Support for Senior Program

Voices for Quality Care would like to thank the St. Mary's Board of County Commissioners for their support of the senior Meals on Wheels programs in the current budget. The commissioners are determined that no senior who needs a home-delivered meal shall go without.

The requirements for receiving a home-delivered meal are simple: You need to be 60 or older and homebound by reason of illness or incapacity. If those words describe you and you would like to have a home-delivered meal, you can call the Department of Aging at 301-475-4200, Ext. 1060, and speak to someone or leave a message. You could receive a home-delivered meal tomorrow.

No senior in need should be overlooked.

Clare Whitbeck

Voices for Quality Care


Day on the Bay for Veterans

A sincere thank you is in order for the nonprofit Maryland Legislative Sportsmen's Foundation, specifically its vice chairman, Bill Miles of Calvert County, and its chairman, David Sutherland.

On Nov. 2, 14 disabled veterans of foreign wars were treated to a day of fishing on the Chesapeake Bay. I was there representing the Maryland Veterans Caucus and the Maryland Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus, and Secretary George W. Owings III was there representing the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs. It was a pleasure to wish these men a good day of rockfishing on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay.

ROTC student leaders from Patuxent High School -- James Marcum, an Eagle Scout and Naval Academy candidate, and Christopher A. Marseglia -- helped the veterans, who use wheelchairs, board the boat and assisted them throughout the day.

We also thank the charter boat captains, Roy Leverone, Matt Marlowe and Drew Payne, for ensuring good catches and an enjoyable, safe day. Two boats caught their limit, and the third landed the trophy 44-inch rockfish, weighing in at 37.8 pounds. This was the first time rockfishing on the bay for all of the men.

As we celebrated Veterans Day on Friday, Calvert County residents could take pride that they hosted a very special event honoring men who served their country.

Del. Sue Kullen

(D) Port Republic

Stop Polluting Calvert

Recent news articles about Dominion Corp.'s proposed expansion . . . mention the disturbing effect this information is having on many Calvert residents. Many other residents were irked because the Maryland Department of the Environment, which hosted a meeting Oct. 12, apparently did not publicize the meeting or make it known that other residents were invited to attend.

Many were also irked because Dominion Corp. is already emitting . . . pollutants into the air with its processing set-up at the Cove Point plant, according to published information, and now wants to add more.

Dominion representatives say a smaller amount of pollutants would be emitted elsewhere to make up for the additional amount dumped on Calvert County. This kind of reasoning is indicative of poor judgment and the disregard this corporation has for the health and safety of Calvert County residents. With the Chalk Point plant emissions and other pollution problems nearby, county residents may have to don spacesuits and oxygen tanks or remain inside to breathe comfortably.

More residents seem to be complaining about problems with asthma, bronchitis, allergies, emphysema and other ailments than in the past few years. Children, the elderly and those who already have respiratory problems may be affected more noticeably than others.

We ask the question: "Why is Calvert County selected to receive an abundance of health and safety problems more than other areas this size?" Also: "Why doesn't Dominion Corp. apply for permission to build a new facility on the East Coast near the area where they plan to build a network of pipelines to serve that area instead of using gas from the Cove Point facility in pint-size Calvert County?"

The small amount of benefit in temporary jobs and cash for the county commissioners [budget], mainly for their pet projects, would require a very expensive sacrifice on the part of the residents of this county. Most of the money the county commissioners would receive would be possible because of the pittance the property owners are paid for the easements. The property owners would be forced to give up the land for easements and pay taxes on them forever, although they cannot be used for building or other uses. The gas corporations use the easements to transport the gas and also use the easements in their assets when they sell their stock on Wall Street or sell their assets to another corporation. If the gas company decides to abandon their structures when the gas business is no longer profitable, the property owners must still maintain the easements and pay taxes on them.

Why does Dominion continue to force more health and safety problems on this county when there are many other suitable sites for expansion? Many other communities are refusing to have gas facilities and pipelines and are supported by their local governments. By proliferating gas structures in Calvert, our county becomes a prime target for terrorists and could be a total disaster area if such an attack or a natural disaster occurs.

There appears to be no public necessity for Dominion's application for expansion, since oil and natural gas supplies have been found to be adequate to meet the needs in this country if consumers can afford either of these fuels. Some consumers are switching to other fuel sources that are less expensive and have begun practicing conservation.

The residents of this county need to say "no" to this abuse, and civic organizations could help by sending letters of protest to state and federal legislators, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Maryland Department of the Environment and others. Our residents need to take action immediately to avoid having more of these hazardous pollutants dumped on our county.

Phyllis S. Johnson

Port Republic

Consider the Water Supply

Editor's Note: This letter was originally sent to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).

I am very pleased that you have issued Executive Order 01.01.2005.25 of May 16, 2005, establishing a second Advisory Committee on the Management and Protection of the State's Water Resources. This is an issue of primary importance in Charles County inasmuch as the Maryland Geological Survey has indicated that Charles County cannot supply the required water without drawdowns exceeding 80 percent management levels in some locations (the level at which 80 percent of the pressure in the aquifer has been lost, at which point the state would recommend tapping into a different aquifer).

It is my understanding that the state is responsible for managing the underground water supply and by law should not issue water appropriation permits that would cause any aquifer to exceed the 80 percent management level. However, the Magothy aquifer already exceeds the 80 percent management level, the Upper Patapsco is approaching management level concerns and the Lower Patapsco is 180 feet below sea level and is worse in Southern Maryland. Unfortunately, the state continues to issue water appropriation and use permits, including permits that were issued in 1995 and 1998 for the Heritage Green project in La Plata that is expected to add 5,000 to 6,500 more residential units that will draw from the Upper Patapsco and Lower Patapsco aquifers.

According to Saeid Kasraei, administrator of the Water Supply Program within the MDE, bya letter dated August 20, 2004, letter, "The usage (from the Town of LaPlata) from the Lower Patapsco aquifer is about three-fourths of its allocation (782,000 gpd), which leaves about 452,000 gallons per day. This available water would support about three-fourths of the estimated demand from the Heritage Green project, if that is the only new demand on the system." He adds: "A portion of the projected growth from the Heritage Green project is included in the permitted quantity."

Why would only a "portion" of the development be included in the "permitted quantity" when it is known that the "available water would only support three-fourths of the estimated demand . . . if that is the only new demand on the system"? In all likelihood, the Heritage Green project will not be the only new demand on the system. . . . Therefore, in light of the recent findings by the Maryland Geological Survey (June 2005), will the state re-evaluate the permits that were issued in 1995 and 1998?

Furthermore, inasmuch as the state has the responsibility for ensuring that water supplies are adequate for everyone, will the state compensate homeowners with private wells if they lose their water supply as a result of continuing drawdowns of the aquifers by subdivisions that have been granted water appropriation and use permits by the state? If the state issues these permits with the knowledge that the aquifers are in jeopardy, why should homeowners with private wells be forced to install deeper wells, at considerable cost, because of rampant, unregulated development, which is the primary cause of aquifer depletion? Shouldn't the state be more stringent regarding the issuance of Water Appropriation and Use Permits, ensuring that water capacity would not be adversely affected for current residents? More important, shouldn't water supply capacity be considered before approval of Water Appropriation and Use Permits?

These are questions that affect thousands of citizens in Charles County, as well as citizens of Calvert and St. Mary's counties. I must emphasize that this situation could adversely affect real estate values and consequently the economy of Charles County and possibly all of Southern Maryland.

Cheryl E. Thomas