The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

October 28, 2012

Readers' Forum 10-28 | Supervisors, ordinances need to be updated

(Continued)

— New rules will keep miners healthier

Throughout western Pennsylvania, you can find more “Stop the War on Coal” signs than leaves on the ground. I come from coal-mining towns and respect the backbreaking work or miners. Sadly, too many of these miners believe President Obama is the reason for their despair.

Mitt Romney is on record saying that coal is dirty, yet Obama is the one waging war. Yes, Obama has set strict environmental regulations that will impact coal, but they don’t take effect until 2015.

Meanwhile, western Pennsylvania is in the middle of a natural-gas boom. The Marcellus Shale industry is hiring more workers and producing a gas that is not only cleaner, but cheaper. Utility companies are making the switch to this cheaper energy source. Free market competition, something Republicans crave, is pushing out coal.

We also have a very old coal fleet in this country. Many are ready to be buried and rather than keeping them open, companies are looking toward natural gas or renewables. They would have closed even without the new Environmental Protection Agency rules.

The president’s budget on alternative energy includes clean-coal technology. Union mines have all but evaporated, allowing the coal industry and Republicans to fight against new health protections for miners.

 Since 1995, more than 10,000 coal miners have died from black lung. House Republicans drafted language in a recent bill that would prevent funding for any new coal dust to limit miners’ exposure.

Clean coal protects coal miners’ health and keeps our local waters from turning orange, again.

Chris Miller

Lucernemines

Keep vets’ health care in government hands

The October issue of the American Legion Magazine features interviews of the presidential candidates. They were asked their opinions on a variety of problems facing our country.

Mitt Romney and President Obama both made interesting points.

However, when the interviewer asked them to respond to the backlog of medical treatment for today’s returning veterans, their answers were quite different.

Obama’s answer: “We’re doing a better job of touching our vets immediately after they’ve left service, so that we don’t have a situation where the backlog builds up in part because people don’t know what their rights are right away, they lose track of paperwork, time passes and it becomes that much harder to process their claims.”

Romney’s answer: “I would look to bring people from the private sector, who know the importance of responding to the needs of the customer.”

Now we all know that Romney wants to privatize Social Security and Medicare, but does he also want to privatize the Veterans Administration?

As a Korean War vet, I certainly don’t want to take my VA health care into the private sector.

Paul E. Danel Sr.

Richland Township

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