Editorial voices from elsewhere

August 15, 2014

Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States as compiled by the Associated Press:

Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail

Like it or not, the number of jobs provided directly and indirectly by the coal industry is dropping in West Virginia. And while there may still be ups and downs, coal will never be the big job provider in West Virginia it used to be.

West Virginia’s abundant natural resources made the state a haven for mining and manufacturing jobs during much of the 20th century, but ultimately those steel, glass and chemical manufacturing jobs disappeared almost as quickly as they appeared early in the century.

So what is the state to do? Keep working to diversify the economy.

No one should confuse talking about economic diversification as an attack on existing industries. The state can and should work to diversify its economy, while supporting existing employers, too.

Detroit Free Press

If what happened in Toledo, Ohio, doesn’t scare you, it should.

In a modern U.S. city – on the Great Lakes, the nation’s most expansive freshwater resource – some 400,000 residents went days without water after an algae bloom turned the waters of Lake Erie into something resembling pea soup. Treated water was unsafe for human consumption, even if boiled.

Here’s the worst part: This crisis was almost entirely man-made. And unless something changes, it will keep happening.

The toxin microcystin was produced by a blue-green algae in Lake Erie. States don’t require testing for this toxin, and there are no state or federal regulation of acceptable standards of microcystin, which can cause health problems such as abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, liver inflammation and pneumonia. When coming in contact with skin, it can cause rashes, hives and blisters.

This type of algae needs warm temperatures, nitrogen and phosphorus to grow. Nitrogen and phosphorus arrive in lake waters via sewerage overflows and runoff that contains agricultural and residential fertilizers. Humankind is providing the warmer temperatures through climate change.

There’s no credible scientific counterweight to the prevailing opinion that climate change is happening and that it is caused by human activity. Yet, policymakers continue to wrangle over the reality of climate change as though it’s fringe science. There are sensible steps that can and should be taken to curb human behavior that causes climate change, but it’s a question lawmakers – particularly on the Republican side of the aisle – aren’t taking seriously.

If the water crisis in Toledo doesn’t spur voters to demand response and lawmakers to take action, what will?

The Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal

Did U.S. public health officials make the right decision when they allowed to Americans stricken with the deadly Ebola virus to be flown into Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga. en route from Africa to their final destination at Emory University Hospital?

Yes, without question.

Many criticized the decision to fly the two home, saying that doing so put the population here at risk. But most of those making such comments know next to nothing about Ebola, other than it is deadly, which is true.

But the virus is not an airborne one, unlike influenza. Ebola can only be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected or dead person. That makes casual transmission all but impossible.

Moreover, the current situation is akin to what happens when U.S. citizens overseas find themselves at risk from foreign revolutionaries or bandits: We send in the Marines or other forces to rescue them and bring them home.

This is no different.



blog comments powered by Disqus