Collins speaks sense

I had the opportunity the other day to hear Sen. Susan Collins speak about the cost of energy. The senator said, “We have to produce more, use less, and develop alternative forms of energy.”

I remember the energy crisis of the mid-70s. The senator makes sense. Imagine how much better our situation would be today if we had taken that crisis seriously and invested in safe, clean forms of alternative energy. We can’ t make that mistake again. Thanks to Sen. Collins, maybe America will listen now.
Lee P. Speronis

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Define our oil reserves

The U.S. Department of Interior is quoted in the Bangor Daily News as saying that we could have 18 billion barrels of oil and 77 trillion cubic feet of natural gas under the 574 million acres of federal coastal waters that are now off limits. Let’ s get some facts.

Oil and gas reserves are either proven, probable or prospective. Much of our reserves are prospective. Russia and OPEC — oil producing and exporting countries — know that and we, too, know that.

Until we move our reserves up from prospective to probable, or better yet to proven status, we will still be depending on Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela.

Solution: Drill only enough “wildcat” exploratory wells to get the facts. Then, and only then, can we deal from a position of strength. Meanwhile, our government should support and encourage the development of alternative energies.
Frank L. LeRoy

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Cashman and cronyism

Gov. Baldacci now is seeking to place one of his longtime pals into one of the most critical board positions in government (“Cashman eyed for spot on state PUC,” BDN, July 16). Can you believe it?

The Public Utilities Commission, which deals with all facets of public issues in electricity, water and other forms of energy, may have a member who I don’ t believe is even closely qualified to be on this PUC board. Just take a look at the qualifications of the present chairman, and you judge whether you would want Jack on such a board.

Jack is a likeable guy and can be seen often making the morning jog around Brewer. Let’ s see Gov. Baldacci show us the goods on this pal of his.

Cronyism at best stand by and see just how the elected officials in Augusta conduct themselves on the upcoming confirmation hearings of this candidate. It will be interesting, to say the least.
Larry T. Doughty

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Appropriate protest

Carle G. Gray in his letter “Sham protest,” (BDN, July 16) claims that American soldiers slain in Iraq were “dishonored’ by marchers in the Bar Harbor July 4 parade who carried banners listing their names. On the contrary, these marchers were not only mourning and honoring these soldiers, but were making a statement closely tied to the reasons for the celebration of American Independence and the ideals, embodied in the Constitution on which this country was founded.

Our soldiers’ deaths are a direct result of the miscalculations, deceptions and blunders of the Bush administration. These neoconservatives started an unnecessary war of choice, ignoring the real source of terrorism based in Afghanistan. Along the way they have made torture the law of the land, trampled on freedom of speech, wasted billions of dollars, caused untold numbers of civilian deaths in Iraq and outraged much of the world while ignoring the many pressing needs at home and making a mockery of the Constitution.

These marchers deserve our admiration, respect and thanks for reminding us that the best way to support our troops is to stop the slaughter by bringing them home. The marchers’ presence in the Independence Day parade was most appropriate.
Gene Clifford
Southwest Harbor

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Truth about converters

The good news is, I bought the infamous TV converter box. Using the infamous $40 coupon, the box cost $12. The bad news is the converter box doesn’ t work with my ancient VHF antenna. The proper antenna required by digital TV is a combination VHF/UHF. It will cost $169 plus a preamplifier at $72 for a total of $241 plus installation costs, whatever they may be. When is the government going to send a coupon for this?

I suspect that most of us opting to go the TV converter box route are old folks with old antennas. We live on fixed incomes and cannot afford a new TV and monthly dish or satellite fees. Neither can we afford food, heating oil, and gas, but that is another story.

The many TV commercials touting the TV converter box neglect to mention the need for a VHF/UHF antenna. Naughty, naughty. So much for truth in advertising.

Ann Ivins

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No need to kill bear

Something rarely seen and wild wanders into town and due to public safety it needs to be killed? Give me a break!

If the Maine Warden Service doesn’ t have at least one tranquilizer gun in their arsenal, perhaps we should buy them one for Christmas. When I was a kid growing up watching “Mutual of Omaha’ s Wild Kingdom” or “Nature” on MPBN every week some kind of animal, usually a lot bigger than a 150 pound bear, would be dropped by a single dart.

What a depressing story to wake up and read first thing this morning and what a lesson to teach all those kids who gathered to watch it — the only solution in this situation is to get a gun and blow it to bits. I think not!

Julie Lisnet

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Tranquilizers safe

I’ m concerned about the black bear shooting in my neighborhood Saturday, July 19. It raises questions about the warden’ s decision-making and his support.

It’ s not that I care more about the animal than about my own children’ s safety. We play in Fairmount Park every day where the greatest risk is crossing the busy street. In Bangor, children face risks every day from predators such as human criminals or pit-bulls.

My children were at risk Saturday morning, but it wasn’ t from a charging animal. It was from a shotgun blast. What were the options: Hope the bear wanders out of town? Kill it automatically? How about tranquilizing it? The myth about enraging a bear with a dart is a false argument. Wounding it with a gunshot is more dangerous. If he had a clean shot, the tranquilizer was a safe option, much less risky to the surrounding crowds.

With the recent bear sighting in City Forest, game wardens had ample time to prepare for bear-human contacts. Let’ s have a full review of those policies so the next time a healthy 150 pound bear wanders, wardens have a better plan, better backup and better communication with Bangor police before they go running through the bushes shooting.

John Picone