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Friday, Jan. 18, 2013: Rights of way, winning with wind

Value freedom, not fear

One would-be killer with a bomb in his shoe succeeded in getting us to give up some of our freedom. The “underwear bomber” upped the ante.

Now at every airport, years later, we are all treated as suspects and must submit to humiliating searches.

Is fear and suspicion what we want to experience also in every school, every place of worship, every mall, every political rally, every movie theater, because someone did something awful in such a place?

Shall we become a nation of fearful cowards, looking over our shoulders, suspecting everyone we don’t know and perhaps some we do know? Are we fearful victims or a people who are brave and free?

Of course we need to take reasonable care for safety, but there is a middle ground between being paranoid and being naive.

Turning a school into a fortress might reduce the chance of a shooting by a minuscule amount, but it will make a serious negative change in the climate there.

I’m in far more danger every day from distracted drivers than I am from intentional killers, yet I still drive.

Some risk is involved if we are to remain free, to live in an open, trusting society without armed guards everywhere.

I don’t want to give in to the NRA any more than I want to give in to a shoe bomber or a school shooter. Let’s remember what we value more than what we fear.

Peter Rees


Camp owner’s restraint, compassion

My husband and I own a camp and property on a lake in the Unorganized Territory. We received a deeded right of way to our camp.

The only restrictions in our deed pertain to the road closing due to mud season, which makes perfect sense.

We, as camp owners, pay into our camp owners association every year to help maintain part of the deeded right of way.

In winters of little snow, we, as well as other camp owners, continue to drive to our camps. This seems to upset a few who snowmobile.

Threats have been made to turn those of us who drive on our legal right of way in to the authorities.

A quick call to the warden service and the Maine Department of Conservation provided us with answers. We were within our legal rights because of our deeded access.

The story “ Snowmobile trail argument leads to shooting in Lowell” that ran on Jan. 7 in the BDN didn’t provide much in the way of details on the shooting of one of two men who confronted a camp owner on his own land about plowing a road.

My question: What would possess two people to confront a man on his own property about something as stupid as plowing snow?

Why, when told to leave, do you stay where you’re not welcome? Do the people who confronted the camp owner realize how lucky they were that they weren’t killed?

I’m glad the camp owner showed great restraint and compassion. The outcome could have been truly tragic for all.

Donna Bridges

Deer Isle

Wind-wind, win-win incentives

Carol Russell’s letter to the editor on Jan. 10 about the wind-energy production tax credits displays a misunderstanding of how it works.

The production tax credits are a tax relief that saves money.

Unless one assumes that all money earned in the private sector belongs to the government, a tax credit is different from government handouts or loan guarantees. A tax credit simply leaves more money in private hands for investment.

Russell pairs initial investments with the good, well-paid jobs the wind power industry is supporting but omits the billions of dollars wind power is adding to state economies and millions of dollars in savings being passed on to consumers.

Also, the credit applies for the first 10 years a wind farm generates electricity, so the cost of a “one-year” extension is actually spread over 10 years.

For the past five years, the credit has helped the wind energy industry attract an average of $15 billion per year in private investment, which flows to the local and state economies where wind farms are built.

According to a May 2012 Synapse Energy Economics Inc. report, adding more wind power to the Midwest would save ratepayers $63 to $147 per year with net savings ranging from $3 billion to $6.9 billion.

In addition to the savings passed on to consumers and billions added to our economy, wind power costs have dropped more than 90 percent since 1980, making clean, homegrown energy even more affordable.

Extending this business incentive is a win-win for Maine.

Jeremy Payne

Executive Director, Maine Renewable Energy Association

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