Hard To BelieveEditor: Somehow I have a hard time...


October 26, 1991

Hard To Believe

Editor: Somehow I have a hard time believing the depth of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's sorrow over signing the latest budget cuts when his pay raise this year equals four-fifths of my husband's salary after almost 30 years of teaching.

Mary E. Becker.



Editor: A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal stated, ''The question is whether the environmental story is being thoroughly reported or whether only the environmental worriers' views of the world are being presented. Ultimately, the public is asked to form an opinion about these issues, and it cannot make an informed judgment if key facts and viewpoints are withheld.''

An Oct. 11 AP story in The Sun, ''Maryland protests proposed changes in wetlands rules,'' is a case in point. The article offers only the ''views'' of David Carroll and Gov. William Donald Schaefer but key facts and viewpoints are withheld.

The revisions to the Wetlands Manual were an attempt to reinsert the word ''wet'' in the definition of a wetland and to reduce the amount of non-wetland being regulated as a wetland. Unfortunately, as proposed, it falls far short of reducing the bureaucrats' claim of jurisdiction over dry land.

The test of ''18 sites, 11 of which no longer would qualify . . under the proposed definition,'' is absolutely absurd. Under the proposed revisions, the hydrology criteria can be tested with four different methods (one having six sub-methods) and none of them requiring that the water be on or above the surface. With nine different testing methods it would be impossible to estimate the amount of deregulated land, if any.

Mr. Carroll's extrapolation that ''the changes would disqualify 40 to 60 percent of the state's wetlands'' is clearly unsubstantiated.

Our governor and Mr. Carroll should be reminded that when the Schaefer administration introduced the Maryland Nontidal Wetlands Bill in 1989, it stated ''only 275,000 acres of the state's nontidal wetlands remain.'' After the federal agencies adopted a new manual for identifying and delineating wetlands, Maryland's non-tidal wetlands ''grew'' to over 1,300,000 acres -- an increase of more than 1 million acres of predominately dry land.

Even if the revisions to the manual disqualified as much as 60 percent (which, we repeat, would be impossible to estimate with nine different hydrological testing methods), the bureaucrats would still be regulating over 540,000 acres -- or almost double what the Schaefer administration said we had in 1989.

What we have here is bureaucratic panic. For if the amount of regulated land is reduced, then the bureaucrats' power, jurisdiction and budget might be reduced.

Margaret Ann Reigle.


The writer is chairman of the Fairness to Land Owners Committee.

Close Votes

Editor: Your analysis that the Senate confirmation vote of Clarence Thomas ''tied for the third closest vote in history for an approved nominee'' was misleading.

Only one nominee in U.S. history, Stanley Matthews, was disapproved (in 1881) by a larger percentage (48.9) of the Senate than Judge Thomas. Forty-eight percent of the Senate voted against Thomas. No nominee in this century has been confirmed by anywhere near such a slim margin though some have been rejected or withdrawn.

I suggest that one who has been approved by the next to smallest percentage in our over 200-year history be watched carefully and, by the public, challenged to uphold the highest standards of human and civil rights embodied in the United States Constitution.

Anita M. Iribe.



O.C. Fishermen

Editor: I had the very pleasant opportunity to spend several days in Ocean City recently. Upon arising and stepping onto my balcony on the oceanside near 94th Street, I was totally appalled at the ocean vista of a long line of campers, RVs and station wagons pulled right up to the shoreline.

Upon closer scrutiny it was apparent that these Neanderthals were fishing in the surf. I would hope that this was a fishing tournament of the ''one time only'' variety and not a regular occurrence.

The incredible amount of time and money that has been spent on the beach replenishment and beautification program and the excellent results that have been achieved apparently means nothing to the officials that allowed this travesty to occur.

Upon walking the beach later in the day I noticed several storm fences damaged along with a profusion of trash and oil drippings the area of the vehicles.

I don't want to appear as a complainer or whiner, but Ocean City is one of our state's natural resources, and to allow this type of conduct to occur is unconscionable.

I can't understand why these fishermen can't park at the ends of the streets and walk to the beach like millions of bathers do all summer.

Joseph L. Larson.



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