Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 10, 2008

Clarification

The letter "Extravagant gown insults ratepayers" (March 10) failed to note that the $25,000 Molly Shattuck paid to have designer Christian Siriano create a dress for her will go to benefit the Baltimore School for the Arts.

Efficiency is a better energy choice

Using Maryland's energy crisis as an excuse to build a new nuclear plant in the state is hopelessly off the mark ("The energy answer," Opinion

Commentary, March 4).

It is true that if trends continue, Maryland could see blackouts as early as 2011.

But building a new nuclear plant in the state won't help us deal with that crunch because there is no way a new reactor could be built in time to prevent the projected shortfall.

That's why we need to invest in energy efficiency - which is the fastest, cheapest and cleanest way to meet our energy needs.

And unlike a nuclear reactor - which would be extremely expensive and polluting - energy efficiency can start saving consumers money and reducing the strain on our electricity grid right now.

As a state, we can do better than dirty, dangerous and expensive nuclear power.

Johanna E. Neumann

Baltimore

The writer is state director for the Maryland Public Interest Research Group.

Jack Spencer and Nicolas Loris write glibly about switching to nuclear energy to avoid the cruel pain of switching off unused lights. But they don't say much about the elephant in the room when it comes to nuclear energy - the problem of disposal of spent nuclear fuel.

The question of safe disposal of nuclear waste must be answered adequately before we OK more nuclear plants - anything else is irresponsible.

Joe Halloran

Baltimore

According to the researchers from the Heritage Foundation, it is better energy policy for Maryland to continue wasting energy and gouging consumers to help fund the building of a new $4 billion to $8 billion nuclear power plant than to invest in energy-saving measures that would cost a fraction of that price.

Fortunately, many U.S. businesses, consumer advocates and forward-looking governors such as Martin O'Malley understand that a renewed commitment to use energy more wisely - through high-efficiency furnaces, air conditioners and, yes, more-efficient light bulbs - is a better idea than charging ratepayers an arm and a leg for an avoidable new power plant.

David Moulton

Bethesda

The writer is a former chief counsel for the House of Representatives' Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

The researchers from the Heritage Foundation muddied their nuclear power-friendly message by mixing in unjustified attacks on the value of energy efficiency.

While gloating over Allegheny Energy's missteps in its first foray into energy conservation in a decade, the authors fail to mention that the cost of saving electricity is far cheaper than the cost of generating and delivering electricity from a power plant, nuclear or otherwise.

Cost is the Achilles' heel of proposed nuclear plants, while cost-savings are just one of the virtues of energy efficiency.

Efficiency programs can be scaled up or down as conditions require, and new products and technologies provide a steady stream of diverse opportunities for residential, commercial and industrial customers to voluntarily reduce consumption and save money.

The writers' overheated rhetoric aside, Gov. Martin O'Malley's energy-saving proposals are not "moving toward rationing electricity."

Rationing electricity is what utilities do when demand exceeds supply, and it's called a brownout or a rolling blackout - but these are problems that Marylanders can avoid by making prudent and money-saving investments in energy efficiency today.

Jennifer Thorne Amann

Baltimore

The writer is a senior associate for the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

Campaign shows sexism still key issue

Kathleen Parker says Gloria Steinem's message of gender inequity in America is no longer relevant ("Boomer cries or racism, sexism fail to resonate with young Obama voters," Opinion

Commentary, March 6).

She cites Ms. Steinem's age as further proof that the woman who defined and inspired the modern women's movement is no longer relevant herself.

Although the goals of gender equity have been advanced because of the successes of the women's movement, enhancing opportunities for women and men to be relieved of the restrictions of sex-role stereotyping, the work is not nearly complete when women still earn less than men for the same work; when women are not equally represented on corporate boards or in legislatures; when women's work in the home is not valued; and when women often hit glass ceilings that keep them from advancing as far as they are capable of going.

When a woman running for president is considered cold if she doesn't express emotion and weak if she does, the rules are different for women.

When a woman running for president is continually asked about her "likability" but male candidates are not, the rules are different for women.

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