Controlling nitrogen from septic systems will protect...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

February 19, 2000

Controlling nitrogen from septic systems will protect water

Gov. Parris N. Glendening's proposal to require nitrogen removal technology on new and upgraded septic systems in certain areas is a responsible way to improve water quality and address an inequity in the regulation of sources of nitrogen contamination ("Upgrading septic systems," Jan. 28).

Septic systems are the only unregulated source of nitrogen contamination, even though they represent 3 to 19 percent of nitrogen emissions to local watersheds .

Maryland regulates agriculture, urban runoff and wastewater treatment plants. But most septic systems do nothing to remove nitrogen.

The proposal would require nitrogen reduction technology for new septic systems that are located in "areas of special concern" (which would include drinking water supply areas).

It would also require nitrogen reduction technology upon repair, replacement, or change in use of existing systems in those areas.

To mitigate the cost of installation, the legislation offers tax incentives for upgrading existing systems.

If enacted, this proposal will protect drinking water supplies for millions of people in both urban and rural areas. It also rightfully places responsibility for pollution at the source of the pollution.

Kristen Forsyth

Baltimore

The writer is program manager for 1000 Friends of Maryland, an organization that promotes Smart Growth.

Response to Pfiesteria put the cart before horse

The Sun's article on the role of Pfiesteria in the 1997 Delmarva fish kills, or the lack thereof, was very appropriate ("Scientists differ on role of Pfiesteria," Feb. 7).

As a veterinarian who has spent nearly 30 years working with animal disease, I find this controversy typical of most occurrences of new animal disease

The 1997 episode was used to hastily develop regulations and a program to control Pfiesteria. This happened when many scientists believedthat more work was needed to really understand what had happened.

Obviously that work is progressing. However, is that progression occurring because of, or in spite of, government programs initiated in 1998?

Protection of the environment is a priority for us all. However, we also need to watch how our politicians commit public money and other resources.

When will we learn that just throwing money at a problem is not the solution?

Spangler Klopp

Lewes, Del.

Neo-Nazis must be stopped, before the contagion spreads

Neo-Nazi movements in Europe are like a malignancy. In their early stages they can be treated and their threat halted.

Their latest manifestation comes with the inclusion of Austria's Freedom Party, led by Joerg Haider, in the country's government ("Extremist ties widen in Austrian government," Feb. 9).

Mr. Haider is a dangerous right-wing extremist who is exploiting Austria's growing disenchantment with other ruling parties. His revisionist, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and anti-global market policies are well documented.

His record includes many statements legitimizing Nazi policy and activities.

Just as a malignancy must be removed immediately, strong, effective actions must be taken by all countries to remove Mr. Haider from the Austrian government.

Bernard Siegel Baltimore

Posting Commandments won't bring us together

In The Sun's article on the movement to hang the Ten Commandments in public schools around the nation ("Push for 10 Commandments gaining in states," Feb. 14), one reverend was quoted saying, "The Ten Commandments are universal, they bring us together, not divide us."

I beg to differ. What are Muslim parents to say to a child who comes home asking about the Ten Commandments?

And even if they were universal, which version would be posted in our schools, the one in the King James Bible?

Are legislators really prepared to alienate much of the population, simply by trying to profess their religious beliefs?

The goal of these un-American propagandists is to convert children, and alienate the ones that they don't convert, not to educate them about history.

I hope the Supreme Court will make the right decision again and block this sham.

Stephen Harrell

Reisterstown

Apparently the irony of the position taken by the Family Research Council and its allies on the "Hang Ten" campaign is lost on their representatives.

They actually seem to be gloating about judicial opinions that religious expressions such as Nativity scenes and representations of Moses' tablets are "artifacts" that are so secular as to be non-religious.

That is one of the reasons they should be fighting "Hang Ten," not promoting it.

Do they really want deeply religious expressions trivialized by relegating them to study of history, civilization, ethics and comparative religion?

There is absolutely no evidence of a reliable cause-and-effect relationship between public civil religious expression and the development of personal ethics and morality by individuals.

Anthony Cobb Baltimore

Break the chains of patriarchal religions

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