Anthracite plays key role in state
Northeastern Pennsylvania provides more than 95 percent of North America's supply of anthracite, a pure, low-sulfur coal that burns virtually smokeless ("Amid growth of renewables, coal fights to keep its share," Jan. 23). Anthracite mining employs hundreds of Pennsylvanians in well-paid positions. We also play a key role in the effort to repair the environmental damage done by previous deep mining.
The industry operates under permits requiring the full restoration of the underground and surface to pre-mined conditions.
Over the life of current mining activity, this reclamation eliminates the damaging impacts of acid-water runoff and discharges from earlier deep-mining efforts that for years have affected the headwaters of the Schuylkill, Susquehanna, and Lehigh Rivers.
This part of the Pennsylvania coal industry is a smaller, regionally important part of our state economy.
Chairman & CEO
Blaschak Coal Corp.
Time for action on gun control
I heard the promises about jobs, the economy, and education in the State of the Union address ("Obama outlines plan for economic revival," Wednesday). What I did not hear was any mention of gun control. My wife said it was too soon to mention because we need the cooperation of Republicans to get legislation passed. I understand the point, but disagree.
What is more basic to the fabric of our society that the personal security of our citizens? How many times did we hear that security must be established in Iraq before it could become a viable nation? How many 9-year-old children, police officers, and innocent bystanders must die in our country before the administration finds the courage to propose even modest gun-control legislation?
The passage of time will not make it any easier to take on the shameless NRA and other opponents of gun control.
Mark G. Wolkoff
How to create a better future
With the State of the Union address and the response now over, we can only hope that the rhetoric has stopped and the work begins. It is time for the Republicans and Democrats, President Obama and Congress to roll up their sleeves and show us that they can provide bipartisan support to sensible and nonpartisan solutions to our nation's problems.
Congress must end earmarks, provide legislation that will address our national debt by reducing spending on defense and social insurance programs, and provide tax reform that will be fair but raise more revenue.
We as a nation must start to buy American goods, be prepared to sacrifice, and accept some difficult choices if we are going to create a better future.
More jobs starts with education
It was great that President Obama focused on job creation in the State of the Union address. With the economy recovering but unemployment still high, this new focus on jobs will be very helpful to the country. Even better, Obama emphasized job creation from an educational source. By improving schools' math and science programs, more students will be able to move into science and engineering-oriented career fields. These jobs will help the United States create new technologies that may be used to produce our own goods instead of having to rely on other countries like China.
Workers gave hearts, souls to the city
Don't you ever tire of writing about city workers and DROP in a negative light? Monica Yant Kinney's words about Council President Anna C. Verna were uncalled for ("Time to ring out Council's old!" Wednesday). She forgets that city workers worked for years for much lower wages than their counterparts in private industry, and the benefit packages got better because the city did not want to give raises. I am proud of the more than 34 years I served in the Fire Department and I am sure Verna is proud of her accomplishments as both a city employee and elected official.
Please, get it right. Your words are portraying a lot of us who gave our hearts and souls to the city of Philadelphia for decades in a way we do not deserve.
Matthew J. McCrory Jr.
Retired Deputy Chief
Philadelphia Fire Department Philadelphia