Everything is local, except if we are talking about the agreement reached by the Center for Sustainable Shale Development.
In June 16 commentary, “Ohio’s big experiment in fracking,” Neal Peirce relates that, “Now there’s apparently broad support in Ohio for the remarkable new agreement between drilling interests and environmentalists.” In fact, environmental and conservation groups based in Ohio were not consulted for this article nor did they have representation during the center’s negotiations.
Environmental groups in Ohio issued press releases and made statements to this fact shortly after the release of the center’s report and recommendations. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the state agency which regulates the oil and gas industry, stated that it had no knowledge of the negotiation or recommendations, either.
We are extremely offended that the members of the center would presume to speak for us and the citizens of the state of Ohio, and we are puzzled how the national press could misinterpret our strong opposition.
We do not feel that the voluntary measures suggested in the center’s report, or recent regulations, adequately protect our land, air, water and health.
As Ohio communities continue to struggle with environmental devastation, lack of enforcement and regulations and harm to their health, most Ohio environmental groups have repeatedly called for a moratorium (and some for an outright ban) on future deep shale drilling permits in the state of Ohio.
Executive director, Buckeye Forest Council
Editor’s note: This letter also reflects the positions of the Ohio Environmental Council and the Ohio chapter of the Sierra Club.
Balanced budget, or else
Cars and houses are selling. Restaurants are full. The stock market is booming. So times are good, right?
How about the thousands without jobs and those trying to live on wages barely above minimum wage?
We don’t hear much about it these days, but we are nearly $17 trillion in debt, which is steadily increasing because we continue to add to the debt. Lenders such as China are becoming reluctant to continue to loan us money to cover the deficit.
Therefore, the Fed must print currency which is not backed by anything tangible.
So far, there seems to be no serious effect on our inflation rate, but simple reasoning tells us that we cannot continue on this path without incurring disastrous results.
Because of our troubling economic situation, some of our trading partners are already looking for a different method of settling accounts without the dollar, which at one time was considered as good as gold. No one knows just when our situation will becomes disastrous. We hope it will be later rather than sooner.
There is still time to reverse this road to disaster. We must begin to spend only what we can afford.
But balancing the budget requires that we adjust entitlements — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. This would surely anger voters and would result in the responsible political party being rejected at the polls.
There is a possible solution. A truly bipartisan agreement on a balanced budget would prevent the economic disaster. That would eliminate blame on either political party for the resulting austerity.
Bring rigor to teaching teachers
Did the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Prep Review tell us anything that most of us did not already know? (“New study questions teaching programs,” June 19.) I think not.
So many colleges of education grant fraudulent degrees that consist of courses that are so shallow and empty that they could be taken over the telephone. Many professors are not depositories of knowledge. They claim to know how to teach a subject, but often are not educated about the subject much above the intermediate level of course work.
Tuition for these shallow and empty courses should not be as high as more legitimate university courses that have much more substance.
This is where discount clearance prices should be in place. There is so much repetition and little substance.
Many of the courses in education administration are perhaps the most glaring examples of these same weaknesses. Degrees in special education are another example.
If it were not for state certification, the colleges of education would shrivel up and disintegrate. It is shameful that so much public money is used to support these parts of larger universities. The graduate degrees are so wasteful and lacking substance they are laughable.
“Make it and take it” courses are proof of how little intellectual substance is to be found in these courses. So many of the courses are at the level of cake baking without a recipe.
There should be much more intellectual rigor in the education programs with something similar to a bar exam to be taken and passed by people seeking a career in education.
David J. Gruccio
Full disclosure for fracking
The fracking issue in northern Ohio has become so polarized and complicated that even the most common-sense idea can suffer.
Current regulations allow fracking operators to withhold chemical trade secret information.
In the event of an accident, like a spill, leak or fire, neither the general public nor emergency workers will know what they are up against.
This seems ridiculous, no matter how you come down on the fracking issue itself.
I have worked with many companies in the paint and coatings industry in Cleveland. Regulations that require identifying hazardous chemicals have improved worker safety. The regulations have also spurred innovations to develop safer solutions.
While I am not an expert on fracking, and am undecided about its benefits, my wife and daughter are hospital emergency workers, and I support legislation requiring full disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking process. It makes sense for Ohio, our residents and our emergency workers.