In your commentary section on Dec. 28, Phyllis J. Kardos asks a lot of questions, but she isn’t asking the right questions. First and foremost is “Do we want solar panels used in America? And second to that is “Do we want to use computers and other products that use polysilcon?” If we do, then we need to have smelters to produce the polysilcon that is needed to make those panels and computers.
It is wrong of America to ship those jobs overseas to countries that do not have the environmental safeguards and workplace safety stands that America has. This is the colonial attitude of “not in my backyard,” but it is OK if we exploit other people of the world, exposing them to the environmental and workplace dangers entailed, to make our products.
Washington State environmental standards are higher than the Federal EPA, so Washington is probably one of the best places in the world for this type of work to be done. It will bring high-paying jobs to Americans who care more about a clean environment than many countries and it will also have the safeguards necessary to make sure it is done as cleanly as possible. Now if you don’t want this in your backyard, do you want oil pumps and oil refineries? We need to change our thinking and realize that if we want a cleaner environment and solar panels, we must do the mining and smelter work in the best possible situation and that is here.