EnvironmentThe Aug. 28 letter from the Southeast...


September 16, 1992


The Aug. 28 letter from the Southeast Association for the Environment (SAFE) takes issue with the handling by the Department of the Environment (MDE) of an application for a permit to construct a soil remediation facility in Rosedale.

MDE is carefully reviewing the permit application and all public -- comment submitted concerning Bryn Awel.

When community members expressed concerns about the review, we hired an outside consultant to take a look at the application.

MDE is unafraid of subjecting its work to outside scrutiny in the interest of providing as comprehensive a review as possible.

Some people would have Marylanders believe the state's cancer rate is directly linked to MDE. In fact, toxic releases in Maryland are dropping dramatically because of MDE programs.

Industrial benzene emissions -- one of SAFE's major concerns -- fell nearly 47 percent between 1988 and 1990. MDE's air toxics control program played a part in that, and the proposed soil remediation plant must comply with that program, one of the best in the country.

There is a disturbing brand of activism emerging which inhibits healthy debate. While it is constructive to foster substantive discussions on health and environmental issues, it is destructive to manipulate technical issues in ways that unnecessarily incite fear in the community.

MDE will analyze all the data on the proposed facility. If the proposal is safe we will issue the permit. If not, we won't.

When the decision is made, I will stand behind the work of one of the finest environmental regulatory agencies in the nation.

Robert Perciasepe


D8 The writer is Maryland secretary of the environment.

Bloody Videos

It seems preposterous that pro-abortionists consider the video tapes of dead fetuses, used by some pro-life candidates, to be too gory to be televised.

The videos are only a picture of an actual, premeditated event. To be in favor of the act of abortion but against showing the carnage compares with a bank robber complaining about the security cameras that took his picture while he was robbing the bank. He wanted the money but he didn't want to be caught.

When the abortionists are confronted with the truth of their deeds, they cry foul.

The public at large has been blinded too long about abortion. It is time the truth is known. The videos featured tiny bodies curled in buckets and close-ups of lifeless fetal faces. Pro-abortionists claim that the ads misrepresent abortion.

If the abortionists don't like being exposed, they shouldn't be in the business they are in. You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.

James R. Cook


Medicare Reality

In the editorial titled "Exploiting the Elderly" (Sept. 4), you presume to set forth the facts on President Bush's proposals to cut Medicare. Unfortunately, the president's plan flies in the face of budget reality and treats Medicare much more harshly than The Sun suggests.

The president says, and The Sun uncritically accepts, that he will increase Medicare spending by three percent, to offset the effects of inflation, plus a two percent "fudge" factor.

The problem, though, is that inflation in health care costs exceeded 10 percent last year. So the president's budget shortchanges Medicare by five percent.

You accuse Gov. Bill Clinton of "care-mongering" when he says President Bush's budget will mean big cuts in Medicare.

Look at the numbers. The president says he will cut $294 billion over the next five years. He says he will do that with no new taxes, no new defense cuts and no cuts in Social Security.

These are the hard budget choices. If he won't cut defense, or raise taxes, and if he puts Social Security off limits, Mr. Bush has to make deep cuts in Medicare.

To squeeze big savings out of Medicare without a serious program of health care cost controls, which the president refuses to do, means that budget realities will force him to take action that will severely impact the elderly.

Governor Clinton's claims are borne out by recent history. During the 1980s over $95 billion in spending was cut from Medicare while nothing was done to control health care costs system-wide.

The result was higher out-of-pocket costs to seniors. Costs to seniors rose, in real dollars, adjusted for inflation, by 20 percent just in the last half of the 1980s.

In addition, doctors and hospitals responded to Medicare cuts by raising charges to businesses, causing an unprecedented growth in the number of Americans without health insurance.

As long as President Bush fails to propose a credible plan to control all health costs, his plan to cut Medicare will make seniors poorer.

Stating these facts may be scary, but it is not scare-mongering. Bill Clinton wants to change the way we handle health care costs. George Bush is proposing more of the same.

Benjamin L. Cardin


L The writer represents Maryland's 3rd congressional district.

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