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Letters, Aug. 19

Public defender agency

Your Aug. 16-17 issues described the efforts of the chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court’ to generate legislative action to provide criminal defendants prompt and efficient representation. The present private attorney contract system has failed.

In 1964, I was a trial attorney in the Santa Clara County, California, district attorney’s office. That county solved the problem by creating a public defender agency that paralleled the district attorney agency.

The public defender hired staff, including lawyers, investigators, paralegals, secretaries, etc. The efficiencies were dramatic. For example, one lawyer would handle an arraignment calendar instead of 10 or more private contract attorneys.

The current crop of contract lawyers would be good candidates for a public defender system and provide more bang for the buck.

John M. Moore

Eagle Point

Don’t ban natural gas

A recent op-ed rightly pointed out the “fastest and cheapest” way for America to protect the climate is incentivizing oil and gas producers to capture methane leaks and emissions rather than banning its use or restricting new, innovative infrastructure investments.

President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act included many key components that will help reduce emissions in a smart way by making investments in incentives rather than unrealistic mandates.

Sadly, some cities and states are considering policies that ban natural gas, our most affordable, reliable domestic energy resource. Natural gas is 50% cleaner than coal and abundantly available here in North America. And our local utilities in Medford are investing in reducing emissions by blending in renewable natural gas and hydrogen, which are even cleaner. If they are threatened with no longer being able to sell their product, they will have little incentive to make investments in new, green technologies.

Carl Pope, former chairman of the Sierra Club, got it right in his piece in the Mail Tribune, “To truly protect the climate, Biden must tighten methane limits.” We should incentivize our local natural gas providers to purchase fuels from producers who limit methane emissions within their operations, not ban natural gas.

Ed Finklea