Competing bills on environment

Editor, Kudos to Rep. Pat Boy for authoring House Bill 1257 which requires anyone causing a chemical spill to report it immediately to IDEM, the county’s health officer, downstream water users, at least one emergency response agency, and any park located in the county. Responders and violators are required to make that information public.

Outraged Hoosiers agree legislation like this is long overdue. Citizens are extremely frustrated by the lack of action after more than 100 violations in 4 years from industry in Northwest Indiana. This was after a summer in which major spills went unreported for four days and there was a major communication breakdown between IDEM and the communities impacted. People continued to drink, bathe and recreate in this water until thousands of fish died, grossly impacting tourist revenue and local businesses. It was the Ogden Dunes Town Council who physically ran to the beach to sound the alarm to unsuspecting swimmers. More than 7 million people in four states rely on Lake Michigan water to be safe.

Lawsuits are pending as a result of this spill and others that preceded and followed. Last week we learned it’s possible ArcelorMittal falsified self-monitoring data to IDEM, and 10 groups joined to oppose the recent consent decree on U.S. Steel’s hexalvent chromium spill from 2 years ago as too lenient. Legislation like House Bill 1257 is a most welcome response that would finally hold violators accountable.

Conversely, Senate Bill 73 authored by James Tomes, seeks to punish whistleblowers of pollution violations by effectively removing all anonymity, stunningly tone deaf at a time of chronic toxic spills.

It’s vital that Indiana residents make their voices heard by contacting their representatives to support House Bill 1257 and oppose Senate Bill 73. We need these industries for the jobs, but they must be a good neighbor.

Susan Thomas

Beverly Shores

Stopping the slaughter

Editor, On Jan. 27, the world observed the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The date marked 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Hitler's largest death camp.

A key question facing historians is how could an enlightened society that produced our civilization’s greatest philosophers, poets, and composers also produce its most notorious mass murderers? How could it get millions of ordinary citizens to go along.

Was the Holocaust a peculiarly German phenomenon, or are other enlightened societies capable? Why are we Americans willing to subsidize unspeakable atrocities in our own factory farms and slaughterhouses?

Jewish Nobel laureate, Isaac Bashevis Singer, concluded that: “To the animals, all people are Nazis.” His message was that we are all capable of oppressing the more vulnerable sentient beings in our midst, frequently without giving it a second thought.

Indeed, our own enlightened society has translated the arbitrary Nazi dictum "the Christian lives, the Jew dies" into an equally arbitrary "the dog lives, the pig dies." Only the victims' names have been changed. The blissful ignorance of death camps and slaughterhouses in our midst remains.

On the long road to end all oppression our very first step must be to drop animals from our menus.

Manny Andreas

Merrillville

Sending gifts to millions of kids

Editor, I am writing to thank Michigan City residents for sharing the true meaning of Christmas with children in need this past holiday season.

Because of the generosity of donors in Michigan City and across the United States, Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, collected more than 8.9 million shoebox gifts in 2019. Combined with those collected from partnering countries in 2019, the ministry  is sending 10,569,405 shoebox gifts to children worldwide.

Through shoeboxes — packed with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items — Michigan City volunteers brought joy to children in need around the world. Each gift-filled shoebox is a tangible expression of God’s love, and it is often the first gift these children have ever received. Thanks to the generosity of donors, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 178 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories since 1993.

It’s not too late for people to make a difference. Though drop-off locations serving Michigan City are closed until November 16-23, information about year-round volunteer opportunities can be found at samaritanspurse.org/occ or by calling 937-374-0761.

Thank you again to everyone who participated in this global project — many who do so year after year. These simple gifts, packed with love, send a message to children worldwide that they are loved and not forgotten.

Dana Williams

Boone, North Carolina

Praises bill to stop abortion

Editor, An Indiana state representative has introduced a bill that would make abortion illegal in the state of Indiana upon passage, and redefine human being. All life is precious in the eyes of the creator. We shall not destroy what God has already created. Life begins at the moment of conception.

Mike Voisinet

Michigan City

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