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Letters to editor of the Pahrump Valley Times

National wealth tax would help poverty-stricken

I would like to see the US Congress pass a program into law which would replace the former “Aid To Families With Dependent Children” program which was passed under FDR in 1935 and abolished in 1996. Ever since its abolition, there has been a large increase in the number of people (especially children) living in “extreme poverty” (meaning living on less than two dollars per day) and “deep poverty” (meaning at a level half of the official poverty line).

It could be paid for by adopting a “National Wealth Tax” of 14.25% on all individuals with a net-worth of $10 million and higher which is exactly what Donald Trump proposed in 1999 before he became what I have always believed him to be, a FAKE-Conservative and a MASTER MANIPULATOR.

In return for receiving this assistance, all adult recipients would be responsible for doing some type of volunteer work and/or job-training.

Incidentally, on July 31, 2018, “USA Today” newspaper endorsed this National Wealth Tax proposal.


Stewart B. Epstein

Retired electrician disputes net metering program, raises concerns

In regard to the article in the Pahrump Valley Times dated June 21, 2019.

I am a retired Electrician with roughly 40 years’ experience in the electrical field. I am also one of the aforementioned members that installed a Solar/Wind Electrical Generation System under VEA’s current net-metering policy. I installed my system in 2015 under the VEA Master Services Agreement. I am truly confused and concerned as to how VEA plans to implement these changes. I also take great exception to some of the statements made in this article.

Let’s start with I don’t recall anyone stepping up and assisting with the outlay of thousands of dollars in up-front costs to install or maintain the system I own.

I installed my system to mitigate the charges of the electricity supplied by VEA to my residence. When I installed my system I deemed it reasonable to assume that I would recoup my investment in about 15 to 20 years strictly based on the reduced cost of my electric bill.

I have never received a check from VEA for the surplus power my system generates. That simply gets carried forward to offset any possible charges in the next billing cycle. So the only monetary benefit I receive is that of reducing my electric cost that is imposed by VEA. I remind you that I pay the same rate as all other members (at least I assume I do). I believe that the Distributed Generation (DG) members of VEA help stabilize the electrical cost for the whole co-op.

Now let me explain some of the rules of the existing net-metering policy to you: I have abbreviated these:

Rule 20, paragraph 1.2: Customer generators are credited at the applicable rate of 1:1 for any excess kWh.

Rule 20, paragraph 1.3: VEA shall carry excess credits earned under 1.2 and apply them to the next billing cycle.

Rule 20, paragraph 1.4: At the end of each year VEA shall carry forward any excess credits or shall compensate the customer at the average cost of electric supply over the same calendar year.

Rule 20, paragraph 1.9: VEA shall provide net-metered customers electric service at a nondiscriminatory rate.

I don’t see how VEA’s board and CEO plan to implement the changes laid out in this article, since the rules state that all credits just get carried forward to offset future credits. I also don’t see how any reasonable person could believe they have subsidized the installation of my system.

It seems that VEA has removed the link to the current net metering policy from its website. If you want a copy please email me at LSimon1158@gmail.com and I will gladly mail you a copy free of charge.


Larry Simon

Pastor’s response to donation misunderstood

In response to the readers who were ‘irked by pastor’s letter on food donation,” I believe you missed the boat or you didn’t read the entire letter! The pastor was simply letting folks know that they accept donations from anyone and it doesn’t mean he condones the donor’s values.

The main point of his letter was indeed that they accept donations from anyone. Apparently, the pastor felt the need to publish such a letter because someone’s accused his church lacking morality by accepting food donation from Sheri’s Ranch. He was simply clarifying his church’s position for the “ignorant someone.”

Let’s look at the entire picture folks, instead of taking things personally and attacking folks.

Karen Duryea

Cooperative member weighs in on solar energy

In regard to multiple instances in the Pahrump Valley Times where I have read Mr. Dick Peck state: “We have to always remember that (VEA) members who do not generate renewable energy are subsidizing those who do.”

We disagree with Mr. Peck’s statement and this is why. VEA members like ourselves with solar generation capability have typically invested significant amounts into our systems. Unlike what some solar advertising might lead you to believe, solar energy and related systems are most definitely not free. Our system will end up costing us in the mid-5 figures. But to us it’s worth it for the direct long-term benefits we expect to reap and the indirect benefits of supporting renewable energy in general.

Every kilowatt we generate that goes back into the VEA grid is a kilowatt VEA does not need to buy elsewhere or generate. During peak usage periods our system can help to offset electrical loads VEA would otherwise have to provide. This is how our solar investment benefits VEA.

Our thinking is that VEA members that generate renewable energy are active partners making a positive long-term contribution, not leeching off members who do not generate renewable energy.

As far as net-metering reimbursements, we agree that full retail reimbursement does not make sense and we have no issues with below-retail-rate reimbursements currently being considered by VEA.

It is in all members’ interest to have a fiscally sound electrical co-op. Of course having a fiscally sound electrical co-op means all spending needs to be closely reviewed not just for net metering. The first half of 2019 was not kind to the image of VEA as being fiscally sound. Let us turn that page and work to future betterment.

Alexsander “Sasha” Jevtich

Laura Jevtich

Another disguised program being promoted by VEA

Last week I was selected to attend a Liaison Committee, to which I was then appointed, as opposed to the Policy Committee for which I applied online at VEA. This committee was headed by one of the new women directors in our conference center. I posed the question to the staff and the new director as to why I was chosen for the Liaison Committee instead. I took a head count of those present and counted 15 and was told that many had to be placed on this committee because the others were full up. Okay then, I said, and asked how many are on the Policy Committee. The answer was eight to 10. Since that answer left me completely puzzled, I then asked if the main purpose for being on the Liaison Committee was by-law revisions for the co-op. “Affirmative,” said the new director.

A couple of other hands went up to ask about the revisions that were submitted to the board of directors, as in who actually approves the revisions? We were told that only the directors will make the final decision — regardless of revisions submitted by this Liaison Committee and then forwarded on to members for a vote. Why have a Liaison Committee with no member input?

Shortly after I made that comment about what our new director was going to do about that, she declined to the power of the board. So even with new blood going in and the old blood going out through resignations, the same policies and by-laws remain controlled by the board, not the members!

The Ambassadors Program was scrapped by our Interim CEO, to be replaced by four committees. That change prompted me to sign up. But not on a committee that had no weight, a committee that was instead just another PR program to fake us out again.

As I stormed out of the meeting, right behind me was the local paper, coming in to do a story on the VEA’s committees. Until we members can take back our rural co-op and replace those directors that are not in tune with our interests, we will continue to call out the ducks. If you continue to look like a duck, walk like a duck, and quack like a duck…nothing will change.

Larry Blatchford

New Mexico not good alternative to Yucca Mountain

In response to advocating New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant as an alternative to Yucca Mountain (PV Times – 6/21/19) concerns about degradation of underground salt formations from long-term exposure to heat and radiation have never been addressed. The behavior of salt was to have been determined by a pilot repository in an abandoned Kansas salt mine. But that facility had to be closed due to intrusion by nearby mining and drilling activities before studies could be carried out. Having been the site of the first above-ground atomic tests and other hazardous nuclear activities, New Mexico felt that hosting all of the nation’s transuranic waste at the WIPP would fulfill its obligations to the nation. The suitability of high-level spent fuels in salt formation such as the WIPP had not been established.

The “$400 billion” to build Yucca is most likely being confused with a rough estimate for cleaning up Department of Defense’s sites, whereas the $100 billion now estimated for the repository allows for reasonable inflation of 20% from the original $80 billion. https://www.gao.gov/assets/690/682385.pdf – page 17

Insofar as seismic concerns raised by the recent earthquake, I have experienced more violent shaking from 4.0-range tremors in areas where spent fuels are now stored awaiting transfer to a centralized repository. Exposure of radioactive material at nearly 100 sites around the country to earthquakes, fires, flooding and even theft remains the overriding environmental and national security risk. Utilities are now demanding refunds from the Nuclear Waste Fund which stood at $44.5 billion at the end of FY17, and will soon be claiming damages from the Department of Energy (that means taxpayers) if they must continue to safeguard the spent fuels at their own generating plants due the federal government’s failure to accept them in to centralized storage.


The “best available science” will never be known so long as opponents stymie the final $120 million appropriation for DOE to complete studies prerequisite to the licensing process. If Yucca is shelved it will be a Pyrrhic victory. Weapons-grade plutonium moved into “temporary” storage at the NNSS without any consultation with the state is a bitter fruit of the futility of Nevada’s adversarial approach to the federal government’s ultimate prerogative over its vast landholdings here. Whereas there could be some infrastructure “plums” like I-11 by working with DOE.

Inevitably at least a portion of the nation’s spent nuclear fuels will likewise end up above-ground at the test site, joining the ever-growing inventory there which already includes high-level waste. How will Yucca opponents spin THAT?


Bill Stremmel

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