Lately there have been many items in the news concerning water. The extreme drought in California and other Western states, the toxic chemical spill into a West Virginia river, Charleston’s drinking water source, Akron’s struggle with combined sewer overflows and the ongoing controversy over hydraulic fracturing and injection wells are just a few examples. If we’re paying attention, there are some good lessons to be learned.
Humans cannot survive more than a few days without potable water. It’s a basic necessity and a human right, not some commodity for those who can afford it. It’s a renewable resource, and, as such, it belongs to future generations as much as it belongs to us.
While water covers 70 percent of the surface of our planet, only a tiny fraction, less than 1 percent, of all water is accessible, renewable and potable. It’s not an infinite source, but a renewable resource.
It is much cheaper to keep water clean in the first place than to pay to clean it up. Taxpayer- or ratepayer-funded cleanups should drive home that point.
We should not solely rely on politically connected industries, governmental or quasi-governmental agencies to police this resource. The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District’s bulk water sales to the hydraulic fracturing industry, plus the partial funding of the Oil and Gas Division of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources by that same industry, have as much to do with budgets as with the conservation of clean water.
It is incredibly shortsighted to allow the extreme, high-pressure injection of permanently contaminated water into a nonhomogeneous earth, even using cement and steel casings. Hearing Department of Natural Resources geologists talking about the safety of such wells without using a truly geologic timeline is almost laughable, were it not so serious.
It should already be evident that simple economics will show that the perpetual supply of clean water is far more valuable than a 20-year supply of a nonrenewable energy resource. It will also benefit far more of humanity.
With approximately 21 percent of the world’s accessible, potable water, it is only a matter of time until the entire Great Lakes watershed is placed into some type of world resource zone to actually protect and preserve it. Other parts of the world aren’t nearly as water-wealthy.
Given an ultimate choice of two rooms, one filled to the rafters with gold and one filled with a gallon of clean water, the fool will be dead in four to five days while the wise will live to make other choices. Which one are we going to be?
Joseph A. Mosyjowski
Protect children in the womb
The Feb. 11 editorial “Overreach on abortion” focused on legislation to protect infants from being aborted. Obviously, your focus was, instead, on the health and welfare of the mother.
Legislators should be applauded for their efforts to protect the lives of children still in the womb. Shame on those physicians who continue to violate the Hippocratic oath.
Give life the chance that God planned. Who knows, that child in the womb someday could be a president, scientist, teacher or great philosopher?
More welfare, less work
In response to the Feb. 7 editorial “Free to choose,” with the sub-headline “The Affordable Care Act brings a dose of helpful mobility to the work force,” I can only quote our last great president, Ronald Reagan, who said, “There you go again.”
Your positions of decrying the lack of jobs and resulting income inequality then haranguing about the need for ever-more welfare are contradictory.
Paying people not to work will result in less work, and less work will result in less growth, smaller incomes, less opportunity and higher inequality. That will make the quest for more welfare all that much more impossible to afford.
Even worse than the economic effects of such supposedly progressive policies are the ethical and moral implications.
Leading the cheers for less work and continuously giving people fish rather than teaching them how to fish is simply abhorrent. It leads to the eternal “poverty trap” that you never tire of railing against.
While a temporary safety net is necessary, as well as ethically and morally correct in our dynamic economy, proscribing polices that pay people not to work is both the antithesis of the American Dream and a primary reason for the “learned helplessness” that is now so endemic in our society.
In fact, one could go so far as to call this intentional poverty entrapment by the state.
Landfill of burning questions
The Feb. 7 article “Landfill’s problems continue” reminded us of the underground chemical reactions at Countywide Recycling & Disposal Facility’s Pike Township landfill. The reactions produce seemingly unstoppable underground fires.
The company’s environmental manager, Michael Darnell, used the word “stable” to describe these dangerous conditions. However, as Ohio Environmental Protection Agency officials have stated, there is no way of knowing if the high temperatures from the fires have compromised the landfill’s protective liner.
These fires have persisted for the past eight years with no signs of stopping. If the Ohio EPA cannot determine the status of the liner, how can any part of this situation be labeled as “stable”? What do the company, the county and the Ohio EPA plan to do to lower temperatures so that the surrounding communities are protected?
The article implies there are air, temperature and ground water monitoring tools in and around the landfill. I believe this is essential, but I also see it acting as a crutch if those responsible do not actively work to reduce and eliminate the fires.
Monitoring helps us understand if there is a detected change or a problem, but it is not necessarily helpful in preventing those problems. If ground water becomes contaminated, replacing water supplies will be costly. In the meantime, citizens would worry about what the contamination might mean for them in the long term.
The General Assembly passed regulations in 2012, as suggested by the Ohio EPA, which prohibit owners and operators from disposing of solid waste “commingled with secondary aluminum waste” or from disposing secondary aluminum waste outside of a “monocell or monofill” for that purpose.
We still need to focus on older landfills that cause these hazardous fires so that we can protect our environment and communities.
I believe the people living near the landfill would sleep better knowing their elected leaders and corporate bigwigs are actively proposing and pursuing ideas to put this fire to rest.
The woman who anonymously helped Jamela Lott is truly a Christian. This is what Christ taught us, to do good because it is good, and for no other reason.
The woman who helped should be blessed forever.
Path to employment
Don’t send an elephant to the store to bring home peanuts; all you’ll get is peanut shells.
With Republicans in the majority in the U.S. House, we have seen four years of gridlock, and, as a result, the middle-class people who voted for Republicans in 2010 and 2012 were given peanut shells.
As Democrats, and more important, as Americans, we have a social responsibility to help people make the transition from unemployment to full-time jobs. When a worker loses his or her job, there should never be a debate about unemployment insurance.
There is nothing wrong with a person wanting to get a bachelor’s degree, but in recent years, we are seeing students with four-year degrees unable to find work in their field, let alone work in general.
The U.S. needs to push students and displaced workers to attend two-year schools to learn fundamentals for various vocations, such as business administration to medical coding.
After a few years, they could finish a degree to become a doctor, lawyer, teacher or the president of a Fortune 500 company.