August 31, 2008

Drilling for offshore oil a bad bet for consumers

At a time when more and more of our elected officials are suggesting that we end the moratorium on offshore drilling, it was refreshing to read the editorial "Gambling on black gold" (Aug 26). So thank you for calling attention to the role that oil speculation has played in rising gas prices and for urging Congress to regulate these markets more closely.

Drilling for oil off our coasts and in our last protected places would be a destructive policy that would put our environment at risk while failing to reduce the costs to consumers at the pump.

Experts say closing the loopholes that are allowing speculators to exploit us could reduce gas prices by as much as 40 percent.

At the same time, the Bush administration's own Department of Energy admits drilling off our coasts would do little to lower gas prices in the near term.

Big oil and its allies have been in charge of America's energy policy for decades, and American families are suffering for it.

Congress must act now to give Americans real energy choices that will bring down our energy costs and fight global warming.

Shannon Darrow, Baltimore

The writer is field director for Environment Maryland.

Money shouldn't defeat outstanding candidates

Reading about Sen. Joe Biden, I was saddened to learn that the main reason he pulled out of the presidential primary race was lack of money ("Reversals of fortune never kept Joe Biden down," Aug. 26).

What a sad commentary on the politics of our country it is when a candidate can only get known and possibly elected if he or she has the money to back up his or her message.

We all know that receiving money entails some kind of payback in the future.

And if you think for one minute that Sen. Barack Obama and all the others who are raising big money aren't going to be called upon for payback in the future, you are really fooling yourself.

This nation needs to find another method of electing our officials.

Patricia McLaughlin, Joppa

Future of high court could be critical issue

I wonder how many voters have any idea about what could be the longest-lasting effect of having another Republican president.

Having a balanced Supreme Court is essential in keeping personal rights intact and preventing unnecessary governmental intrusion into the lives of American citizens.

In the next four years, there will probably be at least two vacancies on the Supreme Court.

If a Republican is elected and adds more extreme right-wing conservatives to the court (which he would), the effects would last decades.

Arlene Gordon, Baltimore

Where's the outrage over 'losing Georgia'?

Russia has just done something it hasn't done in the last 50 years: effectively take new territory. While the United States is distracted in Iraq, Russia has effectively annexed two regions of Georgia ("Russia recognizes 2 breakaway states," Aug. 27).

Where is the outrage from the right?

If Al Gore or Sen. John Kerry was president, there would be calls for action or impeachment against them for "losing Georgia."

Where is the outrage today?

Jim Martin, Baltimore

Trees posed a threat to vital local business

I want to know why a group of volunteers has the right to plant almost 200 trees that would have blocked the view of a nearby property owner who spent $1.6 million to purchase a restaurant that is not only very beneficial to the community but also provides large tax benefits to the county.

All the restaurant owner wanted to do is protect his very desirable view for everyone to enjoy.

A Baltimore Sun headline suggests that the "Removal of young trees outrages community" (Aug. 26).

Well, I am a member of this community, and I am not outraged at the removal of these trees.

I am outraged at the fact that they were planted in the first place without consulting the restaurant owner.

It is time for the do-gooders of this community to take into consideration the feelings other people may have about their misguided projects.

Walter Boyd, Baltimore

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