Putting conservation into conservatives

Gov. Deal (WABE, 14 Nov 2012) temporarily forgot that “conservative” includes conserving something, like Theodore Roosevelt and national parks, or when Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge which also administers Banks Lake, when Richard Nixon started the EPA, and when Jimmy Carter signed the Soil and Water Conservation Act. If Gov. Deal wants to call conservation “liberal,” I’m happy to be a liberal working for water for our state!

Georgia Water Coalition’s Dirty Dozen listed the biggest boondoggle of all as #11: the nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle that suck up more water from the Savannah River than all local agriculture and almost as much as the City of Savannah.

If the new Plant Vogtle nukes are ever completed, all four will use more water than Savannah.

In 2009, the legislature approved and Gov. Deal signed a law letting Georgia Power charge its  customers in advance for building that boondoggle, to the tune of about $1.5 billion so far!

Let’s not forget nuclear Plant Hatch sucking up water and heating the Altamaha, while coal Plant Scherer, at Juliette near Macon, the country’s dirtiest coal plant, sucks up water and emits toxic mercury that gets into the Alapaha River in our watersheds here in south central Georgia.

Better energy solutions are available and in use in North Carolina, California, New Jersey, and even Germany, the world leader in solar power.

For $1.5 billion, we could have already had more solar power online on time and on budget than the new nukes will ever deliver if they are ever finished.

Solar and wind power use no water, emit no  pollutants, and need no coal trains from Wyoming.

With the conservation and efficiency that Gov.Deal refused to prioritize, Georgia wouldn’t need additional power, and with solar and wind we can shut down dirty water-sucking coal and nuclear plants.

I call on Gov. Deal to stop wasting our water on reservoir, coal, and nuclear boondoggles and get on with conservation, efficiency, and solar and wind power for jobs and energy independence for Georgia.

John S. Quarterman is a board member of WWALS Watershed Coalition, www.wwals.net. WWALS is an                 advocacy organization working for watershed conservation of the Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little   River Systems watershed in South Georgia and North Florida through awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen advocacy.

Time to arm educators

The cartoon in Sunday’s newspaper said under a “1950s” heading: “There is no correlation between smoking and lung disease!” We knew better but smoking was glamorized by the media in movies, TV, advertising, and fashion superseded logic, resulting in a large portion of the people smoking.

Then the cartoon heading under “Today” said, “There is no correlation between gun availability and mass shootings!” The cartoonist got it wrong saying guns are the problem when facts show guns are the solution. Schools are a magnet for mass killing because they are gun-free and advertise the fact and there is no risk to an armed killer in a gun-free school zone. Airlines used to be “gun-free,” now staff can carry guns and there are armed federal marshals on some flights providing a sizable risk to perpetrators and safety to passengers.

Our defenseless children deserve protection. Faculty who have a permit to carry should be allowed to carry in schools. The principal and teachers who sacrificed their lives in a futile attempt to stop the murderer should have had the legal right to defend their life and the life of the students. An educator with a gun would do more good than banning guns for lawful citizens and posting signs that prohibit guns. Guns in the hands of lawful people are tools of self defense. One of the signs of maturity is taking responsibility for your mistakes. Advocates of gun-free zones need to admit it’s a failure and go forward with legalizing guns for faculty and full-time student protection.

Banning assault rifles is ridiculous; a classroom shooting with a 22 rim fire would be almost as effective as an assault weapon. A law-abiding citizen with a gun will reduce the number of shootings and the severity if one did occur.

 

Nolen P. Cox

Valdosta

Medicare concerns

There are surprisingly low-enrollment rates in benefits programs for seniors in need. There are significant barriers to enrollment that keep seniors with limited means from getting the assistance that could truly help them. For example, up to 4.2 million people with Medicare are still not receiving extra help with their prescription drug costs.

The low-income subsidy is worth nearly $3,200 a year on average for people who qualify, but a significant number have not yet enrolled. A federal government program that pays Medicare premiums to those who really need the help has a participation rate of only 13 percent and still another similar program will expire in September if Congress fails to act. Incredibly, access to these important programs is also denied if seniors have even a small savings nest egg.

Congress is currently considering long overdue improvements to increase participation in these programs. These changes can go a long way to making needed health care and medicine affordable and accessible to millions of our nation’s most vulnerable seniors.

Lynn Cooper lll

White Springs, Fla.

Water: Bring back ‘Winter Average’

Many years ago the residents of Valdosta saw the sewer charge for water used for outside purposes (lawn water, swimming pool, etc.) as being wrong. They then had the city put in a second meter for these purposes at a charge of around $250 and paid only for the water — no sewer charge for this water. Then the city said no more second meters — instead a winter average sewer charge — the sewer charge for January through March average would be the sewer charge for the next year.

Now, the city has eliminated the “Winter Average” and we now pay a sewer charge for the water we use that doesn’t go into the sewer. Additionally, we pay a storm water fee for water that goes into the storm water system  — driveway car wash.

Bring back Winter Average!

Fred White

Valdosta

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