a coal-fired, high-voltage transmission line in the 1970s. Now the second battle of the war is well under way in the Midwest, pitting farmers against foreign investors who want to take the most fruitful farmland in the world out of production so they can build a gigantic extension cord from the windy plains to Eastern cities.

But this battle isn’t just about one power line. The war is about America’s energy future. Will we embrace rapidly developing technology that transforms electricity consumers to sustainable energy producers? Or will we continue in slavery to century-old centralized generation that requires long-distance transmission, and the sacrifice of one segment of our society to the needs of another?

Clean Line Energy Partners, based in Houston, is developing five high-voltage transmission projects, involving more than 3,000 miles of new towers, wire, and clear-cut right of way, with an $8 billion price tag. The company claims it will provide “low-cost clean energy” across the country, generated by industrial-scale wind farms, if only state utility commissions and the U.S. Department of Energy will allow it to take others’ properties, for its own financial gain.

Clean Line’s projects are privately funded, speculative ventures. They should not be confused with new transmission projects ordered by regional grid planners for reliability or economic reasons.

The company would have the public believe these projects are needed. They are not. The purpose of these projects is to generate a financial return for their investors. The lines are being marketed to appeal to urban residents concerned about cutting greenhouse gases, claiming the electricity carried on the lines will be “clean.”

But Clean Line neglects to mention that it can’t guarantee delivery of “clean” electricity. It doesn’t tell potential customers that federal regulations require transmission lines to be “open access,” made available to carry electricity from all fuel sources, including electricity produced from fossil fuels.

Thousands of landowners, including many family-owned farm businesses, lie between Clean Line’s intended power source and the consumers it is targeting on the East Coast. Being offered “fair market value” for one’s land is not a choice if Clean Line can threaten the use of eminent domain should a farmer decline to sell. It is coercion.

Prime farmland is a finite resource that also serves a fundamental public need, providing food for all of our society. Once farmland is taken out of production, it’s lost forever.

Adding insult to injury, these lines will be obsolete as soon as they’re built. A sea change is taking place in the utility world. Consumers are becoming producers, making their own investments in rooftop solar systems and other on-site or local sustainable generation. Americans are no longer simply consumers of what large utilities want to sell; increasingly they demand both choice and control. Clean Line and other long-distance renewable energy transmission projects are a wrongful attempt to apply yesterday’s technology to today’s energy reality.

Clean Line may tout its projects as “renewable,” but there’s nothing sustainable about them. This second energy battle is going to be epic, but ultimately, sustainable energy choices must prevail.