In reference to Mr. Walsh's letter (SEAC resorts to crystal ball theories, Sept. 11), I don't need a crystal ball to see the misinformation put out by proponents of the telescopes on Mt. Graham. Both he and astronomy senior Guy McArthur have seemed to have conveniently forgotten a few facts about this issue:
Fact 1 Ÿ In the 1980's a group of 20 institutions ranked Mt. Graham 38th on a list of 50 potential telescope sites in North America (the UA itself announced it used faulty equipment for site testing).
Fact 2 Ÿ Two courts have ruled that the UA's jump out of their congressional-mandated original site (which they obtained through EXEMPTION from environmental laws Ÿ not compliance to them) was ILLEGAL.
Fact 3 Ÿ The midden maps from last year, and the year before that, and the year before that (since the area was mapped) for this illegal site show ACTIVE squirrel middens. There are often more active middens, in the new illegal area than around the original site. But if you look at the maps you will see that instead of studying a 300 meter diameter around the new site, they only study a half circle; effectively not counting half of what is there. Revisionist statistics?
Fact 4 Ÿ Kolbe would exempt the UA from not only the Endangered Species Act but also the National Historic Preservation Act, the Native American Religious Freedom Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Arizona-Idaho Conservation Act Ÿ the UA's own bought-and-paid-for law.
If the UA followed the law in 1988 they would HAVE telescopes, perhaps on Mt. Graham, perhaps somewhere else. Now, in the face of a court order, they would rather call in their own personal congressman and slip around the law once again. You know the saying, "Invest in America, buy a congressman." And Mr. Walsh, if the monitoring program is so good, why haven't they published any academic papers? I don't need a crystal ball to see why.
James B. Leonard
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