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EVERYBODY'S COLUMN / Letters from our readers

Environmental impact of spill is devastating

This massive oil spill is not President Obama's Katrina. This is BP's Katrina. What people fail to realize is that this rig drilled to an unprecedented 5,000 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico. No human being can go down into the ocean to plug this leak because he would die. People seem to have forgotten that for three days, BP said no oil was leaking. It lied from the very beginning. BP officials have no humility or compassion.

Some people have said: Well, 11 people were killed. We can't wash off those 11 people, they are dead. Or: Just a few birds have died and the environment will come back in good shape. First, it is not just a few birds, it is hundreds. Turtles, birds, fish and vegetation also are in danger. The people who died on that rig chose to do dangerous work. The animals did not have a choice. This is their home. The environmental impact of this oil spill will not be known for at least 40 years. You cannot wash the oil off of fish, vegetation or insects.

Many fishermen cleaning up the oil want to wear haz-mat suits and gas masks, but BP does not want them to wear the suits. Why? BP says it looks bad for the company. I believe Obama should put BP into receivership so someone can distribute the money to compensate those people who have been impacted by the spill. The Exxon Valdez spill caused a massive amount of damage. Prince William Sound will never be the same. All the executives of BP should go to jail, along with Trans-ocean and Halliburton.

Jennifer T. Schultz



Leak will be plugged and gulf will recover

Once upon a time, the automobile was invented and man was able to travel speedily to distant places. However, humans drive the automobiles and accidents result. Yearly, approximately 42,000 Americans die and billions of dollars in property damage occurs. We accept it, and keep on driving.

A machine was invented in which man could fly. However, because humans fly the planes, some crash and hundreds of people die. We accept it, and keep on flying.

Humans decided to explore the universe. However, ships disappeared, rockets exploded and shuttles blew up; people perished. We accept it, and keep on exploring.

Then man decided he could hold an unanchored drill platform in an exact location in the middle of an ocean, reach down 5,000 feet with a pipe to the ocean floor, penetrate 1,000 feet of silt and 10,000 feet of rock and extract oil. Thirty-three times it has been done successfully. Thirty thousand shallower wells, in the Gulf of Mexico, have been drilled without a calamitous accident.

However, an accident occurred, and 11 people died. Well, what do you expect? In time, the oil flow will be stopped and the gulf will return to pristine condition, as it has from worse oil spills.

Richard L. Drew Sr.



Put unemployed to work cleaning up gulf oil spill

This is not rocket science, President Obama. This is leadership 101. Here is how we solve our unemployment problem, at no cost to the American taxpayer. Call it Civilian Conservation Corps 2010.

Everybody who is unemployed is to report to a designated oil-spill cleanup site that is payroll-manned by BP. Since BP is paying for all of the cleanup, the unemployed can punch in on BP payroll sheets. They are to be paid a living wage of $15 per hour. And all of these BP payroll locations will be jointly manned by Department of Labor and Department of Interior operatives to assure there are no pay or cleanup irregularities. Operatives can address irregularities immediately.

Obama should put his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, on location. He is not doing anything otherwise important at this time anyway. If there is still confusion, put me on location. I'll show Obama leadership.

Lou Marconi



Catholic Church needs to reach out to women

I am writing in response to the June 9 letter, "Sister Kane is not an example to profile." The writer accused a News reporter of biased reporting. If the job of the reporter is to convey the essence of Sister Theresa Kane's presentation, he did his job well. I was there and the resulting article fairly represented the event and the words of the speaker.

The letter characterized Kane as a heretic and a dissenter. Rather, I heard her say that women religious need to continue to focus on social justice, peace and equality for all. She said that it takes courage to challenge. Kane modeled her courage when she asked Pope John Paul II directly "to open ministries to women." Everyone knows that the shortage of priests is having a terrible impact on the Catholic Church. Sister's request of the pope seems practical and timely.

The clergy and the laity of the church need to reach out to women religious to let them know that they are valued for their lives of commitment to God's work. They are a critically important part of the "body of Christ." Kane and her brethren should be encouraged and supported in every way and be inspired by the words of Jesus, "Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Marilyn Wittman

East Aurora


Sister is not a heretic, she's speaking the truth

I am addressing the letter titled, "Sister Kane is not an example to profile." The writer alluded to Sister Theresa Kane as some type of heretic. Actually, this sister's so-called unorthodox opinions are, in fact, factual. She understands the true past history of women's roles in the church, illustrated not from her supposition but rather from historical documentation.

The scandal centers not on this sister but on the hierarchy of our church. It continues to exclude women from their previous priestly roles in the history of our church.

Kane and her other religious sisters belong on the altar. This is something that is centuries overdue; it is not due to Kane "making her own rules with her own outcomes." That has been done solely by Rome.

Peg O'Connor



Most people favor three-arch bridge

I was disgusted, no infuriated, with The News editorial about the new international bridge. The people of Buffalo and Canada have voted on the design twice in the past several years, and the bridge that people favor is unquestionably the three-arch span, for many reasons. The design has the least environmental impact, and it's simple graceful lines match the original Peace Bridge.

But the elitists at The News think that this bridge is not a "signature, iconic" bridge. Folks, wake up. This is not San Francisco, Barcelona or New York City. Trying to say that the polls are not statistically significant means only that The News didn't like the results. This is Buffalo, where we are proud of our industrial and historical heritage. The three-span bridge suits us just fine, thank you.

With the constant obstructionism from our local (and only) newspaper, it's no wonder this area takes so long to get anything accomplished.

Richard Speth



Arch design would best complement existing span

I find the June 11 editorial, "Region deserves an iconic bridge," to be offensive in some respects. I happen to prefer the arch design, which The News says "does not fully measure up."

The editorial board's cavalier attitude toward the 600 people who cared enough about this bridge project to participate in the survey is very upsetting. Further, I do not find anything particularly inspiring or "beautiful" about the board's preferred "signature towers." The only thing The News did right in the whole editorial was part of one paragraph in which it acknowledged that the arch design is considered most environmentally friendly, and that it would complement the existing Peace Bridge. I take serious offense to the description of the arch design as "apologetic."

As far as I am concerned, The News' opinion on this subject should just be thrown in the box with the other 600 opinions in the survey.

David C. Halstead



It looks like New York needs a control board

Year 2003: The City of Buffalo is struggling financially, affecting a population of 285,018. In rides the State Legislature and Gov. George Pataki, imposing a control board.

Year 2005: Erie County is struggling financially, affecting a population of 950,265. In rides the State Legislature and Pataki, imposing a control board.

Year 2010: New York State is struggling financially, affecting a population of 19.4 million. In rides the State Legislature and Gov. David Paterson, pointing fingers, laying blame and generally behaving like small children who are going to pout and drag their heels until they get their way, without regard as to what's best for the population as a whole. New York State: Where's your control board?

Karen Leonard



Compensate taxpayers for inept lawmakers

Fifty-plus days and counting, and in spite of everything, no budget for New York State residents. Perhaps the taxpayers should be compensated for their elected officials' incompetence. I suggest that a penalty, of possibly $3 a day for every day the budget is late, be awarded to all taxpayers, and promptly taken off of their income tax. Knowing that the state will have to forfeit a large amount due to its failure to pass a budget on time, officials will make certain that the responsibility they were elected to do will be accomplished within plenty of time.

James J. Lizak

West Falls


Proposal would penalize law-abiding gun owners

The News editorial endorsing microstamping ejected shell casings by semi-automatic pistols sold in New York State contradicts itself when it admits it wouldn't catch many criminals. Even if the technology existed -- which, as a practical matter, doesn't at this time -- it probably would not catch any criminals because criminals don't use pistols they have legally purchased and registered.

This gun control law, like every other one, would impact only law-abiding gun owners. Criminals get their guns illegally on the streets, as a recent article in the paper pointed out. In addition, if microstamping became practical, it could easily be defeated with a couple of strokes of a file.

The News' contention that such a law wouldn't impact law-abiding owners is naive. For all practical purposes, it would end legal pistol sales in this state, or greatly increase the cost of them. The real reason for this proposal is to greatly reduce the legal sale of guns. The law would have no crime-fighting benefits.

Doug Kreinheder


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