Saturday/Sunday, March 10-11, 2012: Toxic air and democracy

Posted March 09, 2012, at 2:18 p.m.

Keep toxics rules

Now we don’t just have to watch out for the likes of Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma (“Keep mercury rule strong,” BDN OpEd, March 5) trying to scuttle the new mercury and air toxics standard which, if allowed to take effect, will substantially reduce air emissions of mercury (by 90 percent), arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium and cyanide from coal and oil-burning power plants.

Now, our very own Sen. Susan Collins has introduced a rider to the Senate transportation bill (SA 1660 to S. 1813) eliminating EPA toxic air pollution standards for industrial boilers and incinerators. This rider also would significantly delay and weaken clean-up of toxic air pollution from these sources, which function as industrial power plants.

Maine has been called “the tailpipe of the nation” because prevailing winds blow air pollution into our state from industry to our south and west. As a result, Maine has a higher rate of asthma compared to the rest of the country. According to the EPA, the new mercury air toxics standard will save as many as 11,000 lives, prevent as many as 130,000 asthma attacks among children and prevent as many as 4,700 heart attacks nationwide. Yikes. Who would want to delay these rules?

I urge Sen. Collins to withdraw this amendment, which is unrelated to the bill it rides on. People should contact both Maine senators to ask them to support the new EPA mercury rule and let them know that we are watching.

Leda Beth Gray

Blue Hill

Obama’s drive to right

Regarding the BDN’s March 5 story “Holder says US can target citizens overseas in terror fight,” are Americans willing to surrender their constitutional protections in order to fight “terrorism”? Attorney General Erik Holder and President Obama believe they are willing, and continue to pave the way for dismantling our rights in the name of national defense.

I ask those who voted for President Obama — for “change” — to explain their passivity, indifference and total disregard for this president’s continuation of the Bush-Cheney-Pentagon-DHS agendas of total war, total fear, total militarism, total supplication to Wall Street and “the markets.”

The hushed constituency of Dems, liberals and progressives would, by now, have our president impeached if he were not Obama (the best president the Republicans ever had). Mr. Obama’s role was to neutralize opposition and move the entire political spectrum into right field. He succeeded.

But Obama loyalism, GOP religionism and militarism, and middle America’s creeping “good German” mentality are induced principally by the news media, which says nothing about losses to our constitutional safeguards, nothing about an escalating dismantling of our democracy, nothing about increasing censorship and the suppression of opinion and views contrary to the status quo.

To many, today’s media content seems no better than propaganda. Our intelligence community seems no better than the KGB and Stasi. And our unbridled militarism has surpassed that of any previous administration.

If the Constitution, democracy and truth are to prevail, they can do so only with people that are vigilant and awake.

Michael T. Bucci

Damariscotta

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/03/09/opinion/letters/saturdaysunday-march-10-11-2012-toxic-air-and-democracy/ printed on July 22, 2014