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Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012: BP mess, carbon folly, MaineCare

Settlement won’t cover BP disaster

Just last week, more than two years since the spill, BP announced that it had reached an agreement with the U.S. government and will pay $4.5 billion in civil and criminal fines for the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. As someone who is deeply concerned for the environment, I see this as the first step of many to attempt to fix the mess that BP created.

While this is a historic settlement, with the potential for billions in additional fines and civil lawsuits to follow, it will never come close to covering the cost of this catastrophic disaster. The 11 lives lost, as well as the economic and environmental damage caused by this unforgettable disaster, will never fully be compensated.

Offshore drilling remains dirty and dangerous. In the wake of the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history, our country should not be increasing offshore drilling but, rather, stopping the expansion.

Expanding drilling will not significantly lower gas prices or decrease our dependency on foreign oil. Instead of expanding drilling, we should be investing in clean, renewable sources of energy, like offshore wind power, that will create jobs, strengthen our coastal communities and protect the health of our oceans.

Kathryn Lee


Comments on pastor challenged

In the BDN on Nov. 20, Adam Flanders expressed his concern for protection under the U.S. Constitution. That is commendable, but he must realize that the Constitution was written for the protection of the rights of the majority as well as for minorities. It is for all.

I am not a member of the Stockton Springs Community Church, but I often attend services there. Flanders’ depiction of the pastor and the church, that they “may have been the most politically active church in the state of Maine,” would be almost laughable if it were not so serious! The pastor has only been at the church for a few weeks and has never, in my hearing, said any of the things Flanders has accused him of in this letter and on the Internet.

I would be interested in knowing where Flanders gets his information. How did he know about the purported emails? Who is he referring to as “those who believe in equality?” Why is he attacking this pastor and church now? Is it for justice or vengeance? And since he is so intent on seeing justice done in church/state issues, will we be seeing a follow-up letter from him concerning churches and pastors who urged support for yes on Question 1? Will he also report them to the IRS?

Robert Merriam

Stockton Springs

US carbon emissions irrelevant

The U.S. contribution of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere is about 6 billion metric tons per year. Our economy is mature; our heavy industry has moved to China and India, while we have shifted largely to natural gas. The result is a future U.S. energy economy without significant annual increases in carbon dioxide emissions. On the other hand, China is building a large coal-burning electric plant every week.

By the year 2020, India and China will contribute 20 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year. If carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a growing problem, the United States, along with the rest of the developed world, is about to become irrelevant. Who will tell

the Chinese that their poverty, hunger, poor health and limited opportunity are smaller problems than a rise in worldwide temperature? We believe that cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption are social problems, so what do we do? Tax the heck out of them!

Any political leader pushing a tax on carbon would be hooted out of the arena. But we continue to squander public resources on the subsidization of absurd alternatives.

Richard C. Hill

Old Town

Don’t ‘tank’ Maine way of life

I was born in Damariscotta, lived in Kennebunk and West Bowdoin, moved away and returned to Belfast in 2003. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The attraction of our Penobscot region continues to bring in lovers of Maine who long to retire here and spend their money here; they support our towns, marketplaces, university. Their ranks are swelled by the now-twice-weekly visits from a small cruise line through the summer and fall seasons.

Why should we consider bringing in a liquid petroleum gas tank of 22.7 million gallons, 14 stories tall, 500 feet from Route 1, stored at minus 44 degrees, with a 75-foot tower, which will flare off gas 365 days a year and a mile-long pipeline? “Security” lights will flood the Searsport area, where a potential explosion could incinerate everything within a one-mile radius.

Fellow citizens, friends, neighbors, I beg you not to be taken in by illusory promises of jobs and not to be taken in by false advertising paid for by rich, out-of-state corporations who know nothing but the bottom line of profit. We can build our beloved state of Maine the way we always have: by community efforts and native Maine ingenuity and resourcefulness and (may I say it?) the love that binds us to each other and to this place.

Helen Hughes



We need Medicaid/MaineCare

We all know someone whose family has an elderly relative or neighbor who needs home care or nursing home care. But I wonder how many of us know that Medicaid pays for almost 70 percent of all long-term care. Without Medicaid (MaineCare), many of our friends and neighbors would have to provide 24-hour care to their loved ones and still hold down one or more jobs to support their family.

In spite of all this, Congress is talking about cutting Medicaid drastically and permanently to reduce the country’s deficit.

Without Medicaid, a family must pay for long-term care with expensive and unreliable long-term care insurance or pay cash. In Maine, the average cost of a nursing home is about $96,000 per year. How many families can afford that? Even if they can, their savings are gone in a year or two. Then they qualify for Medicaid/MaineCare. Without it, we are in serious trouble. We need Medicaid, and I hope you will call Sen. Susan Collins at 622-8414 and Sen. Olympia Snowe at 800-432-1599 to tell them to vote no on cuts to Medicaid.

Sherry Langway


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