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Proposed Energy Legislation Is Timely - but Will Alternative

According to the Reuters article "New Energy Policy on the Horizon," March 17, Congress has finally decided to pass energy legislation by the end of this year. Although this will be no panacea for our energy-related problems, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, while Congress deliberates over a new energy policy to ease dependency on foreign oil and reduce environmental degradation, companies already addressing those areas are filing for bankruptcy. According to the Opinion page article "Unbind Solar Energy From Washington's Red Tape," March 12, LUZ International Ltd., a solar-power corporation, just can't compete as an alternative supplier of energy. Nuclear-power companies receive massive federal subsidies and the oil and gas industries enjoy t remendous tax benefits, while alternative-energy suppliers find themselves choked by red tape.

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If, as the Reuters article states, Congress really wants to take "dramatic steps to boost its energy security," it is about time they refocus their efforts. The most complete energy policy in history won't do a bit of good until the United States begins to support companies that have a positive effect on our environment.

A new energy policy is desperately needed, but so are government incentives and support for those men and women who already hold the key to safe, efficient, and economical energy alternatives. If this means getting rid of those political leaders whose first loyalties are to the industries, as the author of the Opinion page article suggests, so be it. Eric Martin, S. Hero, Vt. Ukraine is not to blame

The editorial "The Feisty Ukraine," March 24, describes the tensions between Russia and Ukraine and puts the blame on the latter. The blame should be on Russia.

Having suffered the world's worst nuclear disaster, Ukraine declared its desire to become a nuclear-free nation. It has agreed that the nuclear arsenal on its territory be transported to Russia for destruction there.

However, when it became apparent that some of that arsenal is being stockpiled in Russia, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk temporarily suspended the shipments, asking for international supervision of the destruction process.

For more than 300 years, Ukrainian people and their land have been systematically exploited by the Russian czarist empire, and Ukrainian culture destroyed. During the last 70 years, the genocidal policies of the Russian communist empire led to the death by starvation of some 7 million Ukrainian peasants during the forced collectivization in 1932-33 and its accompanying artificially created famine.

The worst-case scenario for Ukraine is to see the ugly spirit of Russian imperialism come to the fore again, this time with nuclear arms at its disposal. Roman Tratch, Rochester, N.Y. Book clubs as cultural bridges

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The author of the Learning page article "Book Clubs Abound," March 17, shows how such groups can provide a newcomer with intellectual stimulation as well as help one find friends when moving to a different area. That was the case when I married a Canadian and first moved to Calgary, Alberta, and then to British Columbia. The small groups of like-minded people have provided a wonderful bridge to the culture in my new country. Kardyne Steacy, Balfour, B.C.

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