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Saturday, June 11: LURC, security and the climate

In LURC we trust

My husband and I have lived in Frenchtown Township in the Unorganized Territory for 26 years. For all those years we have come to trust the Land Use Regulation Commission both for small permitting issues and larger regional decisions that affect Maine’s North Woods. LURC has proven its worth protecting the tremendous resources of the North Woods for the benefit of Maine people.

I have spoken with many of my neighbors in the UT and we can’t believe that the Legislature has seriously considered abolishing LURC. Such an action would be devastating on so many levels, from increased taxes, unpredictable permitting and weakened environmental protection to upsetting the balance between forest products, tourism and wildlife that has sustained this region for generations.

What the Legislature should be doing instead is considering ways to improve LURC. There are certainly areas where LURC can be improved for the benefit of everyone, but rather than abolishment, let’s keep what is working and make it even better. This needs to be an open discussion that includes all interests. To limit the discussion to only the viewpoints of those in favor of abolishment is to do a tremendous disservice to the people and the resources of Maine.

As Mainers, we know that when times are tough, you have to save and reuse. Well, times are tough and Maine simply can’t afford to throw away LURC and buy something new. LURC isn’t perfect, but let’s fix it, not abolish it.

Joan Marie Wisher
Frenchtown Township

Real security worries

Shame on lawmakers in Augusta for wanting to add $500,000 to the budget for State House security. They’re worried about their health and safety. How do they think the elderly and sick feel about LD 1333?

I’m in treatment for stage 4 breast cancer; that is stressful enough. Our rates will go up and we may be required to drive much further for treatment. Cancer patients I see at Waldo County General Hospital and Cancer Care of Maine are very worried about LD 1333.

Last year my husband and I drove 6,300 miles and spent over $12,000 out of pocket.

My husband is a retired teacher of 29 years. After paying Anthem, he has $10,600 per year left. If the rate goes to the 1:2 rate it will take all of his retirement. We could be charged a rate increase every year to the 1:5 level. Who could afford that?

Now lawmakers are spending money on themselves so they will feel secure; Anthem’s elderly and sick don’t feel secure.

Carla Brown

Cheering offshore wind

Here is an addition to the dialog on alternative energies.

Tidal power: From a 1936 Army Corps of Engineering report on the Quoddy project in Eastport: “Eleven million cubic yards of fill, 280,000 cubic yards of concrete, 12,000 tons of structural steel and 6,000 tons of reinforcing steel, would be required. Each of the five turbines would weigh 1,000 tons.”

The electricity generated would be about 10 percent of Maine’s current use. The laws of physics have not changed since 1936. It takes a mountain of “stuff” in tidal estuaries to generate trivial amounts of electricity.

Biofuels: If we could turn Maine’s entire annual tree growth into hydrocarbons, we would still be unable to meet our current use of petroleum fuels. The Department of Chemical Engineering’s work is, however, very useful and could create “value added” to the current papermaking process. But as a replacement for gasoline, diesel, oil and jet fuel? Never!

Wind: When Denmark had 4,000 megawatts of wind capacity a shift in wind velocity of about two miles per hour would change the output by about 400 megawatts. This is not a problem as Denmark has strong electric ties to the rest of the EU and the Scandinavian countries. Will Hydro-Quebec back us up?

We are in deep trouble. Fossil fuels are limited along with the ability of the atmosphere to absorb the debris. We have lost our nerve on the nuclear option. Hence, we should cheer this offshore wind stuff. But it will not be easy.

Richard C. Hill
Old Town

Unborn’s rights unrecognized

As a woman, I was very disappointed this week when the Maine Senate and House voted down LD 1463, “An Act Regarding Offenses Against an Unborn Child.”

This bill was not about abortion and restricting women from having them, nor arresting those who choose that option. The opponents of this bill did erroneously make it about abortion. Instead, this bill was about trying to bring justice.

If a pregnant woman was murdered and her unborn child dies as a result, under the current Maine law only one victim is recognized — the mother. Families who have been robbed of the mother and of meeting the little one someday are not allowed the satisfaction of the murderer receiving two life sentences for the crimes. The death of the unborn child is recognized by Maine courts as an aggravated assault.

In 2004, however, the federal government did pass a similar law. It was known as the “Laci and Connor Peterson” bill. Even pro-choice Sens. Collins, Reid, Daschle and others voted in favor of this law. Thirty-six other states, including Massachusetts, have passed a similar law. They recognize justice for the unborn in the case of homicide. I hope someday that the Maine legislators will recognize the weakness of the current law and will revisit this bill.

Cynthia Izon

Don’t need a weatherman

Regarding the BDN’s June 9 story, “Heat grips much of US; scientists say get used to it”: In contrast to this heat, the Eastern United States, Northern Europe and East Asia have experienced extraordinary snowy and cold winters since the turn of this century. Blame Siberia. As global temperatures have warmed and as Arctic sea ice has melted over the past two and a half decades, more moisture has become available to fall as snow over the continents. The snow cover across Siberia in the fall has steadily increased.

The sun’s energy reflects off the bright white snow and escapes back out to space. As a result, the temperature cools. The cold air from Siberia slips south into East Asia, southwestward into Europe, and westward into the United States.

Richard W. Sykes

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