A question was raised about my recent letter to the editor expressing my opinion about an environmental activist facing incarceration for his nonviolent protest. The question was "where the term environmental terrorist" originated. My immediate thought is that an environmental terrorist commits harmful destruction of the environment for personal or corporate gain. Allowing the rich oil companies to drill offshore or bury oil pipelines under waterways has caused harmful damage to the ecosystems and is an act of terrorism.

I am reminded of a sarcastic saying I heard in 1979 that "dilution is the answer to pollution." Not so. Pollution caused by releasing oil, into the water or earth, is well documented as having caused health problems and even death to mammals, birds, and aquatic life. Our Earth has large reserves of oil trapped deep beneath the surface. Occasionally, these reserves develop cracks and some of the oil seeps out. This is a part of nature and rarely causes major damage. However, multiple times, the same problem is caused by human interference and it has caused far more major damage to our water and marine ecosystems.

If one researches the oil spills in the last 17 years there are 15 to 35 oil spills or leaks annually that should have been avoided. The oil spills occur due to drilling rigs, offshore oil platforms and wells, tankers on land, and underground oil pipelines. What is common in all of them is that the damage caused by them is permanent and takes a long time to clean up.

Fred E. Shaub

Corvallis (Jan. 8)

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