The story “Shining a new light on LNG” (news, 11/30/2006) published in the Nov. 30 issue is terribly misleading. Instead of engaging in actual reporting, your reporter rehashes an already misleading story first run in the Malibu Surfside News, and written by a reporter at that publication who is on the public record for his personal opposition to Cabrillo Port.

Contrary to your story’s implication, BHP Billiton has worked closely with state and federal regulators to reduce the environmental impact of the Cabrillo Port project. Your reporting suggests that our efforts to work with regulators has been based on incomplete information and therefore is somehow irrelevant.  You couldn’t be more wrong. We have spent over three years working with regulators and their independent environmental review contractor to provide them with the data they need to work to ensure that Cabrillo Port is as environmentally sound as possible. In response, we have engineered Cabrillo Port to be a model of environmental responsibility. The notion that we can “massage” the data or not completely submit to this exhaustive and transparent environmental review process is ludicrous. If your staff wants to “shine a new light on LNG,” perhaps you should use it to illuminate the truth by doing your own reporting.

Patrick Cassidy
BHP Billiton

Looking on the bright side

I recently read the article by Stacey Wiebe regarding “More standardized testing woes” (news, 11/30/2006). Rather than spending time and resources and crying foul with regards to the provisions attached to the No Child Left Behind Act, why not focus on the positive results that are being achieved at De Anza Middle School?

According to their test scores, they can make it out of program improvement this year. That’s great. They have things on track, now let’s see what can be done to get Will Rogers Elementary School out of program improvement. If a district does not have any schools in program improvement then the district will not be in program improvement!

As taxpayers, we want school districts to embrace the positive aspects of the No Child Left Behind Act rather than spending time fighting the provisions. Obviously, the NCLB Act has positive merits as evidenced by the improvement noted at De Anza Middle. Incentives to do a good job are common in most workplaces, why should our schools be any different?

Gregson Hunt

Whales not wind-up toys

Sea World has so profoundly and perversely impacted marine mammals it’s no surprise that some — like the orca who dragged her trainer to the bottom of the tank at the San Diego park recently — are starting to snap. The largest pool in the world cannot come close to the vast open oceans where the orcas and dolphins at Sea World should rightfully be swimming. In the wild, these whales live in tight family units. Both male and female offspring typically remain with their maternal family for life. Orcas can swim up to 30 mph and can travel 75-100 miles or more per day. At Sea World, orcas perform tricks for food and swim endless circles in small, barren concrete tanks. They often die far short of their natural lifespan.

Animals don’t deserve to be treated like giant wind-up toys that do tricks, which is why many people refuse to give their money to aquariums that use captive whales and dolphins. To find out more, visit

Jennifer O\\\’Connor
Animals in Entertainment
Campaign Writer
People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals

A different take

Robert S. Kennedy enlightens us in his letter about Congressmembers Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha, and Steney Hoyer by showing us that Murtha is the most moderate of the three (letters, \\\”What percentage moderate?\\\”, 11/30/2006).

But I cannot agree with him when he describes Hoyer\\\’s election to the Majority Leadership as \\\”a real slap in the face to Pelosi.\\\”

Speaker-elect Pelosi\\\’s support for Murtha was canny and carefully considered. She knew he did not have anywhere near the votes to win the Majority Leadership over Hoyer; she knew that Hoyer had the votes sewn up months ago. But she wanted to demonstrate her backing for Murtha\\\’s leadership against the war in Iraq, and she wanted to give her loyal friend Murtha a transparent chance to run for a formal leadership position in the House, something he had never done before.

When you read the statements made by Pelosi, Hoyer and Murtha after the election, it is clear that all three leaders were satisfied with the results, that both the moderate and progressive caucuses had been accomodated.

Can you imagine the unhappiness of Hoyer and his supporters, the fissures in the party, if Murtha had won, something which was definitely not in