As reported in the BDN on Nov.10, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has just turned down an application by a billion-dollar Texas energy investor to install industrial-scale wind
turbines on Passadumkeag Mountain, in rural Penobscot County.
This decision will protect the surrounding lakes and hills from visual pollution and the mountain itself from blasting, new road construction, long-term ecosystem damage and increased fire danger.
Courageously, the DEP decided to protect Maine’s invaluable quality of place, notwithstanding what must have been strong pressure from local and out-of-state business interests.
Some may think that NIMBY was the winner in this contest, the “not in my backyard” mentality. However, I think this represents an opportunity to move toward an energy policy that’s “right-sized” for Maine. For example, what if, instead of depending on mega-million-dollar energy initiatives, we invested in smaller, diversified projects that would train more energy auditors and employ more workers to insulate and retrofit Maine’s large stock of older homes? The result would be reduced use of fossil fuels, fewer people shivering in cold houses in the winter, less need for LIHEAP and years of jobs in virtually every community — far more than short-lived wind construction offers.
So let’s thank Maine’s DEP for the chance to catch our breath, rethink our energy priorities and move our state in a direction that can meet a multitude of energy-related objectives without sacrificing the incomparable quality of place on which we all depend.
I recently learned that the Stockton Springs Community Church and Pastor Steve DeGroft publicly encouraged a no on Question 1. DeGroft gave permission to the Maine Christian Civic League to speak on the church’s behalf. Carroll Conley, executive director of the CCL, stated that “Pastor Steve spoke from the pulpit against Question 1, posted signs urging voters to oppose the measure and sent emails to members of the congregation opposing same-sex marriage.”
The Stockton Springs church may have been the most politically active church in the state of Maine this campaign season. This was a serious breach of our constitutional separation of church and state.
While I do not condone the acts of those who defaced the church with swastikas, DeGroft’s implication that those of us who believe in equality are somehow “bullies” who use “intimidation” tactics to get our way was very hurtful. I have spent many hours and days assisting the Stockton Springs church in its activities, including the design of the website and steeple fundraisers. I was disappointed and personally hurt when I learned of its public position opposing basic human rights for people such as myself, only because of who I love.
If you are a member of this church or have supported the steeple reconstruction, I hope you will reconsider your position and realize that standing with this church means standing on the wrong side of history.
Living in a state that has the nation’s second-oldest population burdens the health-care system in a way not completely understood by the community, apparently not even by Dr. Paul Shapero, M.D., whose letter appeared in the BDN on Nov. 8. Similar to so many practices across the nation, Eastern Maine Medical Center is forming a joint venture with Northeast Cardiology, which could no longer afford the increasing costs of caring for their elderly and, often, indigent patient load.
The pattern of hospitals buying private practices has become a nationwide phenomenon. In short, the population is living longer, and the huge medical costs that occur during the last 20 years of life are straining Medicare’s finances. Out of necessity, Medicare has decreased reimbursements, while MaineCare pays even less, leaving many cardiology practices unable to pay their employees even with reductions in physician salaries. In the case of Northeast Cardiology, the large number of continuously lowered reimbursements has rendered them noncompetitive with the national market and, therefore, unable to find physicians who will practice in our rural community.
I take issue with Dr. Shapero’s accusation that NECA cardiologists will somehow put the patient second and financial incentives first.
Northeast Cardiology, where my husband works, has always placed patient care first, just as they will continue to do under EMMC’s system. We are fortunate they will be working for a hospital that is willing to provide superb services to our aging population.
Silence by leaders on Carlson disturbing
Robert Carlson committed suicide on Nov. 13, 2011. He was accused of being a serial sexual predator who abused the children of our communities for decades. It took nine months for the police to release a report. The report, heavily redacted, says little about what happened or how.
For one year now, many people have asked for an additional investigation. Letters to the editors, articles by Renee Ordway and Dr. Erik Steele and several editorials and articles in the BDN have all pointed to the need for more information and for action.
As far as I know, there has been no response from the leaders of the justice, education, health and religious institutions who employed Carlson. Their silence does not bode well. Hopefully, it does not indicate a cover-up similar to what happened at Penn State. Still, their silence suggests a lack of interest on their part in protecting children from abuse and a lack of concern about the suffering of victims and their families.
Robert M. Gossart
Laws contrary to God’s word
It was a sad day on Nov. 7 to awake and learn that the majority of Maine voters are in favor of a civil law that opposes the word of God.
Romans 1:26-32 makes it very clear that the homosexual lifestyle is a sin. Men and women living as man and wife and not married is just as much a sin, as is murder and gossip (I Corinthians 6:9-10).
God hates the act of sin, not the actor. But He is just and does not make any exceptions. He does forgive when He is asked, but it is our personal decision where we spend eternity.
There was another law passed in 1974 that made it legal to murder babies, which was sadder than the vote I speak of today. Since 1974, we have murdered babies on an average of 1 million a year.
How can we expect God to bless a country that passes laws like these?