Not The Grand Canyon

Your recent story, “plan to drill in Grand Canyon Thwarted, for Time Being,” stated that Peabody proposes to construct a pipeline in the Grand Canyon (ENR 12/2 p. 11). In fact, the proposal referenced wasn’t in the Grand Canyon. It was proposed by others, not Peabody, and the proposal was reviewed and already discarded.

The Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, generating plant owners and Peabody are committed to exploring alternatives for a water source to transport coal and ensure continued operation of the Black Mesa Mine and the Mohave Generating Station. This, in turn, provides hundreds of jobs for Native Americans and injects nearly $2 million each week into the Navajo and Hopi economies, while providing low-cost electricity for families and businesses in the Southwest.

Vice President
Public and Investor Relations
Peabody Energy
St. Louis, Mo.

Engineering And Other Options

I read with interest your articles about the drastic decline in civil engineering enrollments in schools across the country (ENR 10/21 p. 6.) The articles did not specifically mention other engineering disciplines, but I suspect that they may also be experiencing similar declining enrollments.

This phenomenon appears to have caught some people in the industry by surprise. But it is no surprise at all to this former engineer. I believe that the current situation is merely a symptom of our free market correcting itself. Today’s young people have at their fingertips a great deal more information than any generation before them. The best and the brightest American-born young people today are aware that there are simply better opportunities for them in areas other than engineering.

Engineering lifers will tell you that engineering is a sick profession. In fact, it is not a profession at all. The fact that there is no generally accepted definition of what is an “engineer” indicates a symptom of the problem.

A large volume could be devoted to the problems with what is called “engineering.” I believe that one simple statistic ENR presented exemplifies the problem. Your tables include a column that shows the percentage of licensed professional engineers among the faculties of engineering schools. An examination reveals that many schools do not have even 50% of their faculty as licensed professional engineers. I would be willing to venture a guess that the percentage of medical school faculty physicians or the percentage of law school professors who are not licensed to practice law is essentially nonexistent. You can draw your own conclusion from that simple statistic.

Engineering has the potential to be on a par with the true, learned professions in the U.S. Unfortunately, in its present condition, engineering is merely a shell of what it could be. This fact is not unknown to our young people in this age of information. If nothing is done, I believe the current trend will worsen.

Valdes Engineering Co.
Lombard, Ill.