Maryland has a problem with run-offAn extensive study of...

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October 25, 1994

Maryland has a problem with run-off

An extensive study of herbicides in drinking water, released on Oct. 18 by the Environmental Working Group and Physicians for Social Responsibility, found that 14 million Americans in 14 states are drinking water contaminated by five cancer-causing herbicides.

The states include the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Most of these herbicides enter water supplies in agricultural run-off from land used to raise animals for human consumption.

Unfortunately, herbicides and other pesticides are only one category of pollutants carried by agricultural run-off.

Others are dissolved solids (primarily sodium chloride, which raises water salinity), suspended solids (solid particles that settle to the bottom, smother fish eggs and silt up waterways), organics (crop debris, which promotes growth of micro-organisms that deplete oxygen and kill fish) and nutrients (nitrates and phosphates, which promote growth of oxygen-depleting algae).

In fact, agricultural run-off contributes more pollution burden to America's waterways than all other human activities combined.

Until current Administrator Carol M. Browner took over, the federal Environmental Protection Agency had largely ignored the agricultural run-off problem for both economic and political reasons.

Blocking the flow would be very costly because of the enormous areas involved. Ms. Browner's efforts to overhaul the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act were killed in the 103rd Congress by meat industry opposition.

The good news is that concerned citizens can help repeal this massive assault on the public and environmental health by demanding effective water-pollution control legislation and by reducing their consumption of meat and other animal products.

Since 90 percent of agricultural land is used for growing animal feed, even a small reduction in the national consumption of animal products would allow producers to plant the most erosion-prone land with erosion-resistant trees, shrubs and grasses.

The only other option is to give up drinking water and practicing water recreation.

Jack Norris


Glendening ads

Parris Glendening's TV commercials regarding Ellen Sauerbrey say a great deal about Mr. Glendening.

It is difficult to imagine that anyone would believe that any legislator at the local, state or federal level (including Parris Glendening, Ellen Sauerbrey, William Donald Schaefer, Mike Miller, etc.) is in favor of providing guns to criminals. Yet the recent ultra-negative TV political commercials of Mr. Glendening are appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace in order to gain votes to obtain political power by attempting to portray Ms. Sauerbrey as desiring to provide guns to criminals.

The dictionary defines a demagogue as one who attempts to obtain power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace. Clearly, Mr. Glendening's own TV commercials brand him a demagogue. Apparently, Mickey Steinberg's primary campaign assessment of Mr. Glendening is correct.

Having previously noted The Evening Sun's many efforts to condemn mud-slinging, negative political commercials and political demogogy, I am sure the paper must have written an editorial condemning the Glendening TV commercials regarding Mrs. Sauerbrey. But it seems that I missed The Evening Sun's condemnation and request that it be reprinted.

Robert L. Kondner


School bus bill

At the end of the first day of school this year, one of the mothers in my community was greeted with the news that her son had been hit by a car after getting off of his school bus.

He had been unaware that in Baltimore City cars do not have to stop for school buses while they are loading and unloading.

In most of Maryland, including the surrounding counties, the law does require vehicles to stop for school buses when their lights are flashing.

Although this does not guarantee that all vehicles will stop, it is still much safer than the existing practice in the city.

The Baltimore City Council is scheduled to hear Bill 265, which would change the Maryland law requiring vehicles to stop for buses with their lights on so as to include Baltimore City.

Parents from our local school, Hamilton Elementary-Middle, will be attending the hearing.

I hope that other city residents will attend or let their council members know of their support for this bill, so that our children can be a bit safer on their way to and from school.

Karen Elliott Hudnet


Tough job

It is fashionable these days to be critical of teachers. As a grandfather who picked up his grandchildren from school last week, I was reminded how seldom we pay tribute to these dedicated people.

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