Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 10, 2008

Green energy plan creates more jobs

Sen. John McCain said Tuesday in Michigan that new nuclear reactors mean "new jobs." Marylanders need look no further than the proposed third reactor at Calvert Cliffs to see what nuclear power really means in terms of jobs.

According to a study by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, we could create 12,000 "green" jobs in the state by 2025 by investing in energy efficiency, combined heat and power technology and better management of our transmission system.

Or we could, as UniStar/Constellation Energy propose, build a third reactor at Calvert Cliffs and create 4,000 temporary construction jobs at the brief peak of building activity and 360 permanent jobs - at a cost of $10 billion ("Nuclear plant hearing today," Aug. 4).

If Mr. McCain - and Maryland officials such as Gov. Martin O'Malley who mimic his approach - are seriously interested in creating jobs, they should drop the nuclear power nonsense and get to work implementing an energy policy using the technologies of the 21st century: energy efficiency; solar, wind and geothermal power; smart power grids; and distributed generation.

Such a policy would be safer, cleaner and cheaper - and create far more good, lasting jobs with a future.

Michael Mariotte, Takoma Park

The writer is executive director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service.

Congress must act to stop warming

The new report on the imminent dangers of global warming to Maryland ("Climate report forecasts smaller, hotter Maryland," Aug. 3) causes me to wonder: When will my country take action?

Individual actions alone cannot solve global warming: We need a concerted, national plan of action, complete with specific emission-reduction goals.

Congress has not yet passed global warming legislation that would reduce our national carbon footprint. Our elected officials need to step up to the plate.

The long-term consequences of global warming are too great to ignore, and achieving meaningful reductions in our carbon footprint requires immediate, significant action.

I call on Maryland's congressional representatives to pass strong global warming legislation to send to the new president within months of his taking office.

Elizabeth Himeles, Baltimore

The writer is an intern for Environment Maryland.

Ethanol isn't cause of food price hikes

The Sun's editorial "Ethanol's toll" (July 31) was seriously unbalanced and flawed.

The opening paragraph cites the profit squeeze on Eastern Shore poultry producers and chicken raisers from the high price of corn. While that may be true, the article should have balanced it against the benefits of high prices to Eastern Shore corn growers.

Contrary to the argument in the editorial, it is far from clear that ethanol is the root cause of high corn prices.

The prices of many commodities have gone up as the value of the dollar has tanked against other currencies.

The editorial should have considered other factors that help explain rising food prices.

While tax credits and other benefits - which were deemed necessary to help develop an alternative to the entrenched oil industry - are available for ethanol, the editorial also should have noted that these incentives pale in comparison with the range of benefits available to the petroleum industry.

Joseph A. Mulloney Jr., Cockeysville

The writer is an energy engineer and president of an energy consulting firm.

Tribunals unfair to the accused

The Sun's editorial "Questionable justice" (Aug. 7) accurately describes the dubious process employed in Salim Hamdan's trial by military commission.

Future trials of Guantanamo detainees should be conducted by military commissions only when sensitive national security information would be divulged in a public trial.

In most cases, the federal courts have proved capable of trying alleged terrorists without revealing national security information and of striking the appropriate balance between national security and civil liberty.

Carl Tobias, Richmond, Va.

The writer is a professor of law at the University of Richmond.

Who watches those watching weapons?

While questions certainly remain about the anthrax investigation, one thing is clear: The government employed someone with severe mental illness to work on a germ warfare program ("All files pointed to Ivins, FBI says," Aug. 7).

One can feel sympathy for the subject of the investigation and his problems. But I can't help but wonder if other weapons programs, including our nuclear weapons program, are being safeguarded by paranoiacs and psychotics.

Who is watching the government agents who are watching the store?

Jonathan Harlow, Phoenix

Ignoring poisons back here on Earth

In last week's interplanetary news, we learned that NASA's Phoenix lander has discovered the toxic chemical perchlorate, an oxidizing agent, in the soil near the north pole of Mars, dimming hopes for discovering life on the red planet.

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