Readers' letters - April 7
Maryland's decision to ban fracking based on science
I hope politicians in Westminster take note of the historic vote in Maryland USA last week.
The Senate there passed a ban on hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’.
This makes them the third state in the US to ban fracking following New York in 2015 and Vermont in 2012.
The decision to ban fracking is based on science.
Campaigners including scientists, faith groups, business and environmental groups had campaigned against fracking – citing a litany of problems such as flammable drinking water, earthquakes, air and water pollution experienced in other states.
“Science has spoken,” State Delegate Kumar P. Barve, head of the House environmental committee, told the Washington Post earlier this month, “and we should terminate this practice here in Maryland.”
“The possible environmental risks of fracking simply outweigh any potential benefits,” Gov. Hogan said at a news conference announcing his support for the ban.
The 35–10 Senate vote came shortly after the state’s House of Delegates approved the ban in a 97–40 vote.
There we have it!
The country that acclaimed shale gas as the fuel of the future has had to recognise, state by state, that compromising the health of its citizens and environment is not a positive way to keep the lights on.
However, we wait to see if President Trump will follow our Government’s example of simply overturning a democratic vote to get what it wants when their shares are at stake!
Plans are not about job cuts
After years of under-investment, our modernisation plans are set to provide rail passengers with the services they want and deserve.
These plans will ultimately deliver easier journeys for commuters and leisure travellers – underpinning the economy, creating jobs, and making the north a better place to live and work. By 2020, everyone travelling on Northern will benefit from a £580m investment in 98 new and 243 refurbished trains.
Our plans will mean more services, an increase in peak time capacity and faster city connections through our new Northern Connect network.
Modern train technology means that drivers will have the capability to control the opening and closing of doors.
This process, which is known as Driver Controlled Operation (DCO), exists on more than a third of the UK’s main line railway network and has been in existence for 30 years. But importantly, the issue of whoever operates the doors is entirely separate from how Northern might choose to staff trains with a second person in the future.
That is why we want to talk with the RMT to discuss the future roles and responsibilities of our employees, some of whom are members of the union.
Northern has been clear from the outset: our modernisation plans do not include cuts to jobs, pay or safety standards. They are about looking to secure jobs and pay for the long-term, as well as delivering real benefits for our customers.
I’m not tolerant of the intolerant
I think myself tolerant – and even curious in – all beliefs and non-beliefs, Christian and Hindu, Muslim and Jew, Buddhist and atheist, agnostic and Zoroastrianism (just to name a few!) We live in a diverse and exciting world.
Yet my tolerance ends when it comes to the militants and fundamentalists.
The militant ‘atheists’ who sneer at those who have a different belief to them and would like to wipe the world of religion, the ‘Christian’ fundamentalists who believe gays are evil, and the nastiness of ‘Islamic’ fundamentalism is very clear to see.
I’m afraid I’m intolerant of the intolerant.