How dare politicians
fight pipeline decision
Regarding the Feb. 12 story, "Lawmakers to fight for gas pipeline":
After eight months of active opposition by New Jersey residents to the Board of Public Utilities/South Jersey Gas Co. application for a gas pipeline through the Pine Barrens, and after a vote by the Pinelands Commission denying it, here comes state Sen. Jeff Van Drew and Assemblyman Robert Andrzejczak, both D-Cape May, Cumberland, rattling their sabers and throwing down the gauntlet to challenge this ruling.
Just as we saw with the Cape May County freeholders and the Upper Township Committee passing resolutions supporting the pipeline, these elected officials are trying to subvert the democratic process and encourage the violation the Comprehensive Management Plan for the Pine Barrens.
The BPU, a regulatory body, took on the task of fronting for South Jersey Gas in applying for a memorandum of agreement to get a high-pressure pipeline through protected forest. How can a government regulatory agency be allowed to represent a for-profit corporation that it regulates in the first place?
Under the CMP, private businesses like South Jersey Gas may only obtain approval for development using a waiver of strict compliance, which has a much higher standard, including an environmental impact study, than the MOA.
The first and only obligation of the Pinelands Commission is to protect, enhance and preserve the Pinelands. I would expect elected officials to follow this mandate.
on feminism today
Regarding the Feb. 11 Cynthia M. Allen column, "'Women's issues' tough on women":
The women's movement is as varied as any other movement. There is no one model, no one criteria that defines the women's movement. The author's read on Eleanor Smeal not liking her, herself or women in general says more about the author than it does about the movement. It seems she has confused political issues with personal insecurities.
I don't fault the author; women are taught to doubt themselves. They are easier to control when they are self-doubting. It benefits the status quo to keep us separated and fractured. If we ever truly became united, we just might be a force to reckon with.
I do agree that today's women are bombarded with damaging messages in a hook-up culture. The rampant porn culture degrades the value of women and defines us through the eyes of the male gaze. The pop culture of today shows young women that the way to fame, love and success is by placing enormous energy in presenting yourself as an ever-ready sexual object.
Like the author, I am sad over this. Today's young women must learn the cold reality that only economic equality will bring them true liberation. If feminism fell short it was not because we facilitated the emergence of birth control, it was because we were unable to shatter the glass ceiling of the job market.
If the author sees female self-loathing in "women's issues," she may need a refresher course in those women's studies from so long ago. If Elly Smeal doesn't do it for you, try reading something by Gloria Steinem. Feminism is a big tent, come back in.
U.S. better off
President Barack Obama's first five years in office have been a success. Five years ago, he inherited the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression - 10 percent unemployment, a nearly $1.5 trillion deficit, General Motors and Chrysler going bankrupt, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Osama bin Laden still alive.
Today, unemployment is at 6.6 percent, the deficit has been cut by two-thirds, General Motors and Chrysler are alive and doing well, we are out of Iraq and will be out of Afghanistan by the end of the year. And bin Laden is dead.
We are headed toward universal health care, and the Dodd-Frank Act has put common-sense regulations on Wall Street and the big banks. This was all accomplished in spite of constant obstruction from the conservatives in Congress, not to mention the propaganda and lies from the conservative media. Is the country better off today? Absolutely.
I'll take wind turbines
over pollution anytime
Regarding the Feb. 13 letter, "Ocean windmills will add to scenic blight":
What would the letter writer prefer: No trees? A half-dead forest? Contaminated water? Or a renewable energy source that has no carbon emissions and does very little to harm the surrounding environment?
Certainly most people who care about the natural world would like to see it untouched. However, the so-called natural scenic beauty of our beaches is a profit-making industry as well, and we do not leave the beaches untouched; we add sand to them, comb them to remove debris, build beach bars on them, and move dunes for aesthetic reasons. The tourism that the letter writer is fearful of losing is already dependent on altering the natural landscape.
When I bring tourists into Atlantic City from the White Horse Pike, and they see the three wind turbines "in the way of the scenic view" of the marshes, it has sparked conversations about renewable energy and how it works - not anger over eyesores.
I will take wind turbines changing the ocean view over an increase in pollution any day.
helps prevent abortions
Regarding the Feb. 10 story, "Funding for Planned Parenthood questioned":
In 2013, the Atlantic County freeholders did the right thing by calling in the expert professional services of Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey to provide reproductive health care services. These services have already been successful in addressing the epidemic of teen pregnancy in the county. However, more needs to be done.
Those freeholders who now say they are opposed to abortion and would vote against this funding should be all the more supportive of providing comprehensive sexuality education and counseling to prevent teen pregnancy. After all, if a teen is not pregnant, she is not going to seek an abortion. Many studies support educating young people about their sexuality since it delays a teen's first sexual encounter. And if those teens do eventually become sexually active, with this education in hand they are better able to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
The Sierra Club supports the rights of teens to comprehensive sexuality education as part of our advocacy for women, their communities and the environment. It is important to continue to fund services that ensure all young girls and young men are able to receive the information and services they need. Healthy communities make for a healthy environment.
N.J. Sierra Club