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Letters: Elinor Ostrom, Salton Sea

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Audie Cornish and Melissa Block read emails from listeners about Elinor Ostrom and California's Salton Sea.


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Audie Cornish.

It's time now for your letters and one correction. Yesterday, we remembered Elinor Ostrom, the only woman to win a Nobel Prize in economics, but we implied that the capital of Switzerland is Geneva. While this did not prompt an avalanche of angry Swiss email, we did get it wrong. Our apologies to Bern, the actual capital of Switzerland.

BLOCK: And now, your letters. On our story about the Salton Sea, California's largest lake, which is slowly dying. It used to depend, in part, on runoff water from local farms. But now, some contend, a controversial water transfer deal is hastening the Salton's demise. Disappearing with it are local wildlife and local businesses, both of which depend on the massive lake. But some of our listeners were not sympathetic.

CORNISH: I was thunderstruck by your story tonight, writes John Pardee of Indianapolis. The Salton Sea has been dying for years. You gave the impression there was something there to save. There is nothing to save, and the sooner it dies, the better. The agricultural runoff that fed it killed it with toxic substances.

BLOCK: And Andy Frank of Salem, Oregon, says our story missed a crucial fact. He writes this: The Salton Sea was created as the Colorado River water was accidentally diverted into the dry Salton Basin. Had this been a story about the removal of a dam, it might have been celebrated as returning the land back to its natural state, but instead, this story portrays the loss of a natural resource. Mr. Frank continues: So by leaving out the fact that the Salton Sea is not natural, the story appeared to illustrate a loss. Add in the one fact that the Salton Sea was a man-made accident and the story becomes a reclamation story of victory.

CORNISH: We appreciate your letters. Please keep them coming. You can write to us by visiting and click on Contact Us.

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