Letters To The Editor


October 05, 2004

Emissions pact shows need for tighter controls

The Mirant Corp. emissions agreement demonstrates what the environmental community has been saying all along - government enforcement actions are the best way to make polluting companies clean up ("Power company agrees to cut Md., Va. pollution," Sept. 28).

While Mirant's agreement to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions is a positive step for our environment, it is long overdue. Mirant would have been required to do even deeper reductions if the Bush administration had not let the company off the hook for its Clean Air Act violations.

We have seen time and again that every time the government forces a polluter to clean up its act, not only do our health and environment benefit but so does the economy.

Cleaning up our air is good for our quality of life, and that's good for Maryland businesses. Spurring new technologies to make power plants cleaner and more efficient creates new jobs.

Maryland leaders must stand up for a cleaner, healthier future for all of us by passing legislation that requires our state's power plants to dramatically cut emissions of the four major pollutants.

Gary Skulnik

Silver Spring

The writer is director of the Clean Energy Partnership.

Mirant Corp. is benefiting from a perception that its recent agreement to cut some nitrogen oxide helps the environment But the truth is that the company's coal-fired power plants continue to be public enemy No. 1 to the health and well-being of Marylanders and our environment.

Yes, it's good that the company that owns some of the most polluting power plants in our region is taking a small step forward. But Mirant is not doing anything about any of the other three major pollutants - sulfur dioxide, mercury and carbon dioxide - that come from its smokestacks.

It's a sign of how much our environmental protections have been degraded that Mirant is praised for reductions that are less than the company would have had to make if the Bush administration hadn't eased enforcement of the Clean Air Act.

We need to pass a powerful "four-pollutant" bill in Maryland to cap and reduce these dangerous gases.

And we need to eventually phase out all coal power and replace it with clean, renewable energy.

Jeromy McKim


The writer is a volunteer for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

Leadership is key, not debating skills

Thursday's presidential debate proved one thing: Sen. John Kerry is a better debater than President Bush ("Debate earns Kerry a second look," Oct. 2). One would expect that to be the case after his 20-year, well-compensated career as a professional debater in Congress.

But style aside, the debate was enlightening on a key difference between the two leaders. Mr. Kerry's vision of a pre-emptive strike on terrorists paints visions of a bureaucratic debate with foreign leaders and the president taking a "Mother may I" attitude to countries such as France. Mr. Bush's plan is to seek out and destroy terror cells proactively and pre-emptively with only America's security interests, not domestic or international polls, driving him.

Given the choice of a polished debater or a decisive leader, I will take the latter.

Donna Marie Naylor


Kerry's plan for Iraq looks much better

You can certainly question why Sen. John Kerry voted to authorize President Bush to invade Iraq, but I now believe, after watching the presidential debate, that Mr. Kerry would not have invaded without more allied support and that if Mr. Kerry had invaded Iraq, he would have had an exit strategy ("Bush sharpens attacks as dust settles," Oct. 2).

The Bush administration had no plan for postwar Iraq. This was immediately evident when looters overtook Iraq. Now Mr. Bush's plan is to "stay the course."

Mr. Kerry, on the other hand, already seems to have a better plan for postwar Iraq than Mr. Bush has ever had.

Dr. Michael R. Cavey


Debate ignored conflict in Israel

Sen. John Kerry clearly won the first debate with President Bush on Thursday night ("Debate earns Kerry a second look," Oct. 2). But all of us lost when there were no questions raised about the role of the United States in achieving a just peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Chester Wickwire


How will war shape younger generation?

Whatever the result of the 2004 election may be, Sen. John Kerry did the Democrats an enormous favor when he articulated an alternative and starkly opposing world view to President Bush's ("Debate earns Kerry a second look," Oct. 2).

The Vietnam War split the baby boomers, with each side developing completely different world views - one proudly and aggressively American and the other more international and skeptical of American power. Just as Vietnam shaped the baby boomers, the Iraq will shape my generation (I am 28).

I hope that we will develop a world view that is international and proud and positive - and that my America will be strong and humble.

Benjamin Miller


Deportation a result of 9/11 imperatives

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