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Friday, April 26, 2013: LePage’s energy policy, gun control


Common sense control

Many Mainers take their guns seriously. They hunt, do sport shooting and, yes, have guns for protection. In our mostly rural state with limited police coverage, this works pretty well.

Some of our gun enthusiasts truly believe that they have armed themselves to protect themselves from the possible tyranny of our governments. This is not a very realistic view of the world as it exists here Maine and even the the United States.

To oppose “the government” with firearms means that these folks are prepared to shoot the local police force and sheriff and then take on the state police and even the U.S. Army if it were to get that serious.

We all know how local “standoff” situations end, and local police and the sheriff always win; we have seen how seriously armed and motivated terrorists in Boston have fared in opposing the “tyrannical” government.

Let’s keep our hunting and sporting guns and continue to enjoy them. But let’s let the idea that some of us are super patriots and are armed with AR-15s and large quantities of ammo to protect us from our own government wither in the face of reality.

And let’s allow for basic background checks and reasonable safeguards to keep these weapons out of the hands of potential terrorists and evil-doers.

Larry Finnegan


Out on a limb

The recent tree-cutting incident at Acadia National Park is especially frustrating for park managers and many local climbers in light of the past 16 years of collaborative effort to manage rock climbing in the park.

In 1997, Acadia completed a Climbing Management Plan with substantial public input. At that time, a Climbing Advisory Group consisting of recreational climbers, climbing guides, park staff and Friends of Acadia staff was formed to provide a forum for climbing management issues as well as a mechanism for installing climbing bolts in accordance with the plan.

Since then, the park has received six requests to install bolts and brought them to the advisory group for discussion. Nearly all the bolts in these requests were endorsed by the advisory group and subsequently approved by the park superintendent, demonstrating that the process works.

Unfortunately, the past few years have seen several egregious incidents of climbing bolts installed illegally without going through the established process. The advisory group was put in the difficult position of dealing with these incidents after the fact and it did so effectively.

The tree cutting is thus the latest in a series of actions by one or a few climbers damaging the reputation of the larger climbing community. It is the business of the Climbing Advisory Group to address just these kinds of issues, and approval would likely have been granted to prune trees, had a request been submitted.

Park staff and local climbers on the advisory group have worked hard to establish and maintain a good working relationship and have shown that climbers do have a voice and a place to go with their requests and concerns. We ask climbers to use it.

Charlie Jacobi, Natural Resource Specialist

Acadia National Park

High standards?

It boggles the mind that the BDN would lower its own partisan standards to publish Jeff Young’s OpEd “Unemployment hearing officer hold scales of justice, not governor.”

Not only is it anti-Gov. Paul LePage as a diatribe, but it is full of the most offensive assertions confirmed, according to the opinion piece, by such statements as, “That is what some said LePage appeared to do”; “We don’t know if the allegations are true. But, there is something wrong if our governor…”; “Something is very wrong if our governor actually told”; and “If he used his position.”

To attempt to malign a person based on “what some said” he “appeared to do” and a series of “ifs” does not in my mind represent the highest standards of journalism.

Michael Morrison


Energy winners, losers

The BDN’s recent editorial “Keep energy focus on lasting payoffs” hit the mark on Gov .Paul LePage’s shortsighted energy bill. Nobody disagrees that lowering heating costs for Mainers is a good thing — but he purposefully ignores the cheapest energy of all.

Efficiency — the energy we don’t use — is not only our most affordable energy alternative, it’s the safest one, too. We have no idea what the price of natural gas will be a decade from now, but we know that a well-weatherized house, the efficient business, will be a hedge against any possible energy future.

Politicians are notorious for betting the farm on the energy bubble of the day; once it was oil, when it replaced coal, and now it is natural gas. The governor wants to raid Efficiency Maine to fund his bet that cheap natural gas — or other currently fashionable alternatives — will always be so.

That’s like telling someone with a bucket that leaks expensive beer to buy cheaper beer, rather than just fix the leaks.

In my business I work with public energy efficiency programs all over the country, and I don’t know of a single one that has ever risked public dollars to encourage consumers to take a long-term gamble that one fuel is going to be cheaper than another. Not one. Sure, energy companies use cash incentives to lure new customers, but that’s their money, not public money.

Why does this governor think he can pick winners in the energy game? Let the market decide. That’s what Republicans are supposed to favor.

Douglas Baton, North Atlantic Energy Advisors president


Thank Sen. Collins

Thank yous need to go to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, for showing courage in face of the National Rifle Association, which is composed of extremely paranoid gun owners.

Dorothy Willis


The great debate

In response to a recent front page article about legalizing marijuana, I noticed nothing was mentioned about marijuana being linked to schizophrenia or testicular cancer or that it causes hallucinations.

Everyone should read Robert Dana’s OpEd in the BDN on April 1 about legalizing marijuana. He is a substance abuse researcher and dean of students at the University of Maine, and he is right on.

In Bulgaria, doctors prescribe vodka to their patients to lower cholesterol. Does that mean we should build some medical vodka clinics?

Galen E. Vainio


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