Letters: Readers weigh in on issues of the day
Methane does not contribute to ozone pollution
In a recent letter-to-the-editor a physician from Cortez stated his support for the new Bureau of Land Management methane rules and cited health concerns due to ozone pollution formed by volatile organic compounds and methane as one of the reasons he supports the rule.
When I studied environmental engineering, one of the courses I took was air pollution control. The text we used was “Air Pollution Control” by C. David Cooper and F. C. Alley.
In the section on ozone and smog the authors state that the contributors to ozone formation are nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and sunlight. They further state in the text that “olefins were the most photochemically reactive compounds, while paraffinic compounds such as methane and ethane were essentially non-reactive.”
In other words, methane does not contribute to the formation of ozone. Environmental groups and others who dislike the oil and gas industry have no factual basis for blaming methane emissions for our high ozone levels.
No reason left to keep marijuana illegal
At age 18, I attended a party where police found tiny amounts of marijuana. Without funds for an attorney, I accepted “deferred probation”. It has followed me my entire life. I graduated from college, law, and graduate school, yet I had to endure a hearing to ascertain my fitness to practice. It also caused employment rejection.
Later as assistant county attorney in El Paso, and the elected district attorney in Willacy County, Texas, I routinely dismissed pot cases. Prosecutor’s offices have limited budgets, yet mountains of cases. Dismissing marijuana, allowed me to send more dangerous criminals to prison. Even probation for pot was wasteful. Curfews and reporting requirements, should be for prowlers and burglars, not pot smokers.
Gov. Susana Martinez has to know this, however she seems to believe being against legalization will assist her political aspirations.
This problem persists, as 620,000 Americans were arrested for pot last year. Yes, illegal marijuana creates jobs for probation officers, prosecutors, bailiffs, chemists, clerical staff and many more; however taxpayers get soaked.
California and three other states legalized marijuana on Nov. 8. Voters were persuaded by the Colorado experience, where $2.4 billion in revenues and 17,000 jobs were created in legalization’s first year. This year’s final results will be far better. The Denver Post polled “Would you repeal legalization?” The answer; “No”, by a 51 to 36 percent margin. A 2016 Gallup poll showed support for legalization has grown to 60 percent, and an Albuquerque Journal Poll just last month, had 61 to 34 percent in favor.
Recent studies demonstrate no increased use among youngsters since legalization. Colorado is booming. New Mexico is not. Unemployment is high, and we have a “budget crisis.” I visited a “pot shop” in the tiny border town of Antonito, Colo. I asked from where they get most of their customers. “New Mexico.” We should fund our own economy; not theirs.
The old “Reefer Madness” arguments against marijuana have been dispelled. Today’s legalization opponents such as Insys Therapeutics, which develops synthetic painkillers, poured $500,000 into the “No” vote. It’s these “legal” painkillers, which cause so much addiction and harm. Prescription drugs increase our health costs and “Big Pharma” doesn’t want competition. I believe most attorneys however, are for legalization, even though it will reduce our income.
One lingering anti-pot argument is that people will ingest and drive. This happens anyway and it will be illegal everywhere. Not satisfied, opponents wonder how they will test for marijuana. Field tests still work, but jeez, how about we just arm each officer with a chocolate bar, and they could cuff the stoned drivers as they grab for it.
Legalization will come eventually, as it’s only the oldest age groups who are opposed. In February, 2016 the New Mexico Senate failed to pass legalization by only seven votes, however some of the “No voting dinosaurs” have been defeated, and it's more popular now.
Nancy Reagan “Just said No”, however 15 million Americans use it regularly, and about half our population has admitted trying marijuana.
Republicans are increasingly in favor, because of the fiscal benefits, and individual freedom arguments. Democrats are already there, and almost everyone wants to decrease the power of the violent drug cartels who smuggle pot across our border. Let’s legalize it, and have Mexico put up the wall, to keep New Mexicans from trafficking marijuana into their country.
Steve Fischer, farmer/attorney
Groups team up to provide care for children with asthma
According to the New Mexico Department of Health’s Burden of Asthma 2014 report, 47,000 children live with asthma, a chronic condition that makes breathing difficult and could lead to hospitalization. There is no cure for asthma and it is imperative that the disease be managed properly so children can lead healthy and active lives.
Health Care Service Corporation, or HCSC, and the American Lung Association have teamed up with clinics across the state to offer Enhancing Care for Children with Asthma. The program provides clinics with training, mentoring and technical assistance to ensure asthma patients and their families receive guidance and support throughout all stages of clinic care, resulting in increased health outcomes.
The program launched in 2012 in clinics in New Mexico, Illinois, Texas and Oklahoma, and as of 2015, Enhancing Care for Children with Asthma has reached 350,000 individuals in nearly 90 clinics.Initial results from 28 participating clinics in Illinois and New Mexico demonstrated a 62 percent decrease in hospitalizations for children diagnosed with asthma and a 54 percent decrease in emergency department visits for the same population.
We encourage more clinics throughout New Mexico to adopt the Enhancing Care for Children with Asthma Program to better serve and care for our children.
Kathleen Moseley, Regional Asthma Program Director
American Lung Association in New Mexico