Editor:

    I appreciated the March 25 article “Authority Mulls Chipper Versus Burner” (Rio Grande SUN page A1).

    We have a great opportunity to move forward with a chipper. No air or waste pollution is created with a chipper. There is not a $50,000 annual expense for hauling off the ash. The wood chips are very useful for landscaping and gardening because they hold moisture and are attractive. They can also be used for erosion control.

    As members of the Velarde/Alcalde Firewise Community, our mission is to educate our residents about ways to keep our homes safe in the event of a wildfire. One of the most important activities is to remove shrubs, trees and weeds that are near any structures and to leave space between trees and shrubs that are farther out. This can produce a huge amount of green and brown waste. Right now the burner is unable to handle this in a timely manner. A chipper is much faster and more efficient.

    We also encourage our residents to take their branches to the Alcalde Transfer Station instead of burning them. Even controlled fires can get out of control with spring winds. Already there have been two fires in the area this spring.

    We agree with North Central Solid Waste Authority Board member Ben Lujan, from Ohkay Owingeh, who said it would be best to buy our own chipper instead of sharing one with Taos. With our population it would make sense to have it here full time.

    If the chipper were housed at the Ohkay Owingeh convenience station, the public would need to have access in order to pick up the chips.

    According to Authority General Manager Peter Fuller, the cost of a chipper could be made up in 2 to 6 years depending on the purchase of a new or used chipper. For the betterment of our communities and the environment, we are requesting that the Board vote to purchase a chipper.

    Velarde/Alcalde

    Firewise Community Board

    Judith Chaddick, Buzz Danial-Toy, Diane Pola, Evelyn Maruska, Carlos Valdez, Gloria Romero, Rep. Roger Montoya, D-Velarde

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