Letters To The Editor


December 06, 2006

Make polluters pay for emission permits

Polluting companies and their consultants never seem to stop in their attempts to roll back environmental laws. And John Bewick's column "Let market fight global warming" (Opinion Commentary, Dec. 1) was particularly self-serving and selective in its use of facts.

Maryland will soon join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, an agreement among seven other states in the region to reduce global warming pollution from power plants.

This initiative's requirement that the state reduce emissions by 10 percent by 2019 is entirely achievable, if we make real reductions in emissions from power plants.

Under a new state law, for the first time Maryland will acknowledge that carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming, is a pollutant. The debate now is about whether to give away free to polluters the emission permits the law will require or to charge permit fees.

If fees are charged, the money could be used to reduce our electricity consumption by funding energy-efficiency programs, which could lower our electricity bills and boost our state's economy.

If the permits were given away for free, power companies would make windfall profits by charging us "full-market price" in the deregulated system without paying the full cost.

Global warming is an enormous problem that requires every sector to do all it can to modernize with cleaner technologies.

Power companies should stop playing games and make real reductions in pollution.

Brad Heavner


The writer is state director for Environment Maryland.

Antibiotics ease `Lyme-arthritis'

I want to congratulate The Sun for its editorial on Lyme disease ("Missing the mark," Nov. 30).

My late wife suffered from this horrific malady from 1993 until her passing in 2003 (although she did not die from the disease).

And if you think that diagnosing the disease is a nightmare today, go back 13 years and experience it then.

Lyme disease was virtually unheard of at the time in the Philadelphia area, where we then lived and my wife contracted the disease.

Many of the unlucky patients who contracted Lyme disease in those days now suffer with what I have heard doctors call "Lyme-arthritis."

The only relief a Lyme disease patient can look forward to is heavy doses of antibiotics.

Shame on the Infectious Disease Society of America for issuing guidelines that argue against long-term antibiotic treatment.

But more shame on Maryland legislators who have dropped the ball on behalf of a large number of their constituents.

We need to put the heat on our legislators in the upcoming session and on the new governor to get a bill passed that will do what the original 2005 bill was intended to do.

Bruce F. Bauman


Suspend Bromwell and the IWIF board

To quell the stench from the Injured Workers' Insurance Fund debacle, both fund president Thomas L. Bromwell and his board should be shelved pending a trial for Mr. Bromwell ("Bromwell retains IWIF post," Nov. 30).

Any smattering of impropriety should not be tolerated or allowed.

Norman Lauenstein


The writer is a former chairman of the Baltimore County Council.

Homan will be asset to Baltimore County

Having dealt with Fred Homan both as a former county employee and in private practice, I think Baltimore County citizens are fortunate that Mr. Homan is part of the county leadership team ("Homan's competence and thrift stand out," Nov. 28).

Measured with the benefit of hindsight, the key decisions that Mr. Homan has either made or influenced have turned out to be correct time and time again.

He digs deep into details and demands excellence. He has stood up against the powerful and well-connected in favor of doing the right thing for the taxpayers.

He does not rest until the job is done and done right.

I hope he remains a key figure in county government for years to come.

Douglas Silber


The writer is a former assistant county attorney for Baltimore County.

Mercy needs tower to fulfill its mission

It is unfortunate that Jill Rosen's article "Houses stripped of protection" (Nov. 26) portrays such a minuscule piece of what Mercy Medical Center is doing for the citizens of Baltimore.

As president of Mercy's medical staff, let me give what many people believe is a far more important part of the story.

I have practiced here at Mercy since the early 1980s.

And I know that the hospital serves a vital role for residents of Baltimore and for those throughout the state who travel downtown to Mercy for care.

During my career, our campus has expanded several times in order to continue to be able to provide high-quality care.

What remain from the 1960s are our inpatient bed tower and operating suites.

Yes, it is unfortunate that older buildings Mercy owns need to be torn down to make way for the replacement tower. But several highly regarded consulting and architectural firms carefully looked at whether they could be retained, and concluded that they could not.

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