Suspending overseas ship scrapping helps safety, 0...


September 29, 1998

Suspending overseas ship scrapping helps safety, 0) environment

I appreciate and commend the steps that the U.S. Departments of Defense and Transportation have taken to address serious environmental and worker-safety issues that have been raised about overseas scrapping of surplus vessels by the Navy and the Maritime Administration (MARAD).

I am particularly pleased with the coordinated work among the agencies that has taken place in developing and implementing the interagency panel report on ship scrapping. Navy Secretary John H. Dalton's interim suspension of efforts to dispose of U.S. Navy vessels overseas was an important step in support of the interagency panel's work.

To ensure that the panel's recommendations to protect health, the environment and worker safety are fully considered and implemented, I request that both the Navy and MARAD observe a further interim moratorium on efforts to award contracts or transfer vessels for scrapping of vessels overseas, effective immediately and through Oct. 1, 1999.

I recognize that statutory deadlines applicable to MARAD and the possibility of exigent threats to the environment from deteriorating ships may create circumstances in which an exception is justified, based on either the lack of domestic capacity for ship-scrapping or the environmental and worker safeguards presented in a particular proposal for overseas scrapping.

In such circumstances, I request that MARAD present any request for an exception to the chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, who will consult with interested agencies and concerned members of Congress before approving or disapproving any exception request.

In light of current efforts to scrap ships domestically, no such exception request should be presented before Jan. 1, 1999.

Vice President Al Gore


Harford County must select opponents of growth

The Harford County ballot initiative that would have slowed runaway development in Harford has been ruled unconstitutional Harford judge dismisses proposed amendment to curb growth for year," Sept. 24).

That a lawsuit was brought at all speaks volumes. It is truly a case of a handful of developers, with a pot full of money, telling 13,000 Harford County voters that they don't have standing in their own communities.

If the Harford County Council had been listening to the citizens, the petition drive would have been unnecessary.

In Charles County, commissioners have just imposed a building moratorium on townhouses for the next six months. Their reasons for doing so mirror the reasons that a group of dedicated Harford countians, after failing to get the County Council to do something, took to the streets to restore sanity where development is concerned.

I can only hope that this slap in the face gets the attention of the people of Harford County.

When voters go to the polls in November, they should vote for the people who will work with their interests in mind.

Pamela M. Cobo

Bel Air

Griffith-Joyner death a loss for track and humanity

Rarely has the world been so blessed by one so beautiful in body and so radiant in spirit as Florence Griffith-Joyner. Her three gold medals at the Olympics pale in significance when compared with her efforts on behalf of physical fitness and her work to improve the lot of the downtrodden throughout the world.

Her athletic prowess and physical grace masked a heart that exceeded the size of the world she inspired.

Eric Dale Smith


Judgment should not split along party lines

As neither a staunch Democrat nor a staunch Republican, I believe I can evaluate issues being considered by Congress strictly on merit.

Unfortunately, according to your article "Political divisions solidify" (Sept. 13), lawmakers seem to feel they don't have this option on the President Clinton-Monica Lewinsky issue because they are circling the wagons around the Democratic flag and the Republican flag.

This is unfortunate for the country because this is neither a (D) issue nor an (R) issue; rather, it is a national issue that should be evaluated without "party-line" politics.

It would also be unfortunate if this were viewed by some as a sex scandal. While the sex-related portion of this problem is morally and ethically inexcusable, it is only the vehicle to more serious judicial charges.

H. W. Koletschke


Sanctimonious critics would not pass test

Is letter writer Michael Holden so squeaky clean that he can play the role of God ("Headline blasts report instead of president who lies and cheats," Sept. 18)?

Who are all these critics anyway? Call an assembly of all members of Congress and require those holier-than-thou politicians to tell the truth. If they have never engaged in any questionable activity, they can remain seated; the rest must leave the building.

Then take a head count. Perhaps it would astound everyone to find that such an exercise would close down the government.

Brenda Styers


Congress treated president worse than killers, rapists

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