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In a March 15 editorial, The News expressed a somewhat negative opinion on the state's new pollution law that identifies to the public permitted discharge points into our waterways.

Conceived as the Fisherman's Right To Know Bill, it was, without a doubt, weakened by the legislative process in Albany. What environmental bill hasn't been?

What I take exception to is the statement that "the signs will do more to befuddle people than to inform them . . . and that this effort is virtually meaningless."

The people who will benefit from this bill are those who boat, fish and swim in these waters, such as myself. The News is critical of the fact that the signs do not identify the particular type of pollutant, nor do they mention the word pollution.

It is often a fact that to achieve something politically, one must compromise. But by focusing on that, I believe The News is missing the key point. There will be more than 20 of these signs going up in our area, with 364 of these signs designated for the whole state.

I will finally be able to find out where companies are discharging chemicals into the water. True, the signs will not tell me if the discharge is 40 percent benzene or 70 percent carbon tet, but since I am not a chemist, that information would be fairly useless to me anyway.

It is enough for me to be able to identify a discharge point, so as to enable me to choose not to swim right there.

Today, people have a responsibility to themselves and their loved ones to become somewhat educated on environmental matters. While the word pollution would be better, the phrase "permitted discharge point" is not beyond normal comprehension. The most important thing is that everyone has a right to know where pollutants are discharged into the water, and with these signs we now can.


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