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Original Issue


"The Rockies May Crumble..." (SCORECARD, July 30) is a catchy appraisal of President Carter's synthetic-fuels program, but I suggest that it exaggerates the environmental risks implied. That the Rockies will be leveled is less jest than nonsense.

None but the immature or the professional daredevil deliberately seeks risk, but some risk cannot be avoided. We must move ahead to utilize available resources and proven technology—our coal and nuclear capabilities are present examples. We know more about the hazards of such energy, and how to handle those hazards, than we did about oil when we first began to use that fuel a century ago. But it seems even minimal risk is unacceptable today.

Zealous pursuit of a risk-free society—panic flight from any risk-taking at all—points the way to absurdity. Common sense and reason must prevail. Common sense and reason can provide an environmental and energy balance that puts risk in perspective—that again makes it America's ally rather than America's enemy.
General Motors Corporation

Your editorial raises serious issues related to the environment and to energy development that were not fully developed in the President's talk. It is useful to be raising these questions now.

The American public must ultimately decide what risks it is willing to accept in achieving any of its goals, including those in the energy realm. Through its elected representatives, the public must insist that adequate safeguards be a part of any program that seeks to speed up energy development. This includes the ultimate safeguard: the rule of law, not of men.

On the other hand, SI makes no mention of the risks involved in having too little energy. Since SI comes at the problem from an essentially middle-class perspective, this is not surprising. Members of the urban middle class would have little difficulty conserving a large part of the energy they now consume so lavishly. The same is not true of the urban poor, whose goals include achieving better standards of living, not stretching what little they have still further. They don't see conservation as the way out of their predicament.

President Carter's 1977 energy message made conservation its keystone. Congress savaged that program, which led in part to the dilemma we now face. His recent message recognized the realities of supply and demand and attempted to deal with them constructively. Congress—and SI—should do the same.
Manager, Communications Resources
Atlantic Richfield Company
Los Angeles

Approximately 245 of my neighbors have had their wells contaminated—perhaps permanently—by toxic chemicals that were dumped in the area some years ago. We New Englanders pride ourselves on the quality of our water. The health hazard to these people is sizable; two of the chemicals, benzene and toluene, are believed to be carcinogenic at certain levels. Without potable water the property value of a home is zero.

The point is, President Carter's emphasis on synthetic fuels drastically threatens the one resource the Western states have precious little of—water. The tremendous quantities of water needed in the fuel-conversion process and the problem of disposing of the sludge and toxic chemical by-products of that process should be of grave concern to all of us.

But of more concern is the President's lack of concern. Without environmental safeguards, our water and our future are in deep trouble. My congratulations to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED for its forthright stand.
Lunenburg, Mass.

I am from Colorado. My wife is from Wyoming. We now live in Montana. I have traveled extensively in Utah.

Big business and big government had better be ready for a war with the people of the Rocky Mountain region because we will not allow the East and West coasts to sacrifice our states so that they may continue their obscene waste of our precious resources.
Lame Deer, Mont.

You should be commended for pointing out the environmental dangers involved in the new energy policy proposed by President Carter. We have reached a sad state if we are willing to scar much of our most beautiful land and threaten our own health in order to obtain just another finite energy source.
Clarksville, Ind.

In regard to J.D. Reed's article, Tea Party Brewing in the NASL (Aug. 6), I must agree that, on the whole, American soccer is still not on a par with that played in foreign countries. But I think that Ricky Davis was given far less respect than he deserves in the article. Anyone who watched the Cosmos-Aztecs game played in the Rose Bowl on Aug. 1 saw Davis score two goals, the second one coming on a magnificent scissors kick that Colin Boulton (1.22 goals-against average for the Aztecs) never even saw until it was in the net.
Sciota, Pa.

I think American soccer players like Nick Owcharuk, Ricky Davis, Bobby Smith and Kyle Rote Jr. should be more patient. Without Pelè and other foreign superstars, the NASL would not be where it is today. In the end, the foreign players are the main attraction. Give it some more time, Americans. Our day will come.
Morris Plains, N.J.

After viewing the movie Breaking Away, I left the theater mesmerized by the film's beauty and message. Later, during my habitual late-Friday, early-Saturday reading of SI, I was delighted by Frank Deford's review (MOVIES, Aug. 6). Deford captured the essence of the film as perfectly as the film captured the essence of America. Not only should Bobby Knight, Billy Martin, et al. see the film, but why not take Deford's suggestion one step further and persuade the networks to show it simultaneously during prime time? The American "Crisis in Confidence" would do art immediate about-face. Breaking Away is a tribute to America; Deford's review is a tribute to the film.
Overland Park, Kans.

Terry Todd's article on Larry Pacifico (Long Lift the King, Aug. 6) was one of the finest to appear in any magazine on the subject of powerlifting. Because he is a former world champion, Todd brings special insight and understanding to his description of the life and lifting of the King. Having witnessed the lifting of Pacifico, I know that his great strength is exceeded only by his determination and grace under pressure.
Raleigh, N.C.

Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center. New York, New York. 10020.