LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A steward does not destroy their charge

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Bemidji Pioneer by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bemidji Pioneer. To submit a letter, email or mail it to Bemidji Pioneer, P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.

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In response to Robert Stanton’s letter (published Dec. 8 on Page A4 of the Pioneer) , he is obviously unaware that many of the products he described have already transitioned away from crude oil as a production method.

Steel company HYBRIT moved from oil to hydrogen in 2020 and has been assisting others to do the same.

Nearly all rubber makers moved from oil to isoprene over a decade ago. The lithium-ion type battery used in electric cars does not require oil in any part of its production. While it may be used in some component aspects, this varies from each manufacturer, some claim no oil use in any part at all.

As far as plastics, currently, most lower grade softer plastics you encounter are already eco-plastic. Made from isoprene or other plant-based hydrocarbons. In August 2020 a study was published in the Journal of Science showing how a specific type of bacteria is able to produce a massive amount of the ethylene required for hard plastics production. Several manufacturers are now involved in testing this method.

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As for road construction, styrene-isoprene-styrene has largely replaced the crude oil binders that had been used in the past.

The real issue he missed is that the pipelines on the reservations he mentioned would be moving shale oil, and shale oil -- due to its contaminants -- is not used for manufacturing any of the items he listed.

Shale oil requires additional steps to refine into gasoline or diesel and ends up costing more to refine, so it isn’t likely to result in low costs at the pump either.

It does, however, have some wonderful byproducts, such as nickel, uranium and carbon disulfide, all things that make a water source unusable.

While it is true we will probably never be rid of hydrocarbons, crude oil is only one source of them and there are more environmentally responsible sources.

God gave us pristine waters and an unpolluted world and we have a responsibility to keep it in good order. I suggest he read Psalms 8:6-8. We are the stewards of the world and a steward does not destroy their charge.

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