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Volume 15, Issue 43 ~ October 25 - October 31, 2007

Letters to the Editor

We welcome your opinions and letters – with name and address. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to editor@bayweekly.com. or submit your letters on line, click here


Poo-poo on Poultry

Dear Bay Weekly:

Your Oct. 18 editorial [Don’t Chicken Out on Poultry Policing: Vol. xv, No. 42] calling attention to the ongoing problem of the poultry industry flooding the Chesapeake Bay with nitrates was spot-on. The technology and processes exist right now to mitigate this problem — if our legislators and the executive branch would just step up and act.  

It is ridiculous to think that spot-checking poultry operations and levying $350 fines will have any meaningful impact. Enforcement has to be funded, and there have to be penalties that will make the offenders see that it is in their best interests to act responsibly.

Aside from the need to act to protect the Bay, I am sure there are many responsible poultry operators now that are forced to suffer a competitive disadvantage because they take on added expenses to manage manure and other byproducts. Leveling the playing field would best reward their efforts.

–Leslie Dickey, Prince Frederick

Nukes Are Not the Way

Dear Bay Weekly:

As the reality of climate change finally provokes a crisis in the United States, the nuclear power industry declares its process to be clean, safe and financially feasible. Alas, it is none of these.

Production or reprocessing of nuclear fuel is dirty and dangerous. Uranium enrichment (an integral part of the nuclear fuel cycle) releases massive amounts of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons. In reprocessing sites around the world, end products include volatile liquid residues extremely hard to store safely. Significant radioactivity has been released into the air, land and water.

The economics of nuclear power are complex yet predictable. Cost estimates need to include not only the enormous $5 to $8 billion construction expenses, but also nuclear waste storage and eventual plant decommissioning costs.

Nuclear industry leaders admit that new plants cannot be built without large taxpayer subsidies. Banks won’t risk the necessary loans. And the entire U.S. nuclear industry is also protected from excessive accident liability by the Price-Anderson Act.

Here in Southern Maryland, the Calvert County Board of Commissioners has already granted UniStar Nuclear $300 million in tax breaks if it builds a third large reactor at Calvert Cliffs. UniStar is a joint venture of Constellation Energy Group and AREVA, the French state-owned energy monopoly.

Congress is now poised to consider giving the nuclear industry 100 percent loan guarantees on construction and start-up costs for new reactors. Under the program, U.S. taxpayers would be required to cover any loan defaults, whose likelihood the Congressional Budget Office found is “very high — well above 50 percent.”

Consequently, I urge our representatives to vote against further subsidizing of the nuclear industry. Rather, I want our government — federal, state, local — to invest in energy conservation and efficiency to best protect our climate and our health.

–Frank L. Fox, Mechanicsville

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