Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

February 11, 2014

Letters to the Editor: 02/11/2014

Trade agreements

The government wants a new trade agreement, the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), which is written by and for big corporations. Its chief achievement will not necessarily be more trade but fewer protections for the people of this country. Its dispute resolution system will bypass our courts and avoid compliance with local, state and national laws that protect the environment and public safety.

It has been negotiated without significant congressional participation, with lots of corporate participation, and without involvement of citizen organizations. Besides this, the administration is seeking “fast track” authority (meaning an up-or-down vote without opportunity for amendments).

Legally trade agreements are treaties and supreme law of the land, coequal with other federal laws. They can take precedence over federal and state laws. This is why they are so potentially threatening to the health and safety protections that we have enacted.

Supporters of the TPP will claim that it will improve the U.S. trade balance and employment. Analyses of previous trade agreements show that this is not the case, and in fact the contrary is true (see David Bonior’s op-ed in the New York Times, Jan. 30).

Tell your representative: no to fast track; no to the TPP.

Marcia Curran

Frankfort

No ‘Air Walk’

Two weeks before my high school graduation my friends and I spent “senior skip day” touring Leelanau County. We sat on the beach in Glen Haven, ate ice cream at Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor, then headed for Leland’s Fishtown.

But the highlight was hiking the Pyramid Point trail, emerging atop a bluff with a view of the Manitou Islands. We ran down the steep hill and climbed back up. We didn’t need a bridge through the woods. We found a lookout of our own.

Leelanau Peninsula doesn’t need an “Air Walk” because it already has ample trails and peaks to explore. It’s unsettling that a man-made structure could become an attracting force to an area rich with natural appeal. While I wish everyone the opportunity to visit Leelanau, the Air Walk has the potential for disruption.

Surely we can’t keep the area a hidden gem, and we shouldn’t. But we can protect the ecosystem and respect residents by saying “no” to the Air Walk. When high school kids venture to Leelanau decades from now, I hope they feel sand beneath their feet – not metal – as they gaze out from up above.

Lydia Belanger

Traverse City

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