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Readers write: June 5

EPA rule protects coastal economy

Water for drinking and recreation can only be kept clean, and fish uncontaminated, by ensuring all waters flowing into water supplies, rivers and swimming and fishing areas are protected. The new EPA rule (“Feds look to regulate 40K miles of Ga. streams,” News, May 28) is based on extensive studies evaluating such connections, so that previously exempted small streams can no longer cause downstream health problems for humans and wildlife.

In coastal Georgia, this rule has particular significance because the environment is so vital to our quality of life and nature-based economy. Some 40,000 jobs in the six coastal counties — one fifth of our economy, valued at $2 billion annually — are derived from outdoor recreation, eco-tourism, fishing and related environment-dependent activities. Objections to the new EPA water rule are grossly unfair and disingenuous – political propaganda in the guise of sanctimonious “regulatory overreach” accusations. If we value our health and economic vitality, the new water protections should be celebrated, not scorned.


Beltline connection is game changer

In “Transportation solutions within reach” (Opinion June 2), David Allman identified the simplest and most revolutionary transportation change that Atlanta could make: “Accelerate completion of the (Beltline) pathways.” I recently followed the rail tracks from the end of the northeast trail to the start of the southwest trail, and I was impressed by the attractive neighborhoods along the way. As the northeast trail extends south, it will connect neighborhoods from north to south, and it will entice suburban commuters into the city. Reduced commuting is the best solution to traffic congestion. To the realize these benefits, however, the Beltline must be built. As Allman rightly notes, we need to accelerate completion of the Beltline.


Elderly more at risk as pedestrians

As summer kicks off and families are on the move, roadway safety is paramount. While the trend in overall traffic fatalities has been declining, pedestrian fatality rates have risen and remain high across the country, particularly for older persons, nearly 8 million of whom do not drive. In Georgia, adults 65 or older comprise 10 percent of the state’s population and 11.5 percent of pedestrian fatalities from 2003 to 2010. People 75 years and older account for 4.3 percent of Georgia’s population and 6.2 percent of pedestrian fatalities. A bipartisan group of House members has introduced the Safe Streets Act, which U.S. Rep. John Lewis has co-sponsored. HR 2071 will ensure federal transportation investments to provide safe travel for all ages and abilities — whether driving, walking, bicycling or taking public transportation. AARP encourages other members of the Georgia delegation to support this bill.


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