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  January/February 2003 Issue
Untracked Utah
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Bush Reviews
Despite the destruction that President Bush may have wrought on the American environment ("The Big Book of Bush," September/October 2002), I can’t help but wonder if we are missing the point. The conservative philosophy (in business) seems to be that each individual should be able to pursue that which they think will benefit them most. This might result in a lack of regulation, as noted in your critique, but it is still possible to push economic incentives for conservation. We should change our focus from ruling with the stick to using the carrot, promoting things like tax breaks for mass-transit systems, clean cars, and clean power. It may give us a voice with the president and create jobs in an ailing economy.
Corey Cavalier
Raleigh, North Carolina

I am terribly angered and grieved over the environmental ignorance, stupidity, arrogance, and insensitivity of the Bush administration, which is by far the worst in my lifetime by every environmental criterion. Whereas Reagan was merely inattentive and uninformed, Bush-Cheney and company are diabolically and willfully destructive of every American concept of environmental values.
Roger P. Hansen
Gig Harbor, Washington

One of Us?
Arianna Huffington in Sierra ("What Are They Thinking in Washington?" September/October 2002)? Have I been missing something in the development of environmental tactics? Will Shirley MacLaine appear with an essay on talking to trees?
Joe Illick
San Francisco, California

Hung Out to Dry
I was disheartened to see Sierra canonize people who use the clothesline—"The saints among us line-dry every load" ("The Hidden Life of Laundry," September/October 2002). At least in some parts of New England, where we still take the values of thrift and conservation seriously, it is the responsible citizen who hangs out, not just environmental zealots. Most people don’t even know anymore that clothes will dry quickly on a clear, sub-zero winter’s day. Betty’s Book of Laundry Secrets and The Clothesline are fabulous resources for those who are interested in the hidden life of laundry. Join me in celebrating National Hanging Out Day on April 19 and put the fun back in doing the right thing.
Alexander Lee
Executive Director, Project Laundry List
South Royalton, Vermont

Editor’s note: One reader asked why "The Hidden Life of Laundry" didn’t mention reusable laundry discs, which purportedly eliminate the need for detergent. As it turns out, the science behind these discs is badly soiled. In 1999 the Federal Trade Commission issued a consumer alert stating that laundry discs "do little more than clean out your wallet."

On The Web
The Professional Wetcleaners Network, one of the groups we mentioned in "The Hidden Life of Laundry" no longer uses the Web address listed in that article. You can contact them by e-mail at instead. Greenpeace also provides a nationwide list of stores using nontoxic wet-cleaning processes at

No Place Like Home
In her review of my book Edward Abbey and Jack Loeffler’s Adventures With Ed ("Mixed Media," September/October 2002), Sunamita Lim claims that my account of Abbey’s life runs "from Abbey’s birth in Home, Pennsylvania, to his last years in Oracle, Arizona." But Abbey was not born in Home (though he grew up near there), and he never lived in Oracle (though he kept a postal box there). As I make clear in my book, these were two parts of Abbey’s powerful, self-created mythology. Of Loeffler’s book, Lim writes, "in 1959, Abbey, Loeffler, and two friends became a chainsaw gang" by cutting down billboards. Yet Loeffler did not meet Abbey until after reading Desert Solitaire in 1969.
James M. Cahalan
Indiana, Pennsylvania

In the September/October 2002 issue ("Ten Reasons to Take a Friend to the Polls"), we praised the Arctic wilderness bill introduced by Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), but failed to mention a parallel bill in the House introduced by representatives Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.). In the same issue, in "The Big Book of Bush" we stated that the administration "reassigned 40 percent of the EPA staff that enforces criminal violations of environmental law to non-environmental security work." Although the reassignments were indeed made, they were temporary and were linked to concerns about terrorism involving hazardous waste and contaminated drinking water.

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Sierra welcomes letters from readers in response to recently published articles. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Write to us at 85 Second St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105-3441; fax (415) 977-5794; e-mail

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