Cover, February 20: “Here Comes the Sun”

Thanks Bunches

This was an excellent article with a good balance of info/facts and interviews/viewpoints/opinions/analyses. The energy bills roundup box updated me on key bills before our Legislature, enabling me to weigh in with my representatives. And it gave me a sense of play as I consider installing solar power at our residence and on the larger picture of climate change and our state.

Brian Goldbeck
Santa Fe

Think Again

In the 1990s, I was a process engineer in diffusion at Motorola Inc. in Phoenix. We made diodes and rectifiers, the simplest type of semiconductor circuit. We doped boron trichloride (BCl3) and phosphine into silicon, the same way chips for solar panels are made today. Trichloroethane and hydrofluoric acid were used to clean the wafers, and we inadvertently contaminated the groundwater too.

The city permit for our air emissions was up for renewal. The process was so toxic, I would not sign it. … Today the factory is a superfund site.
The part inside a solar panel that makes electricity cannot be recycled. When the process is complete, the boron, phosphorus and silicon are molecularly one solid. I suspect if you check, the semiconductor inside a solar panel you have was not manufactured in the US. It was likely manufactured in a country with lax environmental regulations.

In a few words, fracking and drilling for oil are disgustingly bad for the environment. Remember the three R's: reduce, reuse and recycle. If you want to do good for the environment, reduce the amount of electricity you use. It doesn't matter where it comes from. There is always a price to pay.

Daniel Stih
Santa Fe

News, February 20: “Out of the Box”

Interpret It

Thank you for your recent article on the Los Alamos Gun Show and current legislation proposed in the state [Legislature]. Many modern countries have strict gun control such as Australia, Japan, Singapore and Canada. Others such as the UK ban them outright (even for many police officers). These are hardly totalitarian regimes with a cowed and obedient populace, though they do have the lowest rates of gun violence in the world, far lower than ours.

We should consider the Second Amendment equal to all others in our Constitution, open to interpretation, revision and local regulation. It is neither more or less important than all others. Weapons manufacturing and sales is a multi-billion dollar per year industry and like all industries should be regulated and restricted for the health and safety of this nation's citizens. Perhaps then all the senseless gun murders we see and read about daily might become a thing of past.

Scott Shuker
Santa Fe