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Letters to the editor: Air quality regulations could be eliminated

Tax code


According to the report from the controlling branch of the House and Senate, the new tax code proposed will add over $428 to the national deficit for every man, woman, and child in the United States every year for the next 10 years. That's over a $150 billion a year added to the national deficit and it sounds like that is acceptable to the majority party.

I don't understand how the push for U.S. corporations to bring their money back to the USA by offering a lower tax rate while increasing the national deficit is a good thing. Corporations are looking for the best return on their money for the stockholders.

Proposing to tax student educational grant money as income in order to have the students use the grant money to pay taxes to the very institution that issued the money in the first place is just dumb.

I hope I'm missing something on the proposed tax code change because at first impression it reminds me of asking the boss for a pay cut so you can borrow more money to live on while your in laws move into your house and put their money in the bank.

If you think sticking your head in the sand and just assuming everything is going to be ok is your way of dealing with it, I suggest you watch the original Poseidon adventure. Unless that is what you did last November, then, never mind.

There's a big difference if you run a country like a big business versus a society. Big business has only one thing in mind, return on its investment. Eliminate the weak and the vulnerable unless you can make money off of them.

Tony R. Huppert

Spring Valley

Air quality regulations could be eliminated


As if the Trump administration's attacks on public health and the environment weren't enough, Wisconsin Public Radio reported on Nov. 21 that the Wisconsin State Assembly is considering a bill to eliminate all of our state's air quality regulations by the end of next year.

Wisconsin regulates 293 pollutants not covered by federal law, including 94 which have been found in Wisconsin's environment. Our legislators argue that the DNR can reintroduce regulations subject to approval by the legislature. Rep. Jimmy Anderson of Fitchburg objects, "It seems that we're sweeping away the entirety of the regulations that are above the federal level and asking the DNR to re-do the work."

Sarah Barry of Clean Wisconsin explains that the extra regulations are especially important in protecting Wisconsin residents from the emissions of smaller plants not regulated by the federal government, which may have the most damaging effects on health and the environment.

This irresponsible move on the part of the Assembly may reflect an alarming trend toward what some call "air pollution denialism" now influencing government policy. Professor Robert Phalen at the University of California at Irvine has mind-bogglingly claims that "Modern air is a little too clean for optimum health." He asserts that a certain level of pollution somehow immunizes us against dirty air. This man is a current nominee for science advisor at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Meanwhile, the American Lung Association has joined with other organizations to sue the EPA for delaying the implementation of smog standards. The EPA's manifest neglect of its mission blows holes in any argument for trusting the agency to enforce even its minimal standards.

It appears that any policy in which Wisconsin has proudly led the nation is now threatened by powerful moneyed interests with a stake in undoing our laws.

Thomas R. Smith

River Falls

Ag Extension agent for Pierce County


November's county board meeting had the most positive response to getting the Ag Extension position back in place to 20 to 50 percent but with no funding available it didn't happen.

Working with Pepin County to start out at 20 percent and go to 50 percent as soon as possible, with the majority of our farms in the western part of our county and next to Pepin County is the best way to work this out.

I have been in contact with Ag Extension Agent and the department head in Pepin County; they would like to work together to re-establish the Ag Extension position here.

Then get back to having field days, seminars, questions answered, help at our fair and many other ag events and soil loss nutrient management, etc.

The cost for this position for 20 percent is $9,000; for 50 percent it's $23,000.

Hopefully in January or February at our county board meeting we can get the Ag Extension approved and funded. Thank you for your support on this issue.

Dean Bergseng

County Board Supervisor

River Falls