Letters to the Editor

Letters to editor: May 20

TVA agreement on pollution controls deserves praise

Would you feed your baby mercury, formaldehyde or arsenic? Of course not, but you could be exposing them to these toxins every day without even knowing it.

Fossil fuel-burning plants release 386,000 tons of harmful toxins into American communities each year, causing lung damage, cardiovascular disease, asthma, stroke and other illnesses.

In fact, inhaling pollutants is suspected fof causing brain cancer that, even when benign, can be debilitating or deadly.

More and more children are developing brain tumors at an earlier age. Many are found at birth.

Earlier this month, the Tennessee Valley Authority reached a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency to invest in upgraded controls against pollution. This settlement will impact two plants in Kentucky and will help clean the air.

Regulations like this are a first step to forcing all coal-burning plants to obey the Clean Air Act and use proper emissions controls. It is important that these regulations are upheld so that the health of Kentucky's communities can begin to improve and so that we can protect our children from the harmful effects of pollution.

I talk with adult brain tumor survivors and concerned parents of children with brain tumors every day. No doubt contamination from environmental carcinogens is a contributing factor.

Cindy M. Rosser

Outreach coordinator - Michael Quinlan Brain Tumor Foundation at Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky

I would like to share my appreciation for the historic settlement agreements reached among the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency; the states of Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina and environmental groups.

Sometimes we forget that settlement agreements arising from legal disputes illustrate both that the parties have given up something they originally wanted, and that they agreed on the settlement terms.

With this agreement, TVA will invest between $3 billion and $5 billion in emissions controls and coal plant upgrades over the next 10 years.

It is important to point out that Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Ed Whitfield pooh-poohed the agreement.

McConnell, through a spokesperson, said that when the parties settled, it was bad for Kentucky. Huh? The settlement will infuse millions of dollars of pollution controls into Kentucky, improve air quality and protect important natural and historic resources.

Likewise, Whitfield came into the fray as a public observer after the fact, despite his seat on the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

Only he went a bit further by calling the settlement "a prime example of what is wrong with national environmental policy ... I am immensely concerned that this judgment will result in higher costs for electricity."

Now, here's a fellow who connects a private settlement with national policy, and confuses the agreement with a judgment.

Ed Zuger


A 1.5% solution

Which is more important: prescription-drug benefits for retired seniors and student-loan programs or continued subsidies to the five major oil companies?

Easy question to answer, right?

Keep in mind that the subsidies are $2.1 billion, or about 1.5 percent of the projected $140 billion in profits the oil companies are on track to make this year. Profits are what's left after paying all expenses, including salaries and benefits to all employees and executives.

Losing those subsidies would not make the slightest ripple in the financial well-being of those companies, but that $2.1 billion would go a long way to ease the pain and worry of seniors and students who struggle each day to get by.

I'd think big oil could buy more goodwill, positive PR and customer support for that paltry 1.5 percent than it gets from paying hundreds of lobbyists to influence senators and representatives.

Congress is powerless to do anything about the price-gouging these arrogant executives stick to American drivers.

Only we, the consumers, can effectively do anything about the high price of gasoline. We alone can reduce demand by combining trips and walking or biking when possible.

Don't fill your tank, buy just enough gas to get through a few days. If we slow the flow of gasoline into our cars, we'll soon turn rising gas prices into falling gas prices.

Gary Whitaker


Climate 'crisis' costly

This country is consumed by a make-believe climate crisis. Politicians are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on inefficient and costly energy alternatives like wind, solar, ethanol and biofuels. All this wasted expenditure is to stave off a catastrophe that is scientifically untenable.

We have all heard the propaganda maxim of "tell a big lie, repeat it often and people will come to believe it." Unfortunately, we are now being proselytized with such a lie: think green, think renewable energy, save the planet.

Americans are especially vulnerable to such propaganda.

We trust scientists to be seekers of the truth, not agents of fraud; we trust the media to alert us to fraudulent activities by opening a forum where the merits of the science are challenged and not to accept what's offered up as indisputable; and we trust elected officials to protect us from malevolent machinations that endanger our freedoms and not to actively assist purveyors of sedition.

It's said that real life is stranger than fiction. Today we are living a lie created by those who are intent on hobbling this nation and changing our way of life for the worst.

What does it take to expose these liars? All alarmist predictions to date have flopped: 50 million people were not displaced, the Himalayan glaciers will not disappear by 2025, the climate has not warmed for 10 years, snowfall is not decreasing, sea levels are not rising and Al Gore bought oceanfront property.

George Tomaich


What trillions buy

According to estimates, from 2001 to 2008, the people of America spent approximately $1.2 trillion on war.

President George W. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy in 2001 and 2003 added $1.7 trillion to the deficit, and it is estimated that making the tax cuts permanent will cost $4.4 trillion in the next decade, assuming that the tax cuts remain deficit-financed.

Many liberals do not believe tax cuts will expire in 2012 as President Barack Obama promised. And, indeed, Obama has extended tax cuts for the wealthy to the tune of $815 billion for the next decade.

The point in all of this is that these trillions of dollars could have been spent on Medicare or, better yet, a single-payer system of health care, which 80 percent of Americans favored, instead of wasted on dropping bombs on innocent people and giving it to the wealthy who don't need it.

Some way, somehow, we must stop the escalating corruption of our political leaders, which is the root cause of all our problems. The solution to our financial woes is as simple as reintroducing a progressive tax plan — as America had in the past.

But as long as we tolerate leaders who are obsessed with making war and catering to their wealthy benefactors, we are never going to prosper as a nation undivided with liberty and justice for all.

G.K. Thomas