Recycling benefits Baltimore County budget...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 07, 1999

Recycling benefits Baltimore County budget, environment

Contrary to the impression some may have after reading Dennis O'Brien's recent article "Recycling lull a blow to counties" (March 14), recycling remains a resounding success both economically and environmentally in Baltimore County.

We are paid for nearly every type of recyclable we collect, and all types get recycled. Recycling revenues continue to help offset the costs of operating the county's solid waste management facilities. Since recyclables are commodities whose prices change, the amount of revenue we earn varies from year to year. But the question is not whether the county will receive revenue, but how much.

The Sun's article did acknowledge several compelling environmental reasons for recycling, such as saving energy and conserving landfill space, but it missed two crucial points. First, no one wants to buy the county's trash, in sharp contrast to our recyclables; second, the alternatives to recycling -- burying or burning waste -- are quite expensive. How much sense does it make, for example, to throw common paper and glass in an expensive, lined landfill, which must be environmentally monitored for at least 30 years?

Last year, Baltimore County recycled nearly 160 million pounds of materials, which meant 160 million fewer pounds of trash destined for costly disposal. Because the county's disposal options cost $32 per ton or more, recycling saved more than $2.5 million in disposal costs.

Charles M. Reighart

Towson

The writer is recycling coordinator for Baltimore County.

Abortion bill threatens women and doctors

Women in Maryland should be angry. Women in Maryland should be scared. By passing the so-called late-term abortion bill (SB 194), the Maryland Senate has launched an assault on women's access to abortion. The bill is now before the House of Delegates, where its fate is uncertain.

Surely our legislators remember that in the 1992 referendum Marylanders voted overwhelmingly to protect women's right to reproductive choice. Will women forever have to fight to preserve it?

SB 194 is not a late-term abortion bill, as its title would suggest. It prohibits pre-viability (second trimester) abortions,which are currently legal.

The bill is a threat to women's health. It is also unnecessary because Maryland law already prohibits post-viability abortions, with exceptions when medically necessary. SB 194 starts a move to end abortions. SB 194 criminalizes physicians. It is unconstitutional.

Let's put these decisions back in the hands of a woman and her physician.

Joan Paik

Annapolis

The writer is president of the League of Women Voters of Maryland Inc.

One has to question the motives behind the late-term abortion ban bill the Maryland legislature is considering.

Maryland law already prohibits abortions after viability except to save the mother's life or health, or in cases of serious fetal abnormality or deformity.

This bill eliminates these exceptions, and reduces the period when women can choose abortions from 24 weeks to 16 weeks after conception. This despite the fact that the majority of Maryland residents supported abortion rights in a 1992 statewide referendum.

This bill interferes with the patient-doctor relationship and removes such decisions from those most directly affected and those with the most expertise.

Congressional testimony has documented that couples and doctors generally choose late-term abortions when this procedure is the safest one for the mother and when fetuses are badly deformed.

It is perverse to mandate that women give birth to such deformed fetuses. It appears that legislators such as Sen. Larry E. Haines, the main sponsor of the bill, who is a real estate agent, Sen. Thomas M. Middleton, a farmer, Sen. Ralph M. Hughes a lawyer and legislator, and Sen. Christopher J. McCabe, a development official, are trying to practice medicine without a license.

Milton Franklin

Ashton

An opening day shutout for the disabled?

Every year I write the Orioles, attempting to purchase wheelchair seating for Opening Day. Each of the past six years, I've not received a response.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards is probably the most accessible major league ballpark. It has more than 400 seats designated as equal accessible seating, designed to accommodate the disabled. But look around the ballpark on Opening Day and see how many disabled individuals are there: not many.

Unfortunately, on Opening Day the accessible seating is given to other notables. The only equal access for the disabled on Opening Day is the television.

Donnie Wayson

Baltimore

Orioles in Cuba: an insult to Cubans . . .

I am a proud American citizen born in Cuba, and an avid Orioles fan, and I am sickened and disgusted by Peter Angelos' Napoleonic attitude. I was old enough to understand, and remember quite vividly, the suffering and agonizing moments that my family and friends went through in leaving Cuba during the 1960s. I resent Mr. Angelos treating a game with the Cuban team as just another game.

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