Uhrhammer mentioned only aluminum cans. More than 50% of beverage cans are made from steel and are easily (and profitably) reclaimed magnetically from municipal refuse.
A bottle bill means a net gain in jobs only in states such as Oregon and Vermont which have virtually no can-metal production or can manufacture. But a nationwide bill would result in a significant loss of metal-industry jobs and an overall net loss. Furthermore, the new jobs would be in supermarket bottle sorting, where the pay is minuscule compared to that of metal workers and can makers.
The bosses will always use "loss of job" scare tactics to convince Americans that they have to increase production at all costs. When will they see that the fight is not ultimately between jobs and ecology but between an increasingly wasteful and a more moderate standard of living for all Americans? Companies like Alcoa will first drown us in rhetoric and then in litter.
KENNETH MOLLOY JR.
I just returned from an Oregon backpacking trip with my family and can attest firsthand to the effectiveness of that state's container-deposit program.
I live in Pennsylvania and have traveled the U.S. fairly extensively. The highways and camping areas in Oregon are pristine compared to the roads and campgrounds I have seen elsewhere in this country, even in the sparsely populated areas.
Although I am "pro-business" on many environmental issues (and even own stock in a well-known national beer company), I am hard pressed to see anything but benefits connected with Oregon's deposit law.
BENJAMIN N. HAYWARD JR.
What an interesting article (Guardian Dragon of Sulphur Bottom, July 26)! After being discharged from the Army in 1946, I settled down in East Texas. I used to go about 20 miles west of Texarkana on Highway 67 to hunt squirrels and cottontail rabbits. As I recollect, the place was called Red River Bottoms, but there was a winding creek in these bottoms called Sulphur Creek. I wonder if this is the same spot referred to by William Humphrey.
Before going into the Army, I had lived all my life in Minnesota, hunting and fishing in its complex forests and lakes, but they didn't compare to Red River Bottoms for wildness. The first time I went into those bottoms to hunt (without a dog, which I never did again), I had an eerie feeling. It seemed as though there were ghosts all about me. My erstwhile companion, a born Texan, and I separated. He told me just to follow the river back to our starting point and meet him at the car for lunch and beer. About an hour later (around 8 a.m.) I had six squirrels and was ready to go back to the car for a drink and a pack of cigarettes. I never did find the car. I followed that river all right, but I got turned around somewhere. At noon my companion got worried and started firing his shotgun at intervals. I heard him, but he sounded five to 10 miles away. I was lost. By four that afternoon I tossed my squirrels away, then my shotgun.
My buddy finally went to De Kalb to notify the sheriffs department, and the special posse they had for just such emergencies found me around 8 p.m., just as I was about to build a fire for the night. Probably jesting, one of the posse told me that if I had built that fire and lain down to rest, I would have awakened with dozens of snakes gathered around me to keep warm. And when they told me that just the week before some guy had gotten lost in there and committed suicide, I sincerely believed them.
It was funny, though. I had walked about 25 miles and was only one mile from where our car had been parked and only about two blocks away from Highway 67 when I was found. If that's the same place Humphrey refers to in his article, do you suppose his dad's and Wylie West's hex was in effect?
Long Beach, Calif.