Letters to the Editor

Kentucky American Water bill defended. Plus, views on real (climate, guns) and false (wall) emergencies.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was releasing a high volume of water from Wolf Creek Dam Wolf on Lake Cumberland on Feb. 20, 2019 after heavy rain pushed up the lake level.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was releasing a high volume of water from Wolf Creek Dam Wolf on Lake Cumberland on Feb. 20, 2019 after heavy rain pushed up the lake level. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Kentucky American bill defended

Recent comments in an article and editorial on proposed legislation in Kentucky get it completely wrong. The reality is that Senate Bill 163 benefits municipalities struggling to provide safe and reliable water and wastewater services to residents, which is all too common in Kentucky and across the country.

The legislation would allow communities to maximize the value of their water system assets — generating funds for other priority services, from schools and law enforcement to fixing roads or meeting pension fund obligations. Similar measures are already in place in 10 states, ensuring urgent infrastructure investments are made and providing communities with greater water system expertise.

Studies, including one published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, have definitively shown the drinking water provided by companies like Kentucky American Water is of higher quality than that provided by government-operated systems.

So fair market value is truly a win-win-win for all involved. Residents get high-quality water service from a company whose professional workforce is solely focused on delivering those services. The water and wastewater systems benefit from operational expertise and infrastructure investment. And municipalities get a better deal for their assets and are able to put capital toward other local priorities.

Robert Powelson, President/CEO, National Association of Water Companies, Washington, D.C.

Real emergency coming

It is an awesome responsibility the Army Corps of Engineers has to manage the river system in the Ohio Valley during climate change-enhanced rain events. Dad used to call the series of soaking storms “train rains” because they follow one after another. The technical term now used is atmospheric rivers, which helps people to visualize what’s actually happening.

A warming climate carries more moisture in the atmosphere, meaning more rain, also meaning deciding when and where to hold back rivers and lakes for flood management is even more critical. Nobody notices the floods that don’t happen, but there is always plenty of blame to pass around when Mother Nature overwhelms the flood-control system.

We have a president crying wolf at the southern border when the real wolf may be flooding in the Ohio Valley. Please, Sen. Mitch McConnell, don’t let President Donald Trump steal funds the Army Corps of Engineers could use to mitigate flooding in Kentucky. A real emergency will occur, and if we allow resources to be diverted now we certainly won’t be prepared when it does.

Ray Tucker, Somerset

Want more gun violence?

The Kentucky House is considering a National Rifle Association-backed bill which would eliminate the state requirement to get a permit to conceal a loaded gun in public, even though 88 percent of Americans believe we should get a permit before doing so.

Kentuckians wanting to hide a loaded firearm on their person or in their purse or backpack wouldn’t have to get a background check (which would deny convicted felons and convicted domestic abusers a permit), exhibit shooting accuracy, or be educated on state gun laws or gun safety — all steps to qualifying for concealed-carry permits.

Law enforcement, then, wouldn’t be able to check the state files to assess if someone has a concealed-carry permit and, unsurprisingly, many Kentucky officers have publicly expressed opposition to permitless concealed carry.

Since Arizona, Missouri, and Alaska passed permitless-carry legislation, all three states have experienced marked increases in aggravated assaults committed with firearms. We don’t want to add Kentucky to that list of states with documented elevations in gun violence.

Please tell your state legislators to vote no on permitless concealed-carry in Kentucky by opposing Senate Bill 150/House Bill 327.

Laura Johnsrude, Volunteer, Kentucky Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Prospect

Grim anniversary

On the first anniversary of the Parkland massacre, the Herald-Leader’s headline tells us that the National Rifle Association is pushing a bill to allow permitless concealed carry of guns (“NRA pushes bill to allow permitless concealed guns”, Feb. 14) in Kentucky. What has this world come to?

Erica Smith, Canada

‘Non Sequitur’ fan

Please keep the “Non Sequitur” comic in the paper. I look forward to seeing it every day. It’s very insightful and thought-provoking.

Phil Pruitt, Lexington

Note to Trump

Memo to President Donald Trump: The practice of forcing people to work without pay is called slavery.

William S. Watts, Lexington