Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 27, 2005

State can do more to combat warming

Kristen A. Sheeran makes a strong case that global climate change poses a serious threat to Maryland's economy and to its citizens ("Global climate changes put Maryland's economy at risk," Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 21)

And a database compiled by the Pew Center on Climate Change shows that Maryland lags behind other states in taking action on this problem.

For instance, California is setting greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles; Maine and New Jersey have set comprehensive statewide targets for reduced emissions; Massachusetts has capped emissions from aging power plants; and many states have programs to lessen the impact of agricultural activities, boost renewable energy and improve the efficiency of public-sector facilities.

A search of the database for Maryland reveals only some modest tax credits for energy-efficient consumer products and a reference to our increasingly ineffectual Smart Growth program.

Maryland can do much more, and the rapidly growing menu of innovative programs in other states offers a viable model for doing so.

Ken Conca

College Park

The writer is a professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Fighting pollution no injury to citizens

State Environmental Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick's rationale for abstaining from the seven-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is so single-minded as to be almost laughable ("Maryland rejects pollution accord," Dec. 21).

Mr. Philbrick righteously proclaims that the state is "not going to do something that is going to be injurious to the citizens of Maryland."

First of all, I am not aware that the citizens of Maryland have been granted any divine reprieve from the consequences of global warming. If increased surface temperatures result in the increased frequency and severity of storms or in irreversible ecosystem changes, the citizens of Maryland will be just as profoundly affected as those of any other state.

Second, given the mild consumer impacts anticipated by the state of New York, which also relies on coal-fired power plants, it is not clear that participation in the regional accord would have the negative impacts on consumers that Mr. Philbrick cited.

And, finally, given the availability of cleaner alternative power technologies, it seems foolish and even futile to resist the tides of progress.

On the contrary, Maryland should embrace incentives to improve and modernize its power-generating infrastructure before that infrastructure becomes woefully outdated.

Tamara Mittman

Baltimore

A Christmas gift to the polluters?

Just days after The Sun exposed the "buddy-buddy" relationship between the Ehrlich administration and the utility companies ("MDE, industry blocked a bill," Dec. 18), Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. decided that the state would not take part in a regional effort to reduce climate change ("Maryland rejects pollution accord," Dec. 21).

That effort not only would reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants but also would encourage investment in energy-efficient technology and clean, renewable energy, which would save us money on our energy bills.

Instead, Maryland will continue to use dirty, coal-fired power plants and have no plan to save our eroding shoreline or address the higher energy costs we will face because of extreme weather.

It's too bad Mr. Ehrlich decided to give a Christmas present to polluters instead of the citizens who live and breathe in Maryland.

Kate Canada

Owings Mills

Special prosecutors waste public funds

While I've never been a fan of the American Civil Liberties Union, I found Maryland ACLU Executive Director Susan Goering's column "An unnecessary breach of law" (Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 21) to be at least well-reasoned and nicely written.

That is, until I got to the last two paragraphs, in which she notes that domestic spying uses limited tax dollars appropriated to fight terrorism but then says an independent special prosecutor is necessary to investigate that issue.

If one is concerned about effectively spending tax dollars and getting value in return, a special prosecutor should be the last thing one calls for.

John Wyninger

Gambrills

Limiting choice adds to unwanted births

It is deeply disturbing that unwanted births are on the rise in the United States. But The Sun's article "More women have unwanted births" (Dec. 20) does not begin to tell the full story.

The article accurately notes that the decreasing number of abortion providers is part of the problem.

But the full story also includes the lack of access to contraception and health care, the lack of comprehensive sexual health education at school and home, the underfunding of federal and state reproductive health services and the lack of quick-and-easy access to emergency contraception.

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