Letters to the Editor, June 8

Jun. 07, 2014 @ 01:25 PM

No fire tax increase

Can someone explain to me why we, the taxpayers of Durham County, should give one more dime to our local fire departments? 

I live in Bahama and have virtually no fire coverage. Our insurance fire rating is a 10, one step above no coverage at all. Yet we have a fire department that is millions of dollars in debt from overspending. 

They have bought equipment and built massive buildings that they do not and have not had the personnel to staff.  The department staffs one or two people on a truck and calls that an appropriate response, which is one reason Bahama lost its contract with the city to provide coverage for Treyburn.  The department has been mismanaged for years and the thought of giving them an increase in the tax rate is absurd. 

I would have no problem paying for a service if the service were provided.  It seems the best and most cost-effective way to provide fire protection is in the form of a countywide fire department that has oversight from the county commissioners and not from a board of directors that hands out blank checks.

Robert Dorsey

Bahama

Good Samaritans at market

There were many good Samaritans at the Durham Farmers' Market on Saturday, when my husband and I were shopping there and I fell.

With a very grateful heart, I thank you. My husband told me there must have been at least six people who came to help us. Someone held our grocery bags so Bob could come to my aid; another went for a first aid kit and a doctor bandaged my lacerations; a bag of ice suddenly appeared, a chair was brought for me to sit on after I got up and became aware of what happened. I was handed a glass of water by someone else and another helped my husband get the car near to where I was sitting.

A big thank-you to all of you who came to my rescue!

Gretchen Dix

Durham

Safer rules for ‘fracking’

If the law on hydraulic fracturing -- fracking -- goes through as it is now and Gov. Pat McCrory does not veto it, the North Carolina legislature will lose its ability to have oversight over the rules put out by the state Mining and Energy Commission (MEC). 

Currently, their rules allow treated fracking wastewater to be released into our rivers and streams.  Based on various studies, plants that are supposed to treat fracking wastewater often only partially treat it, and toxic chemicals and radionuclides have shown up in rivers, streams and water supplies. Duke University researchers found these byproducts of fracking in water supplies in Pennsylvania. 

Fracking chemicals are not benign -- four workers recently died from exposure to toxic chemicals used in the process.  MEC rules also state that wells can be just 200 feet from rivers and streams.  Pennsylvania Department of Environment officials found 7 percent of fracking wells leak right away and those leaks are forever.  That could affect our water supplies, forever. 

Enough is known about the chemicals used in fracking to keep a watchful eye on those responsible.  EPA rules list two dozen substances including benzene, radium and arsenic of high enough levels to be of concern in fracking wastewater.  Citizen watchdog groups could study the water before and after fracking to make sure it complies with the Clean Water Act and hold those responsible for damage to the Triangle’s water supplies.  Better yet, there could be oversight by the legislature, safer rules, or no fracking.

Heidi Zehnal

Chapel Hill