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Letters to the Editor: Desert dwellers, stop voting for politicians who favor big carbon footprints

A Joshua tree in a rockey landscape
The Joshua trees that help draw millions of visitors annually to Joshua Tree National Park are under increased stress because of climate change.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Kudos to columnist Steve Lopez for vividly describing the rapid deterioration of the desert, not only in Joshua Tree National Park, but also here in the Coachella Valley. As ecologist Jim Cornett says in Lopez’s article, we can all play a role through whom we vote into office.

Sadly, in the Coachella Valley, voters turn out for candidates who favor projects with big carbon footprints, such as a sports arena, a collection of surf parks, golf courses, music festivals and tourism in general. This results in high levels of pollution, sucks up precious water and is tragically shortsighted. The COVID-19 pandemic gave ample evidence of the folly of our one-trick economy.

We voters need to start acting locally if we hope to have any influence on global threats.

Dave Middleton, Rancho Mirage

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To the editor: Adjacent to the Joshua tree forest in Lee Flat that Lopez once visited is Conglomerate Mesa, which is 2,000 feet higher and covered with thriving mature, immature and nascent Joshua trees. It is under serious attack by gold miners, hoping to turn it into an open-pit cyanide heap leach gold mine.

At the mine, the gold “ore” would be dug out from a giant pit and hauled to a place where the miniscule amount of gold could be leached out with cyanide.

Conglomerate Mesa is roadless, inhabited only by the spirits of Native Americans who called it home. The mine and process used to extract the gold would destroy Conglomerate Mesa as a refuge for Joshua trees and an ancestral home to Native Americans — all so the mining company and perhaps its shareholders could get a little richer and Inyo County could gain a few jobs.

Unfortunately, this could happen under the current rules of public land management. It seems we cannot stop insulting ourselves.

Tom Budlong, Los Angeles


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