Electric vehicles reduce foreign oil dependence

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Debates about electric vehicles usually involve cost and environmental issues, but with two tankers burning in the Strait of Hormuz another factor deserves serious consideration: national security.

Pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids obtain energy from the power grid. In the United States, nearly all the electricity on the grid is produced using domestic resources. These include natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydro, wind and solar. Almost no oil is used to make electricity. Therefore, electrifying the country’s vehicle fleet would largely decouple our transportation system from world oil markets. It could greatly reduce both economic and national security risks related to oil supply disruption and rapid price increases since little oil would be used to power our vehicles. It would also deprive a number of our enemies of revenues used to carry out terrorism or other forms of aggression.

Pure electric vehicles are poised to enter the markets in greater numbers. Battery technology and charging infrastructure might not be quite mature enough yet for general use, but it probably won’t be long before they are. In the meantime, hybrid vehicles with electric drivetrain components offer substantial fuel savings with little, if any, downside compared to traditional combustion engines. Rather than engaging in further arguments about electrified vehicles, the time has come to push for their implementation. The potential combined economic, environmental and national security benefits are significant. It looks like a win-win for the country.

Harold Adams.

Midlothian.

Did U.S. ‘watchdog role’ spawn collusion debate?

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

At issue here is the likely consequence of NATO’s repositioning in the 1990s, and a posited notion that “the Russians can’t stop us.”

That hotly debated initiative instilled the Atlantic alliance with a seeming “watchdog role” over democratic Russia’s western neighborhood, thus likely to stir nationalism in newly independent Ukraine and the Baltic countries.

Is it not also likely that Washington’s strategic turnaround would later evoke Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategic response, spawning a treasure-trove of irrelevance in much of today’s “breaking news” coverage of “collusion et al.”?

Lincoln Landis.

Locust Grove.

Other countries must care for their own citizens

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In reply to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s negative response to President Trump’s policies to protect our borders, I would like to remind her of the decades of ill treatment and neglect by many Latin American governments of their citizens. We have only to look at Venezuela as an example. In Central America, local governments have failed to provide a large percentage of their populations with basic needs and services, including education, medical care, safe housing and job opportunities. It is easier for these governments to encourage the underserved to come to the U.S. rather than change the entrenched status quo. Mexico has a history of allowing and assisting caravans to pass through to our borders.The result is illegal entry into the U.S. in violation of our long-standing immigration laws. In summary, it is easier and cheaper for these governments to send them to the U.S. than to assume responsibility for their own people. If we want to secure our borders, we must enforce our long-established laws. As a result, these countries will have to accept their responsibilities to their own citizens. It is past time.

Anne Foard.

Richmond.

Industrial waste a threat to James River watershed

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In response to Rebecca Tomazin’s column, “Virginia’s Clean Water Blueprint would cut pollution,” People are scared to swim in the James River with the sight of billowing smoke stacks just past the tree line. Residents of the James River watershed know the dangers the river possesses. Why does our legislature pretend the problem is fixed?

In March, law professor Noah Sachs and environmental lawyer David Flores released a report on the threat of toxic floodwaters in Virginia’s James River watershed. In the report, they portray a grim reality in which 1,000 of the 2,700 industrial facilities storing toxic waste near the James River are in danger of flooding and carrying the waste into the homes of more than 473,000 Virginians in high poverty. More than 200 of these facilities will flood if, due to storms or rising ocean levels, the James rises 1 to 5 feet.

Climate scientists warn the James River will rise 1 foot due to rising ocean levels by 2050, but this is not a problem for the future. For more than 30 years, whenever there has been torrential rainfall in the James River watershed, chemical waste, pesticides and oil are in floodwaters, causing deaths and illness. The Virginia General Assembly ordered the removal of 21 tons of coal ash from storage ponds along the James and Elizabeth rivers and has been tasked by the Environmental Protection Agency with upholding the Clean Water Act of 1977, but the risks of flooding have not been addressed. Sachs and Flores’ report recommends improved access to updated public records and a modernized waste storage policy upheld by a task force. Toxic floodwaters are a present danger and precautions must be taken. In the upcoming Virginia elections, voters should consider the candidate who gives proper attention to what gives the Piedmont and Tidewater regions life: the James River.

Peter Friesen.

Roanoke.

Morin touched many lives at Patrick Henry High

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

On June 10, I attended the funeral of Henry Christian Morin, who would have turned 19 on June 15. The service was held at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Glen Allen. Henry was due to graduate from Patrick Henry High School last week and would have attended the University of Colorado. The church was filled with many students from Patrick Henry, a very somber and reverent group who came to honor a friend and fellow classmate. It was evident that Henry was well-loved by the students as well as the staff at Patrick Henry.

In the last days of high school, our kids often feel the need to be adventurous and try something new. So was it for Henry and friends at a quarry near Charlottesville.

Those who came to honor Henry were sad to lose such a special teen. His life was reviewed by Fr. Jim Arsenault, the celebrant, and his parents. Such great sadness that all gathered would not see Henry again or enjoy his fellowship at graduation. Henry was an adventurous and innovative young man who was willing to explore new ideas and was ready to head west to Colorado. He will be missed.

I am grateful to the Patrick Henry students and faculty for giving such honor to Henry and comfort and support to his parents and brothers. Henry would give them a thumbs-up in gratitude. God has him now. The youth and congregation were invited to share a meal and share time with Henry’s parents and brothers. The students of Patrick Henry were ready to spread their wings for the future but not before giving thanks for the life of one of their own, Henry Christian Morin, who will now watch over them from a new place to explore and share new ideas with his creator.

Juanita Walker.

Glen Allen.

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