Insistence on drilling in Alaskan treasure stalls energy...


February 08, 2002

Insistence on drilling in Alaskan treasure stalls energy progress

Oil industry claims that only "a small portion" of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would be affected if drilling were allowed are grossly misleading ("Oil dispute hindering U.S. policy on energy," Jan. 27).

This is our largest wildlife refuge, so the industry can argue that it would drill in only a small part of the whole. But suppose a doctor told you that he was planning to remove your heart, but that you shouldn't fret because, after all, the heart is but a fraction of your body mass?

The area in which the industry wants to set up shop -- the coastal plain along the Beaufort Sea -- is the biological heart of the refuge. It is vital to polar bears, millions of nesting migratory birds and an enormous caribou herd that travels 400 miles every spring to bear its young there.

As The Sun reported, there is broad support in this country for shaping a forward-looking energy policy that won't exacerbate our dependence on oil. The controversial proposal to drill in the refuge is stalling progress toward that goal.

We need to leave this unique natural treasure just as it is, and focus on making cars that go a few more miles on every gallon and other steps that make sense.

William H. Meadows


The writer is president of the Wilderness Society. New congressional districts represent only partisanship

State Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell has said he has no problem with the proposed congressional redistricting plan ("Speaker pursues remap solution," Jan. 26). And senior Democrats from Baltimore County, including County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, are doing nothing to stop this atrocious proposal.

But my community near Cub Hill would be thrown into an Eastern Shore district. Does anyone think that a congressman who represents Ocean City, Crisfield or Elkton would be interested in concerns on this side of the shore?

And communities such as Timonium, Perry Hall and Kingsville are similarly placed in contorted districts so that Democrats can hurt Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich as they try to scrape up another seat.

The congressional map does a great disservice to Baltimore County.

Carole Wiseman


The recently announced congressional redistricting map can't be what was intended by the Constitution.

Shouldn't we organize districts so that they represent the voters who live in them in some logical and reasonable fashion, perhaps based on contiguous geography? Should the power to reapportion be abused solely to keep one party in power at the expense of the other and the voters?

And how can elections from such gerrymandered districts provide voters the representation they want, and should have, when there is no rational reason, other than party politics, for the districts?

This is low-down politics at its worst.

Warren W. Updike

Towson Opponents of death penalty are guilty of real cruelty

The article about the delay in the execution of Steven Oken ("Maryland high court delays Oken's execution," Feb. 7) includes a very disturbing view by Judge Dale Cathell. He states that capital punishment in Maryland should be abolished because "obstructive tactics" by death penalty opponents make it simply not worth the aggravation.

This implies that those who make the most noise should win, not because of the merits of their argument but simply to make them go away. Such reasoning would imply we should give in to terrorists, because it is not worth the aggravation of having them blow up our buildings.

The true cruel and unusual punishment is being imposed on Betty Romano and other victims' families by the opponents of capital punishment who seek to deny them justice and healing.

Steven L. Wiseman

Baltimore The region does need a freight bypass line

Gerald P. Neily's column "Transit plan off track with rusty rail vision" (Opinion

Commentary, Jan. 31) was right on target. The region needs a freight bypass line immediately, if for no other reason than security. In addition to the Howard Street tunnel situation, the main line also passes under the National Mall in Washington, quite close to the Capitol.

Indeed, a precedent exists north of the border. In the 1970s, the Canadian government subsidized the construction of bypass lines around Toronto.

Henry Weissenberger

Ellicott City Football stadium's name will clearly be sold, again

The letter "Give the taxpayers a chance to rename PSINet Stadium" (Feb. 2) simply represents more harping about a dead issue. The name of the stadium is going to be sold to a business entity, period.

And it has become comical that a few Sun letter writers apparently have a compulsive urge to take a cheap shot at Peter G. Angelos whenever they write.

Ted Hickman

Millersville Pro-life constituency has increased since 1995

Nancy Lineman's column "Protect reproductive rights -- or lose them" (Opinion

Commentary, Jan. 22) claims "the vast majority of Americans identify themselves as pro-choice." She's off by about six years.

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