New Emissions Program Isn't Fair, Leopold SaysTruncated...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 22, 1995

New Emissions Program Isn't Fair, Leopold Says

Truncated news stories, often constricted due to lack of space, sometimes convey a misleading or distorted picture. Such was the case with TaNoah V. Sterling's Jan. 5 article regarding the state's expanded, more stringent vehicle emissions inspection program ("District 31 legislators set sail separately").

One of the reasons I voted against the vehicle emission program during my previous tenure in the House of Delegates was the arbitrary and inequitable delineation of counties to be included or excluded in the program. For the past 10 years, motorists in only seven counties and Baltimore City were included, while motorists in the state's other 16 counties were excluded. Such a system has earned the wrath of many citizens who have justifiably questioned the fairness of some citizens bearing the cost and inconvenience of providing cleaner air, while other motorists also contributing to our region's poor air quality did not.

I recently requested and received from the Maryland Department of the Environment further, disturbing evidence of this basic inequity. In calendar year 1990, the most recent year for which the department has a statewide inventory of air emissions, two counties which are not in the Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program -- Allegany and Wicomico -- have nearly double the amount of volatile arganic compounds and nitrogen oxide emissions (the precursors of ground-level ozone) as do two counties that are now to be included in the program -- Calvert and Queen Anne's. This information underlines the arbitrary, inequitable nature of the expanded vehicle emissions program and one reason I am one of the co-sponsors of legislation to repeal it.

. . . Since the benefits of cleaner air do not recognize arbitrary county borders, and federal sanctions for non-compliance would entail lost federal transportation dollars that would impact all of the state's citizenry, I have always maintained that all citizens in the state should help shoulder the burden of the cost of this mandated, excessive program, not just those motorists in the vehicle emissions counties.

The advent of cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline, the development of gasoline engines that reportedly can cut current auto emissions by 90 percent and the regressive cost burden that the emissions program places on low and moderate income motorists, especially senior citizens on fixed incomes, compel us to re-examine the federal Clean Air Act mandate for more equitable solutions.

ohn R. Leopold

Pasadena

The writer is a state delegate in District 31.

The Water Planet

The Alliance for Sustainable Communities (ASC) is not a preservation group. We are not "environmentalists." The goal is not simplistic, not unilateral. And the difference is very important.

ASC links business, social and ecological issues. ASC's goal is to start projects that demonstrate that linkage. "Green" Gardeners, ASC's successful first project, demonstrates those linkages by starting an innovative business, job training and customers for low income and "at risk" youth which helps people decrease pollution to waterways.

We need to break down the ideological barriers between people, not invent them. We need business, jobs, social well-being, community and a healthy ecosystem to support our lives, to inspire our spirits and keep us health. We need to understand that none of these functions separately. Each has an impact on the other. Each interacts with the other.

The interaction of human culture (assumptions, decisions, customs) and ecological pattern (the way the universe works) is called Human Ecology. If ASC has a label, it's Human Ecology. Its goal is to figure out how we can do what we do so there is a long-term benefit for people, for the earth, for all other forms of life.

It's these interactions that the Annapolis summit celebrates . . . the amazing evolution of a whole community of life on this unique planet -- the water planet. . . .

Anne Pearson

Bowie

The writer is director of the Annapolis Alliance for Sustainable Communities.

Care at North Arundel

On Dec. 28, I was treated in the emergency room of North Arundel Hospital. The attending physician, Dr. Davis, and the nursing staff were of the utmost expediency during my treatment. I was sent home with medication and returned the next day in excruciating pain; once again the exemplary care of ** the emergency personnel was exceptional and I was admitted as an in-patient.

The entire staff of physicians, nurses, aides, housekeeping personnel and everyone affiliated with North Arundel were kind, compassionate and simply wonderful. Everyone went beyond the ordinary of patient care. We in Anne Arundel County are very fortunate to have such an outstanding facility in our midst. . . .

Donna Marie Duszynski

Arnold

Healer, Dreamer

There are some men and women who are remembered not for what they had in life, but what they gave to others. Jonathan M. Sutton was such a man.

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