Letters To The Editor


April 21, 2006

Aging power plants harm public health

Let's not forget that the reason we need stringent emission limits on power plants in Maryland is that power plant emissions result in illness and death ("Energy plant may close," April 15).

And according to a recent analysis by Jonathan Levy of the Harvard School of Public Health, emissions from the C. P. Crane power plant in Middle River result in approximately 75 premature deaths and some 2,800 asthma attacks each year ("Maryland's air pollution a killer, study says," Feb. 16).

The Crane plant has been operating since 1961 without modern pollution-control equipment, and the new pollution-control requirements will not go into effect until 2009 at the earliest.

Constellation Energy has had - and still has - plenty of time to modify the operation of the plant to better protect public health.

Brenda M. Afzal


The writer is a registered nurse and the liaison to the Healthy Air Coalition for the Maryland Nurses Association.

Duncan stands up to corporate powers

Thank you for the article "Duncan pushes power plan" (April 18). It is about time that at least one of the politicians who holds or seeks to hold statewide office is willing to stand up and say "no" to Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.'s planned 72 percent electricity rate increases.

As a disabled Marylander on a fixed income, I am horrified at the prospect that my electricity bill will almost double.

And I am not at all impressed by those who seek to simply delay the effect of the rate increases.

I say: Listen to Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan - he is the only one willing to take on the corporate powers on our behalf.

Fran Kanterman


Sun ignores earlier call to re-regulate

The Sun showed its bias in favor of the status quo by failing to acknowledge that Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan's call for re-regulation of the state's energy markets echoes a demand made last month by the Green Party candidate for governor, Ed Boyd ("Duncan pushes power plan," April 18).

The Sun has an obligation to report all serious competing views on the issues facing Maryland.

Focusing almost entirely on the Democratic and Republican candidates gives the false impression that they alone represent the answers to Maryland's problems.

The Green Party makes the credible argument that the other two parties represent more of the same old problems, not the solutions. And it is the fastest-growing party in the state.

It needs to be covered if The Sun is to provide balance in its election coverage.

Myles Hoenig


The writer is campaign manager for Ed Boyd for Governor.

How can a `tax cut' bring higher taxes?

A recent Sun editorial commented on a so-called tax cut next year in Baltimore County ("Towson and taxes," editorial, April 17).

But after reading the editorial, I sat amazed at the odd logic The Sun used to define a "tax cut."

It seems that The Sun feels that a 4 percent cap on real estate assessments, combined with applying the same tax rate that was in place the previous year, results in a tax cut - because homeowners wouldn't have to automatically pay an even higher tax increase.

What kind of bizarre logic is this?

So when a homeowner doesn't pay more in taxes than what he or she could have without the caps, that's considered a "tax cut"?

Even though these same homeowners will see a 4 percent increase in their property tax bills next year?

This is the most amazingly illogical, ideologically biased spin I've seen in a long time.

Dave Reduzzi


Funding cuts hurt effort to find cures

We are beginning to feel the ripple effects of several years of stagnant funding for medical research ("Feeling grant money pinch," April 16).

Fewer research grants mean future scientists may pursue other careers, many skilled researchers will find themselves out of a job, and institutions will be forced to cancel potentially lifesaving studies.

That will move us one giant step backward in our pursuit of cures for life-threatening illnesses that afflict millions of Americans, such as heart disease and stroke - our nation's No. 1 and No. 3 killers.

Currently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invests only $7 per American per year on heart research and a mere $1 per person per year on stroke research. But according to the American Heart Association, these diseases cost our nation more than $400 billion each year in medical expenses and lost productivity - more than any other disease.

Cardiovascular diseases impose a heavy burden on our nation's health and economy, and we cannot afford to shortchange medical research.

That's why I urge Congress to dramatically increase funding for the NIH and ensure that our nation's gifted researchers have the financial support to discover new treatments and cures that will improve the lives of many Americans and reduce our health care costs.

Dr. John W. Cole


The writer is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

One way to resolve death-row disparity

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