Monday, March 9, 2014: Mining protections, Cross Center traffic, military spending

Posted March 09, 2014, at 10:55 a.m.

Environmental protections

As a child, I looked up at planes flying low overhead. DDT insecticide mist fell on my face. Pesticide industries denied for decades that DDT was harmful to environment and wildlife. Fossil-fuel industries still deny that carbon emissions contribute to global warming. The mining industry, landowners and Maine lawmakers who support rules that reduce protections for open-pit mines are denying environmental hazards and costs of cleanup.

Ramsey Hart of MiningWatch Canada said, “There’s almost no way Bald Mountain can be mined without polluting nearby water, potentially for thousands of years.”

Conflicts of interest abound in virtually all claims about the environmental safety of modern mining. An Irving employee was the presenter at one event I attended. At another event, three presenters all had close ties to the mining industry.

The North Jackson Company, writers of new rules for Maine, said: “We pride ourselves in our long relationships with two major metallic mining companies.”

Important questions were asked at a January event about modern liners that still develop leaks, about natural disasters that still cause modern tailings ponds to fail, about examples of modern mines using modern technology that has not polluted surrounding waters. None of these questions got reassuring answers.

Hydrogeologist Carol White explained, “Inherent in any of these studies is uncertainty. Nobody can guarantee water quality in the future.”

It’s true, there is plenty of uncertainty in life, but we can choose to reduce uncertainty by writing environmental protections that are more rather than less rigorous.

Alice Bolstridge

Presque Isle

A beautiful building

Last night, my wife and I attended a spectacular performance of Beauty and the Beast at the Cross Insurance Center. We were thrilled to be able to attend the event in a close proximity to our home. However, the environment of the center for a traveling Broadway show left something to be desired.

The show itself started about 15 minutes late — the flow of vehicle traffic and parking seemed to be the reason. At show time, there were still hundreds of folks shuffling to their seats. During the first transition, more tardy patrons were allowed to descend the stairs to find their seats. This was very inconvenient because it made seeing the stage impossible as we were sitting on the aisle.

I completely understand the center offering concessions, but it was different than my experiences at the Merrill Auditorium in Portland or in New York City. The issue wasn’t the food or drink; it was again the constant movement and traffic of others seated around you that made it hard to enjoy the performance. Broadway shows have an intermission for a reason.

Overall, and it bears repeating, the show was fantastic. My issues are with the center itself. The building is beautiful and will be a great home for many years to come for basketball, concerts, circus, etc. However, I feel that not every show/performance/event will be a good fit for the center. I hope as the building matures, concerns for a spectator’s enjoyment level will be considered.

CJ McKenna

Waterville

Religious freedom

So, in spite of having his way with the defeat of LD 1428, An Act to Protect Religious Freedom, former state Rep. Stacey Fitts, a Republican, is disappointed that some of his party were in favor of the proposed law, according to his March 3 BDN OpEd. It’s interesting to see him apparently invoking reasonability and temperance in law making. Would that Fitts might have used his office of public trust to do as much when he supported the redefinition of marriage.

He says “we already have strong protections” for our religious freedoms, and I agree. But, when you enact over-the-top laws for one special interest, it’s hardly surprising for others to seek a legal recourse for infringement upon them. Fitts and others enjoyed rockstar popularity for a single-minded mission where “equality” under the law has been stretched into the realms of urges, behaviors and lifestyles.

Of course, it is intellectually and legalistically simplistic and lazy to generalize all perceived (or real) inequities to the level of “Brown vs. the Board of Education.” So Fitts should get used to people seeking laws for their own seldom violated religious rights. People of faith and conservative legislators were more than reasonable prior to the onslaught of the slogan driven pablum (i.e. “discrimination based on whom you love”) he continues to peddle, as he does, indeed, “chide” those around him, who were being vilified for trying to exercise the prudence for which he now appeals.

Don Mendell

Palmyra

War madness

The reason we’re $17 trillion in debt is not Medicare, Social Security or welfare, the usual PR. Obama’s 2013 request for military spending took up 57 percent of the discretionary budget. Noted historian Chalmers Johnson in “Sorrows of Empire” describes the depth of American militarism, characterized as fiscal madness.

Billions upon billions were made on Vietnam, Iraq and the Afghan wars. Tractor-trailer loads of cash disappeared in Iraq. But even the slightest hint of cutting military spending has politicians shouting “lack of readiness.” Really?

Communism and now terrorism are the bogeymen used to convince us enormous military spending is critical. Now comes a $400 billion plan to replace fighter planes with the F-35. Bath Iron Works’ latest floating death ray destroyers cost us several billion dollars each.

The USA is broke, the poor to be chiseled down to bread and water. Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us in the 1950s : “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

He said, “In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence … by the military industrial complex.”

Dennis Lopez

Rockport

 

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