Martin Sullivan: Almond harvest too dusty

10/22/2013 5:31 PM

10/22/2013 5:32 PM

Regarding Tolerate the dust because almonds are gold by Dick Hagerty (Opinions, Sept.18): Almonds are more like gold than Dick Hagerty seems to realize.

During the Gold Rush hydraulic miners had little consideration for the effects on other citizens or wildlife. They filled streams and rivers with silt and caused big problems for farmers and others downstream. It took years to bring the miners under control.

Currently, almond farmers completely externalize the cost of harvesting to everyone by filling the valley with dust, dirtying all surfaces and causing respiratory issues for most of us. If people want to be outdoors during almond harvest, currently they just have to accept the unpleasantness.

If the harvesters’ dirt stayed on their property or at least close by, it would be no big deal, but the dust fills the whole valley.

It is especially outrageous if they are making so much money that they don’t modernize, since technology allows much cleaner harvesting.

Hagerty may like breathing dirt or gold but I prefer not to breathe either.

MARTIN SULLIVAN

Atwater

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