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Deming art teacher Jesse Kriegel paints murals of the ancient Mimbres people

Seeking the Wave
The Paria Canyon - Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness — spectacular beauty, but at a cost

Forest Firestorm
Debating the Forest Service's new Travel Management rules

A Dangerous Point
Exploring the Point of Rocks, along the perilous Jornada del Muerto

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Wind, Sculpture & Schoolkids

Our readers write.



Mighty Wind?

Your "Powerful Blows" story on wind energy (July 2014) was accurate, entertaining and informative, but I wish you had been slightly more skeptical.

For starters, your map showing presently installed New Mexico wind farms should be contrasted with a map showing actually available wind resources, such as [this one]. As I wrote in Desert Exposure for July 2009 ("Nauru and New Mexico"), New Mexico has a considerable wind resource along its eastern edge, near the Texas Panhandle, but the wind farm you show in Luna County apparently is built in a more or less dead zone for commercial-grade wind. What mystifies an engineer might be explained by a tax attorney.

Your picture caption gives the theoretical maximum wattage of some wind turbines, but I've never seen any monthly or annual production figures published. It's the watt-hours of energy that count, not the wattage. It's the same game with algae biofuel gallons produced figures from the taxpayer-supported fuel plant near the border. These outfits always mention their hoped-for pie-in-the-sky maximums, but leave taxpayer-investors guessing as to actual results.

Let's also mourn the dreadful loss of scenery which will result from running 240-mile and 500-mile extension cords on 300-foot towers, blocking the views of some beautiful mountains. I believe that our fast-disappearing scenic vistas generate more economic activity than any future power transmission line ever will. The power line issue is really a rural versus urban vote situation. Unfortunately, the power-hungry urbanites have us outnumbered, and don't mind trashing our nest.

This whole sorry plan of monster windmills linked by monster power lines is so completely unnecessary! The march of technology has now made it economical for each individual house to generate what electricity it needs right at home, using small-scale photovoltaics, without giant windmills or dangerous power lines. Distributed generation is the next big wave in the energy picture, but meanwhile we are leaving behind some huge eyesores as monuments to our folly.

Joel Chinkes

Luna County



I really enjoyed your article about wind energy in New Mexico, but there's a few issues that are important that you overlooked. The wind can be quite episodic, leading to the need for some sort of bridging power when the sky is calm. Once in operation the carbon balance of a wind plant may be quite low, but it isn't zero. It takes lots of steel, composites, cement and copper to construct a wind farm and lots of construction and delivery inputs, intensely carbon based; these at least at present require large consumption of fossil fuels. Alternative energy may, in the long run, only slow down humanity's altering the climate. As new, lower-carbon modes of energy production become available, and the attendant urge for an increasing population to enjoy a decent life with its attendant upscaling of material wealth… Well, you can easily connect the dots here!

H. Marsden

Silver City




Taste of Home

I enjoyed Vivian Savitt's Southwest Gardener piece in the July issue of Desert Exposure, on the artists Jeffrey Smith and Carlene Roters, especially Jeff's un-garden. I know Jeff's home well, as I'm his sister and I attended Silver High School and WNMU whilst my parents were building their passive-solar adobe home back in the early 1980s. The view of the Burro Mountains from the lower patio at our parents' house and the clear starry night sky are two of my favorite memories. I now live near London and while it has its attractions and the English countryside is gently beautiful, it has none of the austere beauty of the Gila and surrounding area. I can't wait until my next return visit to see what new creations Jeff has added to his Totems.

Teal Martin

via email




Education Across the Border

Marjorie Lilly's Borderlines column is one of the first that I read. Her field observations are always insightful and reflect her knowledge of the border area.

Phoebe Watson was Mayor of Columbus when I moved here in the early 1990s, and I was and still am in total agreement with her philosophy (July). How can any thinking human being deny a child education? Unfortunately, new Village trustees at that time, some of whom were not native to this area, decided that since the parents of these children were not taxpayers, the practice of allowing Mexican children to get an education in the United States was halted, with some young people only months away from a high school diploma. I suppose the reasoning must be that if we keep people down, we can exploit them better.

Ignored were the protests of people in favor of education who stated that the Mexicans at that time often purchased farm equipment in the US that can cost tens of thousands of dollars. They also purchased their children's clothing and school supplies in the US and brought an influx of income into our economy, not to mention goodwill.

Fast forward to the children today who are making a dangerous trek through Mexico to get to our borders and find their parents. Some humanitarian aid is offered, but it is awful to think that these children may be deported back to a deplorable situation where their lives are in danger and they have no hope. To add insult to injury, we have put a "Berlin Wall" on our border, which to me is a shameful thing, and which most Mexicans find hurtful and insulting. As Marjorie noted, especially in border communities, many people have relatives on both sides of the border.

I then reflect on how the original inhabitants of this continent must have felt when they were overrun by greedy people who kept pushing them back farther and farther as we took all their land from them — not even wanting to "share," we had to have it all. To that end, many trails of tears and other atrocities. Put up the wall, close the door. Nobody else can come in. Yet our very meddling in foreign affairs has caused a lot of the problem, and our insatiable demand for drugs has caused the rest of it.

Obama seems to promote global cooperation only as long as the US is "number one." We have turned into a police state and our lack of humanity is evident in our actions.

Maya nolastname

via email



Let us hear from you! Write Desert Exposure Letters, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, or email letters@desertexposure.com. Letters are subject to editing for style and length (maximum 500 words, please), and must be in response to content that has appeared in our pages. Deadline for the next issue is the 18th of the month.



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