Maquiladoras and Environmental Protection

Regarding the article ``Maquiladoras Mint Plethora of Labor Disputes,'' May 21: Lax pollution standards are no longer an incentive for US firms to move south. The 1986 Bilateral Agreement with Mexico states that raw materials move from the US to maquiladoras ``in-bond,'' and that any hazardous waste generated must return to the US for disposal. The Clean Air Act requires both nations to monitor and improve air quality. It also mandates US technology transfer to expedite pollution control. The International Boundary and Water Commission monitors water quality in the region.

Current negotiations provide an excellent opportunity to set international standards for workers' rights and to prevent toxic discharges by introducing more stringent pollution controls.

Whether a free-trade pact is approved or not, environmental consciousness has arrived at the border. The challenge is to keep up the pressure so that both governments live up to the spirit of the laws they themselves formulated.

John H. Hubbard, Cincinnati

Millionaire ambassadors Regarding the editorial ``Pros as US Envoys,'' May 21: You might have pointed out that the basic reason most top US diplomatic posts in Western Europe are held by noncareer individuals is that the salary and expense allowances meted out to envoys by the US Congress are totally inadequate for obligatory expenditures. Such expenditures, therefore, have to be covered by the envoy's private resources.

It is not a question of the competence of the State Department to select trained professionals for the diplomatic corps; the problem is that only wealthy aspirants need apply.

Patricia MacDonald, Nantucket, Mass.

Don't leave home... Regarding the editorial ``Have Power, Won't (Allow) Travel,'' May 20: It is not surprising that the Soviet legislators will not pass the bill allowing free travel and immigration. The Soviet Union is new in the democracy business and its leaders have never been accommodating toward the people.

Soviet legislators have in most cases been there for many years, when communism was the form of government. It will take a lot more work for these men to change their views, and until they do, the Soviet people are stuck with the promise of democracy, and little freedom.

Susan M. Fahey, Windsor, Conn.

Truth or dare or filth? I am shocked and appalled at the article ``Madonna's Screen Test,'' May 21. I cannot believe that the Monitor would give credence to such filth; that you even acknowledge her new film ``Truth or Dare'' in a review is repulsive. She is the most disgusting woman in the world.

Cris Kaufman, Irvine, Calif.

Nostalgia-gate The recent opinion-page column ``A Farewell to the CIA's `Mr. Clean','' May 21, mentions the ``scandal-ridden Truman administration.'' Really!

We didn't know ``vicuna'' until the Eisenhower administration [Sherman Adams, Ike's chief of staff, was forced to retire in 1958 in a controversy over gifts received in office, including a vicuna coat]. This was followed by ``Watergate,'' ``Iran-gate,'' and now the coming ``hostage-gate.'' It makes one nostalgic for some just plain old graft.

Phyllis J. Kuhn, Olympia, Wash.

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