Limiting population is only effective way to control...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 21, 2001

Limiting population is only effective way to control sprawl

It's not surprising Maryland's Smart Growth program hasn't succeeded in controlling sprawl, but better zoning wouldn't help much either ("Better planning can halt wild sprawl," editorial, Oct. 13).

Rather than trying to pack more and more people into more and more crowded areas, it's time to treat the problem at its source: population growth.

"Smart Growth" doesn't stop population growth from overcrowding schools, threatening the environment and causing us to spend more time in traffic and less with our families.

Road and school construction can't keep up with population increases, open space is vanishing at an alarming rate and California-style blackouts are expected to spread to other states.

More people also mean more pollution, more sprawl and tighter housing markets.

And if it's bad now, what will it be like when the state gains another half-million people, as is projected before 2015?

A national population policy set in relation to our ability to feed, school and house new people could stabilize our population at a size we can sustain, without destroying our environment and quality of life.

Sharon McCloe Stein

Washington

The writer is executive director of Negative Population Growth.

Limit immigration rates to save our environment

In his "On the Bay" column, Tom Horton has said it before and he said it again: "The ultimate misperception, the one that's going to override all our bay restoration efforts unless it changes, is that we can continue to double population and double it again, while still managing our way to a cleaner environment" ("It's not the oil, it's the nitrogen," Oct. 5).

Mr. Horton makes clear that the bay and endless other wonderful places, are doomed to further degradation unless our country finds a way to stabilize its population. The pressure of ever-increasing numbers of people is too great to save environmentally-sensitive resources.

Our birthrate is not very high, but legal immigration is 1 million a year and the illegal rate is probably as high or higher.

Our government must get those rates down to reasonable, sustainable amounts. Otherwise, we will leave a rotten legacy for our grandchildren and future generations.

Carleton W. Brown

Elkton

Dependence on oil leaves us vulnerable to terrorism

It has become painfully clear that the only way to eradicate this Middle Eastern brand of terrorism against the United States is to once-and-for-all end our dependence on oil from the region.

And I don't mean just drilling elsewhere. We need to fully fund research and development of alternative fuel sources for the automobile and start thinking about a replacement for the gas taxes that fund many state and federal highway projects.

Will it be easy? Of course not, but it's time to make the push for clean and green.

Reduced health care costs, reduced greenhouse gases, reduced dependence on foreign oil, and a reduced threat of terrorism. Let's kill four birds with one stone.

J. T. Merryman

Ellicott City

If we middle- and older-age citizens are willing to send our children to a war where many will die, we should be willing to make non life-threatening lifestyle changes.

Our purchases of ever-larger, gas-guzzling vehicles, especially SUVs, trucks and vans, make us far more reliant than we should be on the OPEC nations that produce both oil and terrorists. We should be trading in for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars.

Real patriotism involves more than singing "God Bless America" or putting up the flag. It means sacrificing luxuries we have come to think of as necessities.

Roslyn Zinner

Columbia

Pushing to drill in Alaska is a payback to big business

I am utterly disgusted that President Bush would use the events of Sept. 11 to try to force the Democrats to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, a blatant payback for his cronies in the oil business, but I can't say I'm surprised.

Big business financed Mr. Bush's stealing of the election, and now he wants to reward them with blood money.

This is so transparent, so despicable that it makes me ashamed to be an American.

William Smith

Baltimore

Toppling Taliban regime would strike blow for liberty

The death and destruction of Sept. 11 was not only a disaster but an opportunity, for Americans are now united in a grim determination to forever destroy this vicious threat to our lives and liberty.

We know now that this is indeed one world and our peace and freedom can never be secure as long as there is an evil government anywhere that is willing and eager to condone such crimes.

The pain and suffering of Afghanistan's people under the Taliban is probably even greater than that from the savage blow directed at us.

The murderous oppression of women is only equaled by the terrible distortion of the souls of men who give their lives to kill innocents they do not know.

We must destroy the Taliban, not only for ourselves but for those Afghans oppressed by their rule and for all people everywhere who suffer under tyranny.

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