Baltimore Sun Letters to the Editor
Dan Rodrick’s tribute to Bob Bruninga is fitting (“The Remarkable Bob Bruninga Believed We Could Lick Our Addiction to Fossil Fuels,” March 8). But licking our addiction to fuel does not equate to eliminating our need for oil. According to the University of Wisconsin, in 2018, 19% of U.S. crude oil was used for gasoline, 11% for diesel fuel, 4% for jet fuel, and 1% for heating oil.
The remaining 65% is used to produce the tires, battery casing, fibers and seat foams and plastics on Mr. Bruninga’s interesting cars, not to mention the asphalt roads he has driven on. In fact, in addition to most plastics, many pharmaceuticals, the gases used to produce steel and glass, even the ink used to write and print Mr. Rodrick’s columns are by-products of the crude oil.
Yes, conservation is essential to preserving our way of life. But wind, solar or nuclear cannot produce any of these essential by-products. And a cleaner environment will not result in the export of “dirty” industries to China, India and Russia, as the net global carbon footprint would be zero. In the West, we face the challenge of developing truly clean and optimal energy use, simply because no one else can and wants to do it.
Warren Hartenstine, Haven of Grace
Small businesses are a key part of Baltimore’s and the entire state’s economy, but many of these business owners face tight budgets and struggle to provide benefits for their employees. This is especially true when it comes to health insurance; often the cost of hedging is beyond their reach.
A bill pending in the General Assembly (HB 709/SB 632) would contribute to this. He would establish a new state fund that would provide up to $45 million a year in grants to help small businesses provide health insurance for their employees. It would help many more Marylanders get affordable health coverage, give them peace of mind, and ensure they have access to the care they need.
This bill would also benefit business owners; employees with good benefits are more loyal and likely to stay at work, reducing turnover costs. As more Marylanders are insured, unpaid health care costs go down, reducing overall costs for everyone. This bill is a win for small business, a win for workers, and a win for our entire state. I urge the General Assembly to stand with small business and make it law.
Jasmine Shaw, Baltimore
I’m writing in response to the article titled “Could ‘smart surfaces’ keep Baltimore cool (and healthy)?” published on March 8. Low-income neighborhoods in cities overheat disproportionately and face far worse side effects than more affluent communities. The distribution of inequalities is clear: neighborhoods filled with lush trees are highly protected above those with bare front yards.
Thinking long-term, smarter surfaces would reduce overall heat, leading to increased outdoor activities, lower obesity rates, lower energy bills, air pollution, and hospitalizations. All positive, but will this infrastructure upgrade invite new, wealthier members of the community to drive the current population out of town? I also think that the reasoning that smart surfaces also benefit tourists is once again undermining struggling communities.
But if we can muster enough community support, from tourists and residents, we could make Baltimore cooler and healthier together.
Penny Naden, Baltimore
America’s thirst for gasoline is coming to fruition. One of the contributing issues, besides the type of vehicle we drive, is the fact that far too many people who don’t work remotely have committed to living away from their workplace. To hell with the environment, they love living in rural areas of a state – or even a neighboring state – far from the metropolis where they are employed.
People never mind settling in for an hour’s ride before, as they discovered digital ways to make driving time productive, daytime, and local governments looked for ways to increase lanes of highways and main roads. The idea of electric cars is an ideal dream, but there are a lot of bugs to iron out.
Now, rising gas prices are hitting home, and it’s time for all Americans to reconsider their commute and realize that they really need to be closer to where they work, shop, and go. services such as daycare.
Georgia Corso, Baltimore
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