Editorial roundup

The Marietta Times, March 4

Among contributors to the epidemic of opioid drug abuse was sale of prescription pain pills obtained legally. In some cases, people with no pain at all conned doctors into allowing them to buy the pills, which they sold at tidy profits. In other situations, people were given large supplies of pain pills and were able to sell those they didn’t need.

Ohio officials are working on rules for sale of marijuana to people who may benefit medically from the substance. One recommendation has been to limit the quantity and potency of potency available legally.

Good. The aim clearly is to ensure those who buy marijuana products legally do not sell surpluses to those who want the drug for recreational purposes.

Ohio is moving with appropriate care on medical marijuana — to avoid mistakes made in the past with other drugs.

The (Youngstown) Vindicator, March 4

For more than a decade now, marine biologists and other aquatic experts have made the potential perils to Lake Erie of a supersized enemy fish painfully clear.

For more than a decade now as well, governmental response to the economic and environmental threat posed by the Asian carp has moved painfully slow.

And now, fresh news indicates the administration of President Donald J. Trump appears intent on continuing that slow and dangerous crawl.

The Trump administration this week ordered an indefinite hold on the release of a study and plan to stop Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes by strengthening a choke point in the Chicago waterway system. The study had been scheduled for public release Tuesday.

Administration officials gave no clear reason for the delay and gave no indication when the study may be disclosed for public review and concrete action. We urge its expeditious release, as time is wasting to minimize the damage of these demon fish…

U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, and Mike Kelly of Butler, R-3rd, have signed on to a letter of protest to President Trump.

The Trump administration should listen to the congressmen’s plea, release the study and get down to work to blunt the threat.

The (Ashtabula) Star Beacon, March 5

America has an obligation to its retired coal miners. Union promised health insurance and pensions, largely depleted following the financial crisis in 2008, could vanish in less than 60 days, leaving more than 20,000 retired coal workers facing dire consequences.

The United Mine Workers Union sent notices to members that health and pension benefits will end April 30 unless Congress acts. Prior to 1974, the pension plan was 94 percent funded, according to Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, who is pushing to have Congress help fund the pensions. Another big factor, of course, was the overall downturn in the coal industry with fewer jobs and companies and dues paying members to support the pensions.

In many industries, this cycle is just the facts of life. The stock market can crash and pensions can be lost. But the coal industry isn’t like other businesses. A deal dating back to 1946 between President Harry Truman and the union to end a debilitating strike pledged to guarantee pensions and health benefits for the coal miners.

Today, however, some in Congress, or with the ears of Congress members, oppose spending federal tax dollars to help a private sector union. In most cases, this would be a reasonable position. But these workers put their lives and health at risk for years with the promise they would be taken care of on the back end…

The Sandusky Register, March 4

With the primary boating season upon us, beware: The U.S. EPA continues its embrace of the Renewable Fuel Standard, doggedly requiring fuel suppliers to use increasingly higher quantities of ethanol. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, January set new ethanol production records.

In order to accommodate ethanol production goals and use mandates, pre-calculated quantity levels are not being matched to reduced fuel demand. Instead, a higher concentration of ethanol is expected to be blended into shrinking amounts of gasoline.

The ethanol industry is pushing for widespread use of a more likely damaging mix of 15 percent ethanol/85 percent gasoline (E-15) from the current regular gasoline ratio of 10 percent ethanol/90 percent gasoline (E-10).

Most automobiles built before 2001 cannot operate on E-15, and Stihl and other lawn tool manufacturers warn against its use in small engines…

Ethanol in gasoline causes damage in small and older engines with hoses and gaskets not designed to resist the higher corrosive tendencies of alcohol. E-10 is also subject to stratification, where it can cause octane level variations and water absorption over time that reduce fuel combustion and efficiency…

Even if the law had the good intentions of reducing air pollution, conserving oil-based fossil fuels and/or lowering oil imports, too much corn production translates to less wildlife, lower species diversity, fewer pollinators and lower water tables where irrigation is used.