End the denial; mitigate damages from fossil fuels
I applaud Tom Eblen's column on cleaning up coal for his balanced approach to a very serious environmental problem.
It is not widely known that our federal government has for some time dispatched environmental scientists and technicians to China to find ways to use coal in environmentally safer ways.
The Chinese government has taken a pragmatic view. It understands the damage done to the environment and that, while it needs to stop using coal, that future is still a long way down the road. It is trying to mitigate the damages caused in the meantime.
In Kentucky and other parts of this country we remained blind to what burning fossil fuels is doing to our environment. Too many believe global climate change is just a figment of the imagination or a federal government conspiracy to enforce restrictions on the way fossil fuels are used.
New federal requirements that will lead to somewhat higher power costs for all of us are just part of the general mistrust. There needs to be a far greater level of cooperation and understanding between local and federal agencies and the general public.
Government is staffed by individuals who, for the most part, are hard-working, honest and just want to do the best job possible. This is also true about presidents and members of Congress.
To imply that members of a particular party are trying to destroy the country is naiveté at the highest level. Forego petty partisan politics and make this country what it really can be.
More KU surcharges?
As a Kentucky Utilities customer, I received a letter about its request to the Kentucky Public Service Commission for a surcharge increase of 1.5 percent in 2012 with a maximum increase of 12.2 percent in 2016.
As a residential customer already paying an environmental surcharge of 3.46 percent, I think this additional increase will be a hardship on all KU customers.
The letter explains that this increase is to comply with federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations and for the installation of a particulate matter control system at the Brown and Ghent plants.
The cost is $1.1 billion. In addition, KU states additional costs will be "additional operations and maintenance expenses."
I am petitioning the PSC to look into all projected costs for this project and proposed operations and maintenance expenses.
Current customers already pay an environmental surcharge. If this existing surcharge has covered the installation of environmental controls and the costs have been recovered, then this current rate should go down.
Is the PSC tracking when other past environmental controls have been installed and the installation costs have been recovered?
All projected costs for this proposed increase should be referred to a third party for review of projected costs. An independent auditor or qualified PSC employee should oversee an audit of this proposed increase since the PSC has the final say on cost increases.
Hello, ladies and gentlemen: What part of STOP don't you understand? The signs are there for a reason, please obey them.
Pamela L. Sallee
Profits vs. health
The Commonwealth Fund has published a June 2011 study of Medicaid managed care plans. The news is not good, but it is not surprising.
This study found that "publicly traded plans that focused primarily on Medicaid enrollees paid out the lowest percentage of their Medicaid premium revenues in medical expenses and reported the highest percentage in administrative expenses."
The study by M.J. McCue and M.H. Bailit also found that the for-profit plans scored lower on quality, preventive care, treatment of chronic conditions, members' access to care and customer service.
Kentucky has just handed over the care of our most vulnerable citizens to such companies. What do we expect to happen when for-profit companies are paid a flat rate per person? There will be a built-in financial incentive to boost profits by denying care.
When will we learn what the rest of the industrialized world learned long ago — that health care is too precious to be entrusted to profit-making enterprises? Profit-seeking inevitably distorts care and diverts resources from patients to investors.
We could cover everyone while reining in the costs if we would move to a single-payer system as embodied in HR 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. We have to stiffen our spines, stand up to corporations and get it done.
Change crane decision
Over the years, hunters and wildlife viewers of this state had an excellent relationship. They have worked together to promote the conservation of wildlife and yet permit recreational hunting.
This relationship has been promoted by Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, allowing hunters to kill deer, turkeys, squirrels, rabbits, ducks and geese. All are plentiful and historically hunted.
Suddenly and inexplicably the department issued a controversial regulation. The sandhill crane was formerly considered endangered in Kentucky and has not been hunted in almost 100 years. It is still considered endangered in Ohio.
Some now feel it is not endangered in Kentucky, but there are no data that assure they are plentiful enough to justify killing.
The department's regulation is opposed by many of my hunter friends. They recognize the harmonious relationship between wildlife viewers and hunters. They know a constant conflict between the two groups will harm hunters.
Just as the Tennessee department overruled itself on this issue, so should Kentucky's. It is urgent before Aug. 1 for hunters and non-hunters who oppose hunting cranes to send letters to KDFWR in Frankfort or e-mail email@example.com.
Also, contact your senator, representative and Gov. Steve Beshear through Lrc.ky.gov. Ask lawmakers to ensure that KDFWR lives up to its mission to manage wildlife for all citizens, not simply for those who hunt this majestic bird.
Dereliction of duties
Sen. Mitch McConnell's public position of not legitimately pursuing his duties as long as the duly elected president of the United States holds office seems to me to border on impeachable malfeasance. I am pretty sure that in the military such a declaration that you were going to take your ball and go home and not do your duties because you were pursuing a personal vendetta to have your commanding officer removed would be a court-martial offense. Shame he can't live up to the same standards.
David L. Arnold
If a soldier said he was not going to do his job unless he had a new commander he would be guilty of dereliction of duty, or worse. What is the difference when Republican elected officials refuse to do their jobs, in the words of Sen. Mitch McConnell, "as long as this president is in office?"