Letters to the Editor

The recently sold Sunoco oil refinery along the Schuylkill, which has prompted debate about the nation’s energy future. MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
The recently sold Sunoco oil refinery along the Schuylkill, which has prompted debate about the nation’s energy future. MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer
Posted: May 28, 2012

The risks of fossil fuels

I kept thinking the article "U.S. must work to adapt to new energy landscape" (May 20) by Chris Lafakis would address the need to invest in "new energy," such as wind and solar power. However, it’s all about the refining and pricing of oil, including dirty tar-sands oil from Canada.

I would have thought that a Moody’s economist, with risk management in his mind-set, would have at least mentioned the risk to our economy, public health, and the environment if we continue to use fossil fuels as our predominant energy source.

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering the historic step of declaring the carbon released into the atmosphere as we burn these fossil fuels to be a pollutant. It’s high time it did, and I hope concerned individuals will let the EPA know of their support for this move.

Sue Carroll Edwards, Swarthmore

Claiming Cherokee ancestry

George Parry mentioned that the Cherokees were removed from their lands in Tennessee and Georgia just prior to the Trail of Tears. Actually, the Cherokee Nation had ceded its Tennessee lands to the government long before 1838 ("Generationally wrong, fractionally incorrect," Sunday). I think Parry meant to say that the Cherokees were removed from Georgia and North Carolina.

Elizabeth Warren’s claims to Cherokee ancestry, "my grandmother had high cheekbones" or long, black hair, are all-too-common claims that cause eyes to roll in the Native American community. Many peoples around the world have high cheekbones or black hair.

In addition, the Cherokees have some of the best ancestry documentation in the country. Anyone can "claim" Cherokee ancestry, but to garner favoritism for employment purposes should require a person to prove tribal enrollment/registration.

Warren’s comment about the high cheekbones means she hasn’t done her homework, nor does she really know much about Cherokee history/culture. She can become a registered member of the Cherokee Nation, assuming her ancestor wasn’t a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokees (a separate process), by providing her documentation to the tribal headquarters in Tahlequa, Okla. As long as her ancestor is listed on the official Dawes Roll, she’s in.

Pax Riddle, Phoenixville

Borrowers in Pa. need protection

With payday lending widely available via the Internet, the Pennsylvania Department of Banking is overmatched trying to stop lenders who locate offshore, use the sovereignty of Native American tribes, or shift post-office business addressees to evade prosecution. Pennsylvanians need a safer, less costly way to address financial emergencies.

House Bill 2191, which I am sponsoring, contains a number of crucial consumer protections that do not exist, and would require payday lenders to be licensed and heavily regulated. The legislation limits borrowing to 25 percent of a person’s gross paycheck, eliminates rollover loans, and provides for credit counseling and extended payment plans at no additional charge. Borrowers are charged a one-time interest fee of 12.5 percent on the principal borrowed, and an additional $5 fee to cover the cost of program monitoring and administration. The loans are designed to be paid off in one pay period, and, if necessary, may be extended for four additional pay periods at no additional costs.

Without these protections, Pennsylvanians may be subjected to an endless cycle of fees, interest, and penalties from which the borrower may never be able to escape.

With my legislation, borrowers will typically see their costs slashed in half, and strict regulation will cut into the profits of abusive Internet lenders, effectively driving them out of Pennsylvania. Of the 34 other states that license this form of short-term lending, Pennsylvania’s law would be among the most protective.

State Rep. Chris Ross, is a Republican representing the 158th District in Chester County

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