John Skvarla appears to be a very intelligent fellow, having degrees in economics and law from first-rate universities and a successful business record [“John Skvarla, new Secretary of DENR: snake oil salesman?” Triangulator blog, Jan. 7; print issue, Jan. 9]. The good people of North Carolina will do well to hope that Skvarla will apply this acumen toward seeking the counsel of the best trained, most knowledgeable people available to him in appropriate disciplines. Further, we can hope that he does not believe that self-study of important scientific concepts such as climate change can substitute for availing himself of the highly trained and extremely knowledgeable people at our universities, for example.

A medical analogy is apt. When most people need medical help for themselves or their loved ones, do they not seek out the best physicians specializing in areas of needpeople who have studied hard for many years (and continue to do so), making many sacrifices to garner the ability to address health problems? Ought not the same apply in considering issues such as climate change, hydraulic fracturing and the like? Our universities and other institutions have scientists and engineers who have burned the midnight oil for many years and who have the appropriate backgrounds to weigh in with sound advice based on rigorous understanding of fundamental concepts. Will Skvarla please pick up the phone, make some appointments and consult them?

Barnes Bierck, Chapel Hill