Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 19, 2004

MTBE provision isn't impeding the energy bill

While refiners agree that American consumers deserve secure water and energy supplies, The Sun's editorial concerning MTBE detection ("Bad water," editorial, July 12) fails to reflect the facts about methyl tertiary butyl ether and may cause unnecessary public concern.

Here are the facts:

The energy bill has not been held up by House Republicans or MTBE provisions. In fact, the bill has passed the House on three occasions, with a significant number of Democrats voting for passage.

Further, in the Senate, where the bill is stalled, the energy bill failed by only two votes when the MTBE limited liability protection was included. With the same MTBE provisions removed, the bill failed by five votes.

Congress fully anticipated and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the widespread use of MTBE when enacting the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Thus, the U.S. refining and petrochemical industries were not merely encouraged but mandated to increase production and use of MTBE as no other viable options existed to satisfy the federal requirements.

The limited liability provisions for MTBE and ethanol in the energy bill are just that - very limited and narrow. The provisions seek only to curb the frivolous claims that drain funds for and delay actual cleanup.

The provision offers no protection from lawsuits brought for actions seeking remediation and cleanup of particular sites where negligence or other traditional tort claims are made.

No fewer than five national and international scientific and health agencies have decided, after exhaustive studies, not to list MTBE as a human carcinogen.

Bob Slaughter

Washington

The writer is president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.

Iraq war no boost for national interest

In his column "Congress shares the blame for intelligence failures" (Opinion * Commentary, July 14), Cal Thomas asserts: "The larger question - is the world better off without Saddam Hussein in power? - cannot be answered any other way but `yes.'"

Given the embrace of globalism by the establishment right, neither Mr. Thomas' question nor his answer comes as much of a surprise. But I believe the country would be far better off if the questions raised about our war in Iraq were primarily ones about our national interests.

For instance: Is the nation now better prepared to deal with future threats to our nation's security with 130,000 troops tied down in Iraq?

Are our relations with our allies as good as they were prior to the war?

Is the United States now seen in a more positive light by the world's 1 billion Muslims since the so-called liberation of Iraq?

Are the upward spiraling budget deficits, in large part fueled by our self-imposed burden of being the world's policeman, a healthy development for the nation's economy?

Unfortunately, these questions cannot be answered any other way but "no."

Michael S. Brocato

Pasadena

Analogy no insult to Latino voters

It's a good thing that Linda Chavez won't be taking the SATs anytime soon, since she does not understand analogies ("Kerry's courting of Latinos is no laughing matter," Opinion

Commentary, July 15).

When comedian John Leguizamo, who was born in Colombia, says that Latinos being for Republicans is like roaches being for Raid, he is not saying that Latinos are like roaches.

He is saying that just as Raid is bad for roaches, Republicans are bad for Latinos.

Logical arguments are to Ms. Chavez's columns as camels are to Antarctica.

Vincent Daly

Baltimore

Make losing lawyers pay all court costs

The problem of the high cost of medical malpractice insurance affects all of us ("Obstetrics declines as career choice," July 11).

The problem is caused by greedy lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits, knowing that insurance companies would rather settle out of court than pursue an expensive trial.

Frivolous lawsuits can be stopped by requiring the losing lawyer to pay all court costs, legal fees and the opposing lawyer's fees as well.

Michael F. Converso

Lutherville

Countless jobs don't pay enough

The Sun's feature on the working poor was sobering indeed ("Two jobs not enough," July 10).

Lusting after a quick sound-bite, most media outlets are content to relay only basic statistics on job creation and unemployment. But the real story lies beneath the headlines and rests like an 800-pound gorilla on the bottom lines of households in every part of this country: Countless jobs in America simply don't pay enough to allow workers to live the lives they deserve for the work they do.

In an era that sees CEOs getting salaries of millions of dollars annually, we have a gap between the rich and poor nearly as wide as prerevolutionary France. If this country is to prosper in the future as it has in the past, workers must be given the chance to improve their lives and their children's lives.

Yet many of these working poor are bamboozled into voting for politicians whose policies serve only to widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

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