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May 16, 2011: Health care, trees, wind development

LD 1333 ignores law

LD 1333, the Republican plan to reform health care in Maine, creates high-risk insurance pools comprised solely of chronically ill and disabled individuals. This pool is in direct conflict with the intent of the federal Affordable Care Act which requires insurance pools to include both healthy and ill individuals.

Why are legislators in Augusta acting as though the federal health plan was overturned? The last time I checked, federal law trumps state law if there is a conflict. Until the U.S. Supreme Court decides that legislating health insurance is power granted to the states, the federal law remains in effect. To pretend otherwise is a sign of ignorance, audacity or both on the part of our Legislature.

Do we really want or need such people in office?

Marie Sims

Presque Isle

Insensitive plan

Regarding the disturbing May 11 BDN story of Orrington’s assault on its own arboreal history: I spend a lot of time on that stretch of Mill Creek road whose beautiful century-old pines are a part of its charm.

But when local government officials behave in ways which bring words like insensitive, imperious, fraudulent, incompetent and evasive to mind, it’s important to speak out. Where it threatens to happen in one place, it constitutes a subtle encouragement to repetition elsewhere. It’s not just Orrington’s concern, but everyone’s.

I know that stretch of road; I walk it often. If the residents of the road are to have their environment transformed by a “five-year plan,” why weren’t they encouraged to be part of the planning process instead of being ‘informed’ by the orange symbols of destruction suddenly despoiling the local environment even before the trees themselves were destroyed?

The trees sentenced to die are on the opposite side of the road from the ditch. They are slated to come down because of an internal town office decision process, not a Bangor Hydro decision as several residents were told, or a “complaint from the snowplow driver that the road would dry out better if the tree canopy was gone.”

One would think after the hullabaloo in Camden a few years ago town officials throughout Maine would be sensitive to concerns when major upheavals like this are proposed which directly tamper with their quality of life. Shame on Orrington officials, but there’s still time to make this right.

Hendrik Gideonse


Consider the cost

Mount Waldo — is wind worth it?

While many important questions surround wind development, I think one is not being asked, especially in the case of Mount Waldo. Is it worth it?

I mean worth the resources; yes, it will cost a lot of money. But more important, is it worth forever altering the mountain?

Eolian likes to refer to Mount Waldo as “impacted,” and yes, there are three radio and cell towers there. But no one who has been on Mount Waldo would label it impacted. Except for a small one-lane access road, foot trails are the only pathways crisscrossing through the forest on the mountain.

Putting turbines on the mountain would greatly impact it. Just think about getting those things up there. Large roads would have to be built. This means clear-cutting and blasting, run-off and erosion.

So now Eolian is saying it would install four turbines (or maybe four; like most of their information it changes often). Knowing that these will generate power between 18 percent and 30 percent of the time (FERC statistic, you can look it up), is it worth it? Really?

Cynthia Sousa


A tea party agenda

The tea party, in its genius for distorting the truth and driven by the fear of the despised “socialism,” would have us believe that less government and lower taxes, especially for the rich, is the key to return to full employment and prosperity. This wacky ideology would have the “Great Society” dismantled, and let Americans fend for themselves in a selfish free-for-all.

Might I suggest the following policies will help them more rapidly achieve their no-government Nirvana:

Eliminate public schools entirely and require that parents home-school their children or send them to  costly private schools. Major tax savings!

Disband all fire departments. Instead require all property owners to install sprinkler systems, fire alarms and fire extinguishers.

Disband all police departments and instead require all homeowners to own guns for their self-protection in the true “patriot” spirit. Establish vigilante patrols of volunteer NRA members armed with AK-47s to enforce law and order.

Eliminate all forms of “socialistic” welfare programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment insurance, educational assistance and so forth. Let the free market and competition keep health care costs “affordable.” Not only would much union activism and government “interference” in our lives be eliminated, but more money would be available to support foreign wars and the bloated armaments budget.

These policies should keep people like Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and their ilk happy. However, should they be put into effect, we might have to rename our country “The United States of Somalia.”

Gene Clifford

Southwest Harbor

Rent-seeking wind firms

In recent years politicians have spent billions on subsidies and grants to encourage the development of wind power. The result is that rent-seeking entrepreneurs have jumped on the wind power bandwagon to cash in the subsidies. One such firm is Eolian Renewable Energy.

Eolian’s business strategy: Find a small rural community with some terrain suitable for industrial wind turbines. Form a subsidiary to develop wind turbines. Convince the community to allow the turbines with exaggerated promises of tax revenues and work for local contractors.  Build the turbines with free money (grants) from the federal and state governments. Monetize the subsidies by selling off the future power generation to Wall Street. Walk away from the project laughing all the way to the bank.

I love to see folks honestly make lots and lots of money. I do not share that admiration for rent-seekers who use false hopes to line their pockets with our taxes. These schemes always collapse and always leave a trail of economic wreckage behind them. Enron, Lehman Brothers and AIG were all examples of rent-seekers using government subsidies or guarantees to make a short-term profit.

Eolian is now seeking to push its wind power rent-seeking scheme in Frankfort, a town whose existing zoning does not address grid-scale wind generators. Residents will soon have a chance to place a moratorium on wind turbines so that they can update the zoning ordinance. Frankfort residents would be wise to adopt this measure and slow down Eolian’s rent-seeking scheme.

R. Kenneth Lindell


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