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Tuesday, April 5, 2016: Divest from oil, Maine needs more solar power, enhanced interrogation works

The blessings of natural resources

The March 18 BDN editorial, “Maine needs to overcome the curse of natural resources,” exemplifies the type of negative thinking that will keep the economy of central Maine in a downward death spiral. It is far better to have abundant resources than to have none.

We have great ocean access where we can grow aquaculture and build international trade. We have tremendous rivers that provided hydropower that fueled our first generation of inland industries and may power our next wave of industry. We still have tremendous stands of timber that can provide many other wood-based products. We have a wonderful land and sea grant university located in Orono where scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs will lead the next phase of research and development to reinvent Maine’s economy. We have people who know what it means to work hard and to apply “Yankee ingenuity” to address times of difficulty like those we now face.

I agree that the blame game gets us nowhere, and that is why I am running for state Senate District 5. The focus of my campaign will be on economic development in Maine generally and in the Penobscot River Valley in particular. I will be meeting with leaders in economic development in this region to learn what innovations may be on the immediate horizon; to expedite the timetable to bring much needed projects to fruition; and to encourage governmental policies that will facilitate the financial investment necessary for the next wave of manufacturing that is essential for long-term prosperity in Maine.

Brett D. Baber


Time to divest from oil

There was an excellent in-depth report about the Rockefeller Family Fund’s decision to “divest from fossil fuels as quickly as possible” in the March 24 BDN. The report indicated that a major reason for that decision was ExxonMobil’s “morally reprehensible” long-term deception regarding climate change.

That deception, not incidentally, prompted 17 (at last count) state attorneys general to join, in March, an investigation into potential fraud by ExxonMobil. Maine is one of the 17. Thanks Maine Attorney General Janet Mills.

In the years since Bill McKibben kicked off (in Portland)‘s divestment campaign, numerous organizations have divested from fossil fuels after becoming convinced that such action was not environmentally responsible but possibly of benefit financially.

Many University of Maine System students and alumni have been urging the system to divest. To their credit, the system’s trustees months ago voted unanimously to divest from coal, but so far their response to requests to divest from all fossil fuels has been, “Tell us why we should.”

I submit that it is high time that we flip the process and ask the trustees, “Tell us why you shouldn’t.”

Fern Crossland Stearns


Support for Getchell Agency

I have spent more than 25 years working in behavioral health and with the developmentally disabled. The state institutions I worked for seemed to breed abuse, both verbal and physical.

Since moving to Maine I have had the pleasure of meeting a few employees of the Getchell Agency, which has filed for bankruptcy protection. What I have learned has given me hope for what goes on in caring for those who are not able to care for themselves. Getchell provides an environment that, rather than having a caregiver and patient relationship, is more like a family. This fosters an environment of feeling at home and safe for the individuals being cared for opposed to being lumped into a group who are tended to.

An attorney fishing through ex-employees and telling them they can get an easy check by signing a form to give permission to sue for imagined grievances is a sorry way to attack a very good and hopeful way to care for these members of our society.

Richard Umble


The governor and Galileo

Our governor believes that political discussion should take place using his own vocabulary, not observations nor discussions. This is similar to Cardinal Robert Bellarmine refusing to look into Galileo’s telescope. The cardinal justified his beliefs by relying on scripture, not on telescopic observations about the mountains on the moon, Jupiter’s moons, the phases of Venus. He argued that telescopic observations were unreliable and that scripture had the answers.

The governor relies on his own “scripture” to draw conclusions about how society ought to function. His theory is not subject to empirical observation, but relies only on himself.

Donald Stanley


Maine needs more solar power

I am 26 years old and I say it is time Maine gets its act together with regard to energy and the environment. Solar power is the future, there’s really no two ways about it.

This isn’t news to anyone, we all know that coal, gas and other fossil fuels are mucking up the planet and running out. For the sake of the young and old, and future generations, I encourage Mainers to support LD 1649, a bill that will vastly increase solar power in Maine.

The bill gives incentive to people to install solar panels on their residential and commercial buildings, which then means more clean solar energy is distributed from the utility companies for the rest of us. This bill aims to take Maine from 20 megawatts of solar production to 250 megawatts over the next five years.

LD 1649 is in danger of being rejected by the Legislature. It is critical for us to support this bill by talking about it with others and calling or writing your state representative and senator to urge their support. Supporters for the bill include Central Maine Power, solar installers, environmental organizations, the public advocate and tons of Maine residents.

Daniel White


How to fight terrorism

To prevent terrorist acts in the United States like those that happened in Paris and Brussels, we must profile, use surveillance and disregard political correctness. As a 16-year veteran Central Intelligence Agency counterterrorism operations officer, I would have said waterboarding as well but political correctness is too prevalent in this country to employ this useful method of enhanced interrogation. Some call it torture but it never kills or permanently injures anyone. In fact, it is used to train our own warriors in Survival, Evade, Resistance and Escape courses.

For real torture, go to the Inquisition, the Nazi SS, or Islamic State. Listen to those of us who have been there before it is too late.

Robert E. Blanchard

Lt. Col. U.S. Army Special Forces (ret.)

South Portland


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