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Letters to the Editor

After reading Barbara Solow's article "Controlling Choice" [Sept. 27], I was sorry to see so little mention of the Environmental Federation of North Carolina's (EFNC) participation in the Triangle United Way campaign. The Environmental Federation is a fund-raising federation for 27 of the state's leading environmental nonprofits.

The Environmental Federation was instrumental in creating the agreement with the Triangle United Way that opened the door for other federations to join these campaigns. Discussions began because many Triangle area companies wanted to be able to offer an environmental choice in their employee giving campaigns, and United Way wanted to offer more giving options to donors.

The Environmental Federation offers Triangle area employees a chance to support environmental nonprofits that work to protect our state's natural resources. A healthy environment is critical to good public health, a high standard of living and a vibrant economy.

Your recent coverage of Triangle United Way's (not to mention CP&L's) efforts to control donor choice and exclude the NC Waste Awareness and Reduction Network (WARN) ended by saying that in fundraising campaigns, community groups must work "even when it's ostensibly open, to make sure that it really is open and that they're represented faithfully to the community."

Ironically, this is exactly what WARN and numerous local governments have asked of CP&L and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. CP&L claims WARN is a "lobbying group" but 501(c)3 nonprofits like WARN can expend only small amounts of time and money on lobbying, in contrast to CP&L, which lobbies heavily on their own and through other industry-related and front groups.

WARN's campaigns against polluters may embarrass CP&L, which was also the source of some of the PCBs now buried in a minority community in Warren County, and a prime advocate of the now-defunct eight-state "low level" nuclear waste dump planned for Wake County. But fighting pollution is definitely a public service.

Like the famous emperor Nero, CP&L fiddles with political manipulation while the NRC's official Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards warns repeatedly that underwater storage of nuclear waste fuel can release deadly radiation in about 10 more major ways than the NRC had been sort of looking at. None of these ways require a waste fire (previously believed by many to be the worst-case nuclear waste storage accident).

Because CP&L's plan involved the most waste, crammed as close together as possible, with the least cooling of any options CP&L considered, the risks reported by the ACRS could exceed 50 Chernobyls. Just think of the possibilities for charitable giving to any survivors in the Triangle if we have a waste accident that makes Chernobyl a minor footnote.

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