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Letters to the Editor 10/11

October 12, 2000

Letters to the Editor 10/11



Environment under attack



To the editor:

This month, Marylanders should take advantage of the opportunity to head outdoors, breathe some clean air, and enjoy some of our state's incredible waterways. Why? Because this fall, some members of Congress are attempting to enact 40 separate rollbacks of environmental and public health protections. If those provisions are signed into law, our clean air and water will be put at grave risk.

You may be saying to yourself: "That's not possible. Surely, I'd have heard about sweeping anti-environmental legislation." But it is true; members of Congress have merely hidden these attacks as provisions tacked onto spending bills. These anti-environmental provisions are known as "riders" because their supporters hope they will simply "ride" along with the must-pass bills.

Anti-environmental riders are nothing but sneak attacks on the clean air, clean water and healthy forests and public lands that the American public supports.

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These sneak attacks are far reaching in their impacts. One anti-environmental rider would block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from identifying areas that have higher levels of smog than is currently permitted by law. Maryland has some of the worst smog in this country. We need to know where it is most unhealthy so we can protect ourselves and clean it up.

Other provisions could prevent the EPA from cleaning up lakes, rivers and shorelines contaminated with toxic sediments, or setting safe standards for carcinogenic arsenic and radon in drinking water. Studies of drinking water supplies show that Maryland has high concentrations of both arsenic and radon.

Even though mining companies have poisoned 12,000 miles of rivers nationwide with cyanide and acid, and left taxpayers with a $32 billion cleanup, one underhanded provision would prevent the government from putting standards on mining or requiring mining companies to pay to clean up their own messes.

Our members of Congress are now in Washington for at least another two weeks. This gives them time to stop these attacks on our clean air, clean water and public lands.

President Clinton recently said that "We need to have a clear, national, bipartisan consensus at the grassroots level: That we don't need these riders, and we do need a national commitment to the environment." The president should stand behind this statement by vetoing any bill that contains these harmful provisions.

This month, as people get back to nature, let's hope that members of Congress pay attention to their constituents. Maybe then Congress and President Clinton will do the right thing and undo the sneak attacks on our environmental and public health protections by voting against any bill that contains anti-environmental riders.

G.g. Kellett

Environmental Associate

Maryland Public Interest

Research Group

Baltimore, Md.

Politics can be fun



To the editor:

On Sunday, Sept. 24, Berkeley Springs State Park was at the site of a political extravaganza. Political leaders from West Virginia came to meet the citizens of Morgan County. The rally was hosted by Bob Ford and John Swaim.

This was no usual rally because it was a family rally with entertainment and things to do for people of all ages. The young children spent hours in the moon-walk, while everyone else was kept busy with the band which had several different activities for the children of all ages. When I say all ages, that included the youngest to the oldest citizen who was able to attend this momentous event.

Free food was available for all citizens. The event was such a success that several of the Democratic and Republican leaders were present. The event gave the citizens of Morgan County a time to mingle and get to meet the candidates for local, state and federal offices. Some of the guests who appeared included not only Bob Ford and John Allen Swaim, but also Jim Humphrey, Del. Charles Trump, Mark Cowles, Ed Brown, Debbie Ditto and Larry Bradley.

All of the citizens were invited to attend this event and we estimated more than 1,000 in attendance. As citizens from all points of Morgan County congregated in the park the bandstand became the center of the activities with "Lost in the Fifties."

So we want to send a sincere thanks to all who came out and made this event such a wonderful success. The weather reports called for scattered showers all day Sunday, but God in His mercy held off the storm so the good people of Morgan County could have such a great time in the park with political leaders, family and friends.

I would like to see more events like this for all the working families of our county so they can get to meet all of our candidates and share in their lives and plans for us, the citizens of this area.

Ronald C. Payne

Hedgesville, W.Va.

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