Editorial roundup


The (Canton) Repository, Feb. 9

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a multibillion-dollar, interstate pipeline project that will allow 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day to be shipped from the Utica and Marcellus shales to markets in the Great Lakes, Midwest and Gulf Coast regions and to Canada. Portions of the 710-mile, dual 42-inch-diameter pipeline will cross southwestern Stark, as well as Tuscarawas and Carroll counties.

The entire $4.2 billion project is expected to be complete in November.

That’s good news for the local, regional and state economy. Such infrastructure is a critical connection for oil and gas producers in the Appalachian Basin. They will be able to move natural gas from processing facilities in eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia to a hub in Defiance, Ohio, then to interconnecting pipelines in Michigan and Ontario.

The benefits come in many forms, from the temporary construction jobs that will be created to build the pipeline to the businesses that will supply the materials, like pipes and fittings. As many as 10,000 construction jobs will be created for the project, including between 4,500 and 6,500 in Ohio. An estimated 76 percent of the materials that will be used for the pipeline will be made in the United States…

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The Columbus Dispatch, Feb. 12

Ohio lawmakers are asking good questions about the money that Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget would devote to the state’s opioid epidemic and the collateral damage from it.

Last week, Republican and Democrat legislators said they are concerned that the budget does not do enough. The concern is warranted. Ohio leads the nation in drug-overdose deaths, with 3,050 recorded in 2015, the most recent year with complete statistics…

In this context, lawmakers are right to question the governor’s budget. The Kasich administration says Ohio is spending $940 million a year to fight the plague of drug deaths, with about $650 million provided as a result of Medicaid expansion that provides tens of thousands of Ohioans with health care they previously didn’t have.

But Rep. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, said, “A less-than-1-percent increase for mental-health and drug-addiction services is not what I was expecting to see in this budget,” adding, “Tell me how this budget is going to make a difference, save lives and put resources in our communities?”

…Given these circumstances, Ohio legislators are right to question the governor’s budget. Ohio is in the grip of a plague that shows no signs of abating. Stronger efforts are needed to combat it.

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The (Toledo) Blade, Feb. 13

Democrats are picking the wrong guy — the wrong target — if they choose to go all out in opposition to Judge Neil Gorsuch — the President’s pick for an opening on the Supreme Court of the United States.

The Dems would be both smart and classy if they backed Mr. Gorsuch instead.

First, there is the politics of the matter: Mr. Trump picked a serious person, not an ideologue or a hack. Mr. Gorsuch makes an excellent impression and is likely to make an even better one in confirmation hearings…

Then there is substance. The Democrats should lose this fight. Judge Gorsuch is qualified, indeed, according to many who have studied his work closely, highly qualified. They say he brilliant; a giant of legal reasoning…

Of course, Democrats feel they have a right to block President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. Senate Republicans, in a shameless display of crass power and partisanship, declared they would not consider any person President Barack Obama nominated to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, after his untimely death a year ago…

That was an abuse of power, and Democrats are, understandably, itching for retribution…

But retribution gets us nowhere. We can’t have government by payback — one party abusing nominees and the system and then the other…

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The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Feb. 10

Despite last year’s $200,000 fine from the Federal Aviation Administration for failing to adequately staff and de-ice airport runways, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport may still have issues with snow and ice removal, based on an internal memo and the airport’s brief closure Dec. 30 during an ice storm.

Newly sworn-in Airport Director Robert Kennedy must resolve this potentially dangerous issue once and for all by providing closer supervision, better training and by demanding that employees get the job done — or else.

Too many lives are potentially at risk for airport officials to shrug off this issue. The city maintains that no one has ever been in any danger because runways have been closed long before they become too slippery for landings and takeoffs.

Meanwhile, the FAA is still watching. “As part of a regularly scheduled review next month, the FAA will assess the airport’s overall compliance with the new winter operations plan,” said Tony Molinaro, a spokesman for the FAA, in a Jan. 31 email to the editorial board.

The hiring of the highly regarded Kennedy, former deputy manager of the Atlanta airport and a sought-after consultant, is welcome news for Cleveland, which needs to improve the professionalism and oversight of its airport operations…