The Baltimore Sun

States have right to curb emissions

The U.S. auto industry's declaration that efforts by Maryland and other states to fight global warming are "unworkable" is not only incorrect but stands on flawed legal reasoning ("EPA gets push on emissions controls," Aug. 13).

Industry lawsuits against states seeking to limit tailpipe emissions rest on two major premises: that state standards somehow interfere with federal authority to issue fuel economy standards and that they somehow usurp federal authority to conduct foreign policy regarding climate issues.

But this spring, in the case of Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court made a firm distinction between health-based policies intended to curb global warming and separate policies that improve fuel economy.

Meanwhile, as the state of California pointed out in recent court filings, the State Department's Fourth U.S. Climate Action Report, far from taking umbrage at that state's actions, approvingly cites them as one of many "nonfederal climate change activities that are vital for the success of emission reduction policies."

It is no wonder that, given its flawed position, the auto industry ends up focusing so much attention on hyperbolic claims about the cost of state regulations - claims that have nothing to do with the legal argument at hand.

Maryland, California and other states are on strong legal ground as they work to spur nationwide production of cleaner cars and to help stop global warming.

Jennifer Bradley


The writer is an attorney for Community Rights Counsel, a law firm that works to defend environmental regulations and filed a brief for the state in the case of Massachusetts v. EPA.

Recall production to U.S. factories

After reading recent news about more toys made in China being recalled, I hope no one gets seriously hurt or killed by the faulty products ("Rising Tide of Unsafe Imports," Aug. 15). However, I also hope each and every company that has a product recalled takes a hard hit in the pocketbook.

The companies that have products manufactured in China are there to save money and increase profits - that is their main concern, not building quality products.

I remember as a kid buying Hot Wheels and Mattel products when they were made here in America.

And the next great recall I would like to see is the return of manufacturing jobs to the United States, where quality and pride were built into each product that left the factory.

As a long as U.S. companies continue to do business with China, we will continue to be at risk from faulty tires, toys and food products.

Tim Longmire


Cheap labor carries costs to our health

I may be a little dense. But it would seem to me that we could avoid a lot of these product recalls if we would stop outsourcing production and manufacture more items in this country ("Rising Tide of Unsafe Imports," Aug. 15).

But could it be that the manufacturing companies are more interested in making money through cheap labor in other countries than our health?

Pat Ragin


Firing immigrants could cause crime

I can only imagine one plausible explanation for the administration's talk of a crackdown on those who hire illegal immigrants, which employers have warned could lead to mass firings: The administration is bluffing ("Employers wary of crackdown," Aug. 11).

It must be. The unintended consequences of a real crackdown on hiring illegals would simply be too great.

Much has been said of the price we would pay for crops lying "unpicked" in the fields, as corporations dismiss crews that tend to those crops or as construction crews disappear in the middle of projects.

But I can envision an even greater price.

Imagine some very large number of illegal immigrants - a million, many millions.

As we enforce the foolish crackdown now under discussion, some very large number of suddenly out-of-work fathers and mothers could be required to do things - often illegal things - to support themselves and their children.

Do we really want to create a new underclass of people with few choices other than crime?

Stanley L. Rodbell


No need to subsidize failing racing firms

Let's be honest: Slots at race tracks have little to do with saving the horse racing industry. They are really about gambling and balancing the state budget ("Report makes case for slots," Aug. 15).

The majority of slots players could not care less about horse racing. Their interest is in gambling at the slots.

And who cares about saving the horse racing industry?

Time marches on. If any industry, including racing, cannot sustain itself, why should the state use gambling to save it?

Personally, I am against slot machines and other forms of gambling endorsed by the state because of their negative economic impact on the poor and on those who suffer from gambling addiction and the subsequent burden gambling puts on the taxpayers.

However, if slot machine gambling is to be imposed on Maryland then, at the very least, 100 percent of the revenue should accrue to the state treasury - and not to the racing and gambling interests.

Ed Craven


When will state tire of Democrats' mess?

Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. was elected, in part, on a pro-slots platform.

His argument was that slots were needed to raise revenue, save the horse racing industry and keep Maryland dollars from going to surrounding states which allow legal slots.

But the Democratic-led General Assembly, led by obstructionist House Speaker Michael E. Busch, repeatedly refused to approve slots.

Now Gov. Martin O'Malley has suggested that Maryland needs slots to raise revenue, save the racing industry and keep Maryland dollars from going to surrounding states ("Report makes case for Md. slots," Aug. 15).

And now I expect that the General Assembly will, belatedly, approve slots.

But when will Marylanders get fed up with the power-for-power's-sake agenda of the Democrats?

Dennis Sirman

Selbyville, Del.

Program improves odds for ex-felons

The reading program for fathers and their children at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup does a lot more than "motivate the prisoners to behave" ("'This lets us escape,'" Aug. 12).

Statistics show that a child with a parent in prison has a 70 percent chance of also going to prison someday.

This program - which is funded by the inmates by making and selling submarine sandwiches - may lower the odds.

Preserving the family unit also can have an effect on the recidivism rates.

And programs like this one offer children and parents a glimpse of better choices for their lives.

Val Hymes


The writer is coordinator of the prison ministry task force for the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

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