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Thursday, May 30, 2013 12:21 pm

Letters to the Editor 5/30/13


The projected second mural for the Artification project, a vintage-style Farmers Market ad by Troy Freeman.

As a 20-year part-time resident of downtown Springfield, I look forward to Downtown Springfield Inc. “Artification” project [see “Artification of Springfield,” by Scott Faingold, May 16]. Using a local artist is also a plus.

A vibrant downtown in the capital city is crucial for tourism, workers, residents and economic development. The civic pride, rich history and architectural beauty of downtown Springfield will last for generations.

Now, if we can make downtown more economically vibrant and have a renaissance of the surrounding residential areas of Springfield’s central core, we’ll really be on to something.

I look forward to working with local officials to make Springfield the crown jewel of central Illinois… after all, it – not Chicago – is our capital!

Sen. Kirk W. Dillard

State Sen. Kirk Dillard, a probable candidate for governor, is a Republican from Hinsdale.

During the current debate on fracking in Illinois, a representative of the Heartland Institute (an organization that is known the questioning the science of climate change) attempted to refute Professor Sandra Steingraber’s well-thought-out analysis of the harm that can be created by fracking. The former used information from the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, akin to quoting the fox’s opinion about the chicken coop.

Why are legislators and industry representatives frightened of a moratorium that will allow time and space for a thorough study of the health and environmental effects of fracking? If they are so certain it will not negatively affect the health and well being of residents and the integrity of the land, you would think that they would welcome the results that could inform increased safety practices before embarking on this intrusive technology. Does the increase in jobs outweigh the possible permanent damage to the land, the water supply and the people of Illinois?

Diane Lopez Hughes

When Congress considers the Farm Bill, average taxpayers and parents of young children should be reminded of how these policies have been affecting them. Our current food policy is deeply flawed, with giant and profitable agribusinesses getting taxpayer handouts that subsidize the production of junk food ingredients.

Since 1995, taxpayers have shelled out $277 billion in agricultural subsidies. While defenders of the subsidies claim they’re needed to help small farmers, it’s the few large operations, less than 4 percent of agribusinesses, which receive three-quarters of that money. On top of the fact that the profitable agribusinesses getting these handouts – most notably Cargill and Monsanto – don’t need them, $18 billion has gone to subsidizing common junk food additives like high-fructose corn syrup.

Congress should get it right this time and side with taxpayers, not Big Ag.

Hailey Golds
Field director, Illinois PIRG


I was shocked to learn that the U.S. Senate had to defeat an attempt to allow more pollution into the streams and wetlands that feed Lake Michigan. For more than a decade, our waterways have been at risk of increased pollution thanks to two polluter-driven Supreme Court decisions that opened loopholes in the Clean Water Act. These decisions left 57 percent of Illinois’ streams, which feed and clean our lake, at risk. The Senate narrowly defeated an amendment that would have blocked the restoration of these Clean Water Act safeguards. Unfortunately, Illinois Senator Mark Kirk supported the amendment.

I worry that if his crucial vote continues to swing toward pollution, then Illinois children will not be able to enjoy the summertime benefits of safe water that I cherished as a child. I encourage you to call Senator Kirk and tell him not to choose polluters’ interests over the health of our waterways in the future.

Kate Abendroth, intern
Environment Illinois, Evanston

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