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Monday, Sept. 10, 2012: Seaweed harvest, something worth fighting for, candidate taxes

Decades of sustainable harvesting

The issue of seaweed ownership, as raised in the Sept. 1 article by Tom Walsh, “More and more oceanfront property owners opposing Down East seaweed harvest,” is a very real concern to business people who rely on the right of public access to seaweed in Maine.

It is confusing when the DMR issues seaweed licenses including language that implies an uncertain future for seaweed harvesting. There is very clear and longstanding language in the law assuring the public’s right to harvest live seaweed. In fact, live seaweed has the identical legal status as clams, worms and mussels.

With respect to the environment, it’s important that we view this issue in context. Yes, the amount of seaweed harvested has roughly doubled in the past 10 years, but we’re still harvesting less than 1 percent of the sustainable potential in Maine. And more importantly, this is only a tiny fraction of what mother nature turns loose every year with her waves, ice, snails and urchins.

I, like many other people, have made my living based on sustainably harvested rockweed for more than 35 years. I want to continue to protect this resource not only because it is my livelihood but because it is part of the ecosystem that makes coastal Maine such a special place to raise my family.

George Seaver


Worth fighting for

Webster’s Dictionary defines brave as willing to face danger, pain or trouble; having courage.

In a recent commercial, I mentioned that my lesbian granddaughter showed a great deal of bravery by not hiding her sexual orientation. I mentioned my World War II Marine Corps service. “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”

I sometimes think of those few years as helping in a small way to do a job that had to be done. Never have I thought of myself as being brave or heroic. Bravery shows itself in many ways. Few will deny the bravery of Rosa Parks when in December 1955 she refused to sit in the back of a bus.

Before the 19th Amendment passed, brave women suffered many years of ridicule and fines to get the right to vote. They only asked to be treated equally. Lesbians and gays will be asking the people of Maine for the same thing in November.

I read the letter to the editor of Joseph Kelly of Hampden in the Aug. 28 issue of the BDN. Although his views on marriage are different from mine, I respect his freedom to express them openly. This country was and is one where we can all do that and is well worth fighting for.

Harlan Gardner


Stricter standards for clean air

You have probably heard the old saying, “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.” Well, in Maine we expect clean drinking water, workplaces free from asbestos and safe school environments for our children to attend. For many people, pollen in the spring and golden rod and ragweed in the late summer aggravate allergies that cause nasal and eye problems. Over-the-counter medicines can alleviate some of these problems. But the air we breathe in Maine carries several pollutants that we can do little to protect ourselves from.

That’s why the Environmental Protection Agency ought to pass stricter standards for soot pollution from power plants.

The EPA is our watchdog for clean air, among other things. The Clean Air Act directs the EPA to review particulate matter standards every five years to consider the latest scientific evidence and ensure that public health is being adequately protected.

Respiratory problems such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can be exacerbated by soot in the atmosphere carried in the humid air from the coal and oil-fired plants in the Midwest.

Current emission standards for soot are inadequate and should be strengthened to an annual standard of 11 micrograms coupled with a daily standard of 25 micrograms. This would save lives, reduce respiratory problems and clean up our air.

We need our elected officials in Maine and in Congress to urge the EPA to pursue stronger standards for soot pollution. This not only affects us but the generations that follow us.

Alan Gray

Old Town

Best of luck

As Penobscot Theatre Company embarks on its 40th season of producing professional theater productions for the people of the greater Bangor region, I write to wish Bari Newport and Marcie Bramucci the best of fortune as they undertake the company’s leadership. Guiding a mission-driven arts organization is not an easy assignment.

I urge the community to rally behind these two women and provide them with the support they will need to shape the future of the organization.

Mark Torres

Former producing artistic director, Penobscot Theatre


Taxing campaign

I do not understand why and how a multi-millionaire such as Mitt Romney who keeps his money in multiple countries is not considered a traitor. To not pay full taxes to his country, to me, is stabbing one’s own country in its back. To run for president on top of that, to me, seems brazen.

Debbie Brooks


Supporting families in Maine?

All the unemployed and underemployed workers here are struggling. Low-pay jobs are OK if you don’t have to support family and health care costs or if you qualify for MaineCare, while it still exists. Many church-goers provide support for the unemployed and impaired. The Mormons are very good at taking care of their members. Many Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious communities care for those in need.

Unfortunately, communities cannot afford to give enough help. Imagine paying for your neighbors’ private healthcare insurance. Imagine paying for their gasoline to go to work or shopping. Imagine paying for their clothes, food, rent and utilities.

Now come deals proposed by multinational corporations, such as Irving Oil and Irving Forest, that will come to our aid for free. Jobs! Minimum wage jobs? Temporary non-sustaining career jobs? Budding entrepreneur opportunity jobs? Clearly, manufacturing jobs are lost to low-wage worker countries. Our skill infrastructure is losing to developing countries like China, India and Brazil as we train their students here to compete. Our kids drop out of school or are enslaved with lifetime payments for college loans.

Could rural businesses prosper with speedier Internet connections like other struggling states? Who would fund business-friendly infrastructures? A low-taxed, unregulated, for-profit,

multi-national corporation? Really?

Jane Fairchild

Orneville Township

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