Letters No time for cheap, petty politics

To the editor:

Over the last few weeks, I've noticed several critical letters about the efforts made by Congressman John Thune to secure federal funding for the Lewis and Clark Water Pipeline project.

Washington is an extremely hostile and difficult place for South Dakota. We have only three of 535 legislators. But, Congressman Thune, Sen. Daschle, and Sen. Johnson have all made this project a top priority.

Congressman Thune has done a marvelous job as our sole representative in the House of Representatives to get the project to where it is today. The fact that other projects and items are also on the bill to fund Lewis and Clark is meaningless. The important thing is that our funding is there.

Sen. Daschle, with the help of Sen. Johnson, has also done an incredible job in the Senate to move the funding forward. It's wrong for a few letter writers to be criticizing any of these three men on this issue. Congressman Thune, Sen. Daschle, and Sen. Johnson have all put their hearts, souls and best efforts into securing the necessary funding.

We should get behind all three of them and support all three of them in their efforts. Petty, cheap, finger-pointing politics has no place in this issue. It's too important.


William J. Janklow

Protect river, keep jet ski ban

To the editor:

Due to the efforts of the W.H. Over Museum, the Spirit Mound Trust, the United Church of Christ and other organizations in our community, the city of Vermillion has already begun to celebrate the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804 in ways that are respectful to our cultural diversity and heritage. The celebration can be expected to attract tourists to our area as they travel the route that brought our region into the national interest two hundred years ago.

Much has changed. But we are very fortunate that the stretch of the Missouri River from Gavins Point Dam near Yankton to Ponca State Park, which lies south of us, remains relatively unpolluted and natural. It is in our interests and those of our children and grandchildren that it remain so.

We must protect what remains of the wild and scenic stretches of the Missouri River from various forms of pollution. One source of which are personal water crafts. These thrill crafts disturb endangered wild life, particularly nesting birds, with their noise and speeds. Their two-stroke engines pollute our waters, and their noise and wakes also disturb the peaceful recreational environment that many of us seek when we boat, canoe or swim in the Missouri River.

The National Parks Service, to its credit, has banned personal water crafts on the 59-mile stretch of the Missouri River from Gavins Point Dam near Yankton to Ponca State Park and on the 39-mile stretch from Fort Randall Dam at Pickstown to Running Water. This ban has been challenged by a vocal minority who feel that their rights to use these vehicles on the Missouri should be unrestricted.

How long will the natural beauty of our river remain if we fail to protect it? Personal water crafts are a form of high-speed recreation that do not enhance, but only interrupt our appreciation for the natural environment of the river and the birds and fish that inhabit it.

Nothing is more precious or more important to the future of our state than our natural environment. Add your voice to those of the Living River Group of the Sierra Club who want to protect our river so that it will continue to be a place for reflection and enjoyment of the natural creation. We must not allow the pwc manufacturers and the jet skiers to rob the rest of us of this important natural resource. The Missouri River belongs to all, and it deserves our respect.

Norma C. Wilson


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