Saturday's letters: Progress on chemical safety

Published May 30, 2016

Historic toxic chemical legislation

Progress on chemical safety

I applaud Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa for supporting bipartisan toxic chemical legislation.

Generations have grown up under a 40-year old chemical bill so weak that the authorities did not have the ability to ban asbestos.

After years during which parents and grandparents visited countless legislators, signed countless petitions, marched through the halls of Congress and joined in stroller brigades, we may soon have a new law that will require the Environmental Protection Agency to start tackling dangerous chemicals immediately. It will take time for the EPA to go through the tens of thousands of chemicals now in all of our stuff. We want EPA to be painstaking, and we will fight to ensure it has the money to do this work.

The Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act will require safety reviews for chemicals in commerce; a finding of safety before new chemicals are allowed on the market; chemical safety to be evaluated under a health-based standard; and the EPA to prioritize chemicals that are persistent, bioaccumulative, carcinogenic, and toxic among other provisions.

This bill gives us a glimpse of what bipartisan cooperation looks like — in what has been a highly divided, contentious Congress, for years.

Karina Castillo, Miami

The writer is a Florida field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force.

Split? Look at Democrats | May 26, column

Look in the mirror

George LeMieux, counting himself as a purported expert, does not see his Republican Party's future problems as clearly as he sees the opposing party's. He seems to think that all is well in his party. The consolidation of the Republican base and Donald Trump's supposed raised standing among the electorate is only a temporary lull. Lemieux thinks that his party's convention will be a walk in the park compared to the Democratic Party's. It seems to me that he is feeling the Bern, as the slogan goes. I think the better part of wisdom is to withhold judgment till reality sets in this summer.

Florence Laureira, Hudson

Fascism begins like this | May 20, column

Powerful words on Trump

The first thing I do after reading a powerfully written article like this is search the Hillsborough County Library online catalog for books written by the same author. Robert Kagan's scary description of Trump fascism is masterful. How can any intelligent citizen turn away without becoming involved in stopping his tyrannical, alarming ambition?

Brian G. Beatty, Wimauma

FTSA woes are causing big delays | May 20

New idea for reducing lines

Establish an exclusive security check line for passengers flying with airlines that check bags for free. This line would move forward smoothly, because passengers are not burdened with the obscene amount of carry-on stuff that other fliers bring to the examining table, desperately trying to avoid the hideous baggage fees.

Brian G. Beatty, Wimauma

Walmart, police to meet about calls | May 26

Stores should call police

I have been reading in the Tampa Bay Times about the criticism that Walmart has been receiving because of their avid use of police services. The argument surrounds the disproportionate calls made to police. I disagree with the criticism. When John Dillinger was asked why he robbed banks, his response was, "Because that's where the money is." Walmart calls the police because of the crime that is occurring within its store on its property.

I suspect that Walmart has a higher percentage of shoplifters than other stores and the police are called when they are caught. To reduce the number of calls to the police would mean that Walmart should "look the other way" when shoppers are stealing. That would start a horrible precedent. Thieves would learn that they would get off with a warning and the incidence of theft would increase dramatically.

Walmart is doing exactly what it should do. If they observe someone breaking the law on their property, the police should be called. If that means it is somewhat burdensome on the police, then so be it.

Denis M. deVlaming, Clearwater

Obama's baggage on Vietnam visit | May 24, column

Move beyond the past

Forty-five years ago, I was stationed in Thailand as an Air Force officer during the Vietnam War. I've visited the Vietnam War Memorial Wall on several occasions and share the utmost respect for those families of men and women who lost their lives in this conflict. I do not agree with the opinion expressed by Colbert I. King. In no way do I believe that our president's visit is an act tantamount to forgetting the past.

Although the losses were severe, they were nowhere near comparable to the losses we suffered at the hands of the Japanese during World War II. Our prisoners of war were routinely brutalized; death marches became legendary. Nearly 3,000 servicemen died at Pearl Harbor in one day.

Yet seven years after the war ended, we re-established diplomatic relations. We sent our brightest industrialists there to assist the Japanese in restoring their industrial and manufacturing capacity. We stood by while their convicted war criminals were issued pardons. This act of forgiveness and our ability to move on helped to create an economic powerhouse in Asia. It also served to forge the strongest defense alliance the United States has today in the Far East.

Of course we should not forget Pearl Harbor, the Vietnam War or 9/11. Our government has a responsibility to remain diligent and to avoid history's mistakes. At the same time, we must not forget the extraordinary power of forgiveness and the ability to move beyond the past.

John S. Morse, Tampa