April 19, 2009

A mixed record on energy, climate

The Baltimore Sun's summaries of the 2009 legislative session contained some glaring omissions on energy and the environment ("ID measure driven home," April 14, and "A session of mixed results," April 12).

One of Gov. Martin O'Malley's top environmental priorities this year was passing a landmark global warming bill. But The Sun's wrap-ups paid little attention to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act, which passed with strong majorities in both chambers and will require statewide reductions in carbon emissions of 25 percent from 2006 levels by 2020.

This bill puts Maryland in the vanguard of states heeding the call of environmental and economic experts to prevent catastrophic climate change and kick-start a clean-energy economy.

The Sun also overlooked the fact that the new state budget will pull about $70 million in revenue that the state will get from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative away from investments in energy efficiency over the next two years.

This will not only impede progress toward the state's goal of reducing energy consumption 15 percent by 2015 but also risk slowing the growth of some of the most promising economic sectors.

I was glad to see coverage of the bill limiting pollution from septic tanks ("Passage of septic measure hailed," April 15).

Energy and climate change, however, are top priorities for Maryland and for our nation, and belong in any summary of our legislature's work this year.

Tommy Landers, Baltimore

The writer is a policy advocate for Environment Maryland.

Rethink support for a tax increase

In the editorial "Happy tax day" (April 15), The Baltimore Sun promotes an increase in taxes.

Need I remind the editors that it seems that all we have heard about recently are the billions of our tax dollars wasted on corporate bailouts and how much of the money ended up in the pockets of fat-cat executives as bonuses?

Or of how the billions spent on an "economic stimulus" were loaded with wasteful pork-barrel spending?

The Sun really needs to rethink its argument about raising taxes.

Patrick Connolly, Abingdon

Make Medicare available to all

I am self-employed, and I have always had to obtain health insurance independently of employers or groups that could reduce the cost.

As I age, I find that the cost of this insurance is increasing at an accelerated rate, even though I have so far enjoyed very good health. I have had to increase my deductible several times so that, while I am still paying a great deal for insurance, I now pay all my routine medical expenses completely out of pocket.

If things continue in this way, I will get to a point where health insurance will be out of my financial reach. I will then join the approximately one in seven people in this country who are uninsured.

Making a public health care option such as participating in Medicare available to all is the only way to guarantee health care for all Americans.

It is long past time to push aside the special-interest groups who frankly don't provide anything resembling decent service but have for so long demanded an ever-increasing percentage of our GDP in the name of profit.

David Gorrie, Gwynn Oak

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