Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 01, 2006

State leaders fail to protect planet

Unfortunately, I was not surprised when I read "State gives power plants a pass on pollution" (May 28). Our environment continually takes a beating because politicians reap no immediate benefit from protecting it.

Maryland residents should be leery of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s intentions, especially as The Sun reported in December that our governor has appointed several former employees of Constellation Energy to prominent positions in the Maryland Department of the Environment ("Effort to kill bill is decried," Dec. 20).

This represents a huge conflict of interest that Mr. Ehrlich should be forced to explain.

I applaud The Sun for making an environmental issue front-page news. I hope this will open the door for politicians and citizens to pay attention to the air we breathe and the water we drink.

We will be electing a governor in November, and Maryland citizens deserve to hear what the candidates plan on doing to protect our environment.

Barbara McLean Mantler

Baltimore

MDE cares little about public health

The power plant air pollution violations detailed in The Sun's article "State gives power plants a pass on pollution" (May 28) are very disturbing.

A few isolated violations could be considered minor, but thousands of violations indicate very serious operating problems that have been allowed to continue.

The Maryland Department of the Environment appears to have little regard for the public's health and rules of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For the state not to require the proper pollution-control equipment to be installed on these aging power plants for another six years is insulting, especially as equipment needed to sharply reduce this pollution is very low-tech and has been around for decades.

But unfortunately, The Sun will probably be able to run much the same article three years from now, with similar violation numbers.

Bruce Steltzer

North East

Don't let lawmakers meddle with energy

Poor Sen. Paula C. Hollinger: But for Big Bad President Bush and Big Bad Enron, she would have had it right. But don't worry - the legislature will come in and save the day and save Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. customers from the indignity of having to pay market rates for electricity ("Let legislature solve the state's energy mess," letters, May 27).

I'm not sure if what the letter betrays is hubris or ignorance of the laws of supply and demand. But the senator certainly seems to need an economics lesson.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not happy to see the large bonuses going to Constellation Energy executives. They offend me as well. There are ways to deal with such issues - and maybe some other nibbling around the edges of the merger approval process would also be appropriate.

But don't for a moment believe that the legislature can, or should, affect the return to market rates for electricity. Or that a new Public Service Commission with different appointees would make a significant difference.

The sudden return to market energy rates will adversely affect some low-income people.

This may be a problem for the state. But it is not BGE's problem.

Howard Levinton

Baltimore

Police leader guilty of breach of trust

Let me get this straight: Gary W. McLhinney, the chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, releases information including the number and identities of security agents belonging to agencies such as the FBI, National Security Agency, Drug Enforcement Administration, Secret Service and Maryland State Police, along with some of their names and phone numbers, and he is still employed ("Releases surprise officials," May 28)?

It doesn't require expertise in law enforcement to understand the gravity of what Mr. McLhinney has done.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. should explain this to him as he is handed his notice of termination of employment.

Standing alongside of Mr. McLhinney in the unemployment line should be his boss, state Transportation Secretary Robert L. Flanagan, who expressed confidence in Mr. McLhinney's judgment by saying, "I think that he made the proper decision in deciding what is security-sensitive information and what is not."

Obviously, neither of these men has a clue about the concept of breach of trust.

Wayne Croft

Parkton

A reminder of cost of Bush's mistakes

First I gasped. Then I cried. The Sun's two-page Memorial Day listing of the names of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan was devastating ("In Memoriam," editorial, May 29).

These are not just numbers, but actual men and women whose lives have ended prematurely and whose families will never be the same.

Last week, President Bush admitted to mistakes he made in the war ("Bush says he erred in Iraq war," May 26). This list is a haunting reminder of his mistakes.

Congress was quick to impeach President Bill Clinton for his personal mistake, which involved a few people, none of whom died.

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