Pipeline, Hawaii trip and more

Letters to the editor

Let’s take the long view on pipeline

Do people understand what’s at stake with the Keystone XL Pipeline? The media tend to cast it as a choice between jobs and the environment, or as a chance for energy independence, but the issue is much broader than that.

Regarding jobs, the need for energy is not going to disappear. If the pipeline is not approved, then the focus (and the jobs) can shift to solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and other alternative energy sources.

The environmental impacts of proceeding with the pipeline are very serious. The risk of oil spills in our nation’s heartland potentially damages soil and water. More immediate, extracting this oil is devastating to Canada’s wilderness because separating oil from the tar sands requires huge amounts of fresh water and leaves behind a toxic sludge.

Energy independence is a concern, but there is no direct relationship between the source of our oil and what we get at the pump. Oil companies are driven by profit and if the oil they refine in Texas can be sold at a higher price somewhere else in the world, it won’t help gas prices here, and we may still be dependent on foreign sources. The goal of energy independence can be better met by diversifying fuel sources.

Keystone is another step in the direction of high fossil fuel consumption without regard to carbon emissions. The majority of scientists agree that the planet is warming due to human-caused carbon emissions. Even those who doubt the science should recognize that we need to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels (which won’t last forever), and begin to develop renewable resources.

We need to take the long view. Tell President Obama to deny the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. MARY SUE GMEINER, NEW CARLISLE

Trip to Hawaii is a disgrace

Re “School union board members under pressure to cancel $11K Hawaii trip,” March 5: I think it’s an absolute disgrace that SERS (School Employees Retirement System) board members Mary Ann Howell, Catherine Moss and Barbara Phillips are spending $11,232 to attend the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems in Hawaii this May. …

If this conference is absolutely necessary and the board wanted to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money, it would send one member, not three. TOM HERMANE, HUBER HEIGHTS

Will casinos bring more good than bad?

Re “Will casinos boost our economy?,” March 4: Maybe another question is in order. Will the casinos produce enough income to offset the negative costs (additional activities that come with the territory — prostitution, drugs, gambling addictions, etc.)? My question isn’t simply a morality issue, as I have no qualms regarding gambling, but more of a practical one. I enjoy rare visits to casinos with my “limit” for some entertainment. I usually leave with what I started with. The individuals who can least afford it are drawn to get “lucky rich,” as are most folks who play the lotteries.

Being born and raised in southwest Ohio, the conservative values of this area don’t lend themselves to “fool’s gold” easily. I do see that it may help with some business and tourism as a draw to the area. … RIK SAYLOR, HAMILTON

Speak Up

I haven’t heard one good argument for raising the speed limit. It would be safer and save energy to keep it where it is. Besides, who wants to pay for all the new road signs?

While traveling on our interstate highway system, I thought of the things my grandparents’ generation built and paid for and left for us. We now seem content to squander huge sums of money with nothing to show for it and leave the bill to our grandchildren.

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