Are pipelines worth it?

The “report” this paper ran applauding the economic benefits of pipeline development does not even mention the extreme costs and risks of these projects ("Report: Pipelines bring economic boost to the region," April 8). Instead, it relies on publications of the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

Pipeline explosions across Ohio have injured people (including children) and killed pets and livestock. Pipelines have taken people’s property, released drilling muds and stormwater runoff, destroyed wetlands and caused ongoing damage to people’s farms and livelihoods. Flaring, noxious odors, noise and increased traffic often make frack pads terrible neighbors.

We are in a global plastics crisis, yet this “report” says nothing of the costs and risks of building more petrochemical complexes (“ethane crackers”). Humans already have microplastics in their excrement and chemicals from plastics in their breast milk. The fossil fuel industry intends to increase plastics production by 40% in the next 10 years. There is no plan for ensuring safe and sustainable management of plastics waste.

Neither federal law nor Ohio has the regulations in place or the resources to prevent or quickly address emergencies from petrochemical development, to assess health risks up-front, to address citizen concerns when they are suffering harm or to track and monitor the environmental impacts of this infrastructure. Ohio already has more infrastructure than it can regulate, leaving citizens to suffer the harm without much help or adequate recourse.

How many of those construction jobs are temporary? How many of them went to local workers?

These are facts the public needs to know to assess the worth of these projects to Ohio.

As an environmental attorney, I see these harms and the human suffering they cause up close every single day. I hope to see more balanced and honest coverage of this serious issue moving forward.

Megan Hunter, Akron

 

Contemptible Congress

The Democrat-controlled Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House has voted Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress. He refuses to release to them the full, unredacted version of Robert Mueller's report, which he is forbidden to do by federal law because it includes grand jury testimony and sensitive national security information. So the supposedly intelligent chairman is asking the attorney general to break the law.

This is nothing more than a game of political “gotcha” and a disgrace to all Americans. It is this kind of ignorant behavior that merits contempt of Congress by all of us, especially by the attorney general. There are too many in Congress who have contempt for the Constitution that they swore to uphold and defend, and that alone should be grounds for their removal.

Robert Umbarger, Munroe Falls

 

Health care puzzle

As the legislative officer for the Ravenna chapter of Public Employees Retirement Inc. (PERI), I read with interest “Steelworkers, retirees picket” (May 9). Currently, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System’s (OPERS) Health Care Fund is receiving attention because “with no changes it will run out of money” in the foreseeable future. OPERS' problems for about 170,000 beneficiaries primarily are due to pre-Medicare retirees. The article did not mention that concept at TimkenSteel.

OPERS' experience was that a Medicare connector service such as AON Retiree Health Exchange saved 39% or about $2,750 per retiree. These services historically save money and place members in optimum plans. The problem in Canton appears to be $295 per month vs. $1,200 per year company subsidies. It does not take a rocket scientist to identify a 66% reduction.

James L. Greener, Ravenna