Air quality testing needed for dieselsThe heat experienced...

the Forum

September 22, 1993

Air quality testing needed for diesels

The heat experienced by our school children during the first week of school was aggravated by the poor air quality we've had the last few weeks.

Much of the discussion regarding these matters bypasses a major air quality menace -- diesel emissions.

In response to Del. Jennie Forehand (D-Montgomery), Maryland recently implemented the first diesel exhaust emissions testing station on I-70. Delegate Forehand's proposal to monitor heavy duty truck diesel exhaust was an issue several of us spoke about during the 1990 Maryland General Assembly races.

Ms. Forehand's efficient prodding of the Maryland departments fTC of energy and transportation finally produced a diesel-specific opacity meter check for truck exhaust emissions which was acceptable to the federal Department of Energy, Department of Transportation and the trucking industry. This is no small achievement.

Now that it is known that diesel fumes can be cancerous, and Maryland remains the national leader in cancer incidence surveys, we need to look at other sources of these daily toxins.

What immediately comes to mind are the dump trucks that travel throughout the region and the commuter buses that constantly traverse our streets and roads.

If we inspect automobile exhaust annually in Maryland, something surely can be done about these all-pervasive diesel fume emitters. The air quality of the entire region would benefit.

The initial data from Maryland's new diesel testing pilot program indicate that nearly 40 percent of the heavy trucks failed the opacity meter check during the first six weeks.

Thus it seems reasonable to wonder where the other diesel-burning trucks and vehicles that daily invade Montgomery County neighborhoods actually stand in this regard.

It is not something that should wait. Maryland can set the course and a better standard.

Joseph P. Foley

North Potomac

Civility's the thing

Kudos to the Gilman School's Arch Montgomery in his attempt to bring civility back to our society. In this world where words such as "thank you" and "excuse me" have vanished from the vocabulary of young people, this courageous headmaster is a breath of fresh air.

What is troubling is the attitude of the parent who was concerned about sending a civilly mannered child into the "real" world of Harvard or some other institution of higher learning where political correctness supersedes reality.

Eons ago, parents, grandparents, churches and teachers taught you to think on your own, to cope with the world and to recognize the difference between right and wrong. We didn't need Mr. Montgomery.

Now the alphabet-soup combinations of groups preaching political correctness are running the schools, and kids know all about sex, straight and otherwise, how to use condoms, get abortions without parental consent and express themselves however they choose without fear of reprisal from anyone.

Yet many can't read, write a coherent sentence or answer a simple question, much less act civilized. In this setting, the Mr. Montgomerys of the world are considered oddities and get almost half a page coverage in The Sun.

More power to you, Mr. Montgomery. Hopefully, you can clone either yourself or your program and share it with students everywhere.

C. L. Norris

Baltimore

Tasteless art

It would be foolish to ask your grocer to fill up your shopping cart with whatever suited his taste. We make our own selections based on our own taste.

Famous patrons of art commissioned the great masters to make portraits, landscapes and depictions of military and biblical events. Often the artists, like Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo, submitted preliminary sketches for the patron's approval before executing the finished work.

In the last two decades the citizens of the United States have paid artists through the National Endowment of the Arts. When the finished works appeared there have been bitter complaints about their themes and the artists' tastes.

The Renaissance emperors, doges, kings, popes and pirates did not "pay for a pig in a poke." They defined their tastes for art and expected the artist to comply with their directives. They were seldom disappointed in the finished product.

The NEA might wisely define in advance what is expected when our tax money is invested in art.

Robert Y. O'Brien

Severna Park

Green Bay!

Dan Berger ("On the Other Hand," Sept. 7) asks, "What can you do with a league that considers Green Bay, Wis., a major league town?"

Don't show your limited knowledge. Green Bay fielded a professional football team a year before the NFL was founded.

The good citizens of Green Bay and Wisconsin own the team, not professional investors bent on squeezing the last dollar out of fans.

If you've never been to Green Bay, you can't possibly judge a true major league town.

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