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Shouldn’t officials be safeguarding public health?

Re “Toxic runoff from landfill still allowed to reach river” (Page A1, Nov. 6): We rightly expect officials at the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to make decisions that make our lives safer and the well-being of our environment more sustainable. One can understand, though not excuse, how a business interest or an interest group might make decisions that are self-serving though harmful to society, but we really need to count on government officials, who have a responsibility to safeguard public health and environmental sustainability, to make decisions that continue to make the world better. Come on!

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Monte Allen

Somerville

The capability is there to reduce our suffering — is the will?

Thanks for David Abel’s article, which reports on a controversial permit allowing a New Hampshire landfill to send polluted runoff to a treatment plant that empties into the Merrimack River.

According to the article, "officials at Waste Management, the Texas-based company that owns Turnkey Landfill, said it has the capability to filter out the chemicals but isn’t required to do so.”

Given the public health and environmental hazards, if Waste Management were more public-spirited, the company could reduce environmental degradation and human suffering. Could other agencies dumping toxic chemicals use Waste Management’s capability as well?

Mark Hanson

Concord