Letters to the Editor

2/3 Letters: Atlantic Coast Pipeline leads N.C. to a dead-end future

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is not the future of energy for North Carolina or anywhere. In “NC OKs key permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline” (Jan. 27), natural gas is described as “modern” and Duke Energy characterized the pipeline as “a boon for the economy and a plus for the environment,” but this could not be further from the truth.

As the Dakota Access pipeline’s five leaks in six months last year highlights, these pipelines are not as safe or reliable as they are advertised. Instead of a slow transition to renewables, we need a carbon fee to disincentivize the use of fossil fuels of all kinds and introduce some stability into the energy market. The future is renewables, so why are we spending our money and endangering our water and our land for something that is on its way to becoming obsolete?

Casey Berger


Stop Afghan War

I appreciated the editorial, “US can’t ignore sexual abuse of children by Afghan security forces” (Jan. 31). How sickening it is for American taxpayers to be paying the salaries of Afghan Security Forces who keep young boys as sex slaves and commit other gross human violations.

Even worse: for years, top American officials have turned a blind eye to the abuse. They have punished American soldiers who confronted Afghan abusers. And they exploit loopholes to get around laws put in place by Congress to stop the flow of American taxpayers’ money to Afghan child rapists.

For 16 years, we have occupied Afghanistan. We have wasted over $800 billion there. We have lost over 2,000 brave men and women. By funding those who rape young boys, we are losing our morality as well. How much lower will we sink in a failed attempt to prop up the corrupt government of the “graveyard of empires?” The American people can put a stop to this. Tell your elected officials in Washington that enough is enough.

U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones, a Republican, represents North Carolina’s Third Congressional District.

Protect SNAP

We must urge Congress to #protectSNAP and help vulnerable North Carolinians. Shortly after Congress passed corporate tax cuts that will add $1 trillion to the deficit, they renewed their focus on cutting social programs. One of the programs under attack is SNAP, formerly food stamps, a program that helps 1.5 million low-income North Carolinians buy essential groceries each month for themselves and their families.

The President’s budget proposes cutting SNAP by $193 million. Some members of Congress are now seeking to further slash benefits, change the structure, and add work requirements to this important program. What they fail to understand, however, is that SNAP in its current form is effective and efficient.

SNAP benefits provide nutrition assistance for our state’s most vulnerable people. In North Carolina, SNAP benefits predominantly aid households with children, seniors, and people with disabilities. And these benefits pay long-term dividends: in addition to reducing hunger, those who receive SNAP benefits in early childhood have a lower risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes as adults. SNAP is also associated with higher use of preventive care, which can contribute to lower healthcare costs overall.

Furthermore, SNAP pumped $2.2 billion into North Carolina’s economy last year alone. The program is also responsible for lifting hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians out of poverty. Not only does SNAP work – for those most in need and for the state’s economy at large – but its current structure allows the program to expand in times of greater need, such as the 2008 recession, and contract in times of economic prosperity. Eleven food policy councils across the state of North Carolina, including our local food council the Durham Farm & Food Network, have joined with over 120 cross-sector organizations to urge Congress members to #protectSNAP.

Next week, we will ask Senators Burr and Tillis and Congressperson Butterfield to reject any proposals in the 2018 Farm Bill that cut funding to SNAP and other federal nutrition programs, shift costs to the states or otherwise reduce benefits affecting low-income families, workers, children, the unemployed or the elderly.

Sam Hoeffler

Durham Farm & Food Network