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Friday, July 4, 2014: Wind development, recycling, national park support, hospital infections

By George Danby, BDN Cartoonist

Demand setbacks

After reading the June 26 OpEd by the Pisgah Mountain wind project developer, I had to comment.

Property rights work both ways. When the supposed “science” of wind turbine siting allows them placed too close to homes, something is amiss. With many lawsuits in Mars Hill, maybe it is time to rethink the regulations and demand more setbacks.

Any tax breaks or bribes will be quickly lost when we all have to pay for new transmission lines, and town officials go on a spending spree. It is not worth throwing one’s neighbors under a bus in support of a developer who does not even live near his proposed turbines.

After camping two miles from the Rollins windsprawl and hearing the turbines roar and thrum all night, making it impossible to sleep, I object to any turbines within 100 miles of any bodies of water. Maine deserves protection.

Mike DiCenso


Throwaway society

Consumers aren’t solely responsible for our “throwaway society” as a June 26 BDN headline implied. It is great news that recycling is now “news” again, thanks to the Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine and its mini-conference on the waste hierarchy (reduce, re-use, recycle, dispose). But it is disappointing that the BDN missed the point. There is only so much the consumer and our recycling companies at the end of the production pipeline can do, and many of us are trying hard.

Casella Resource Solutions and other participants in the conference stressed the importance of changing our entire orientation to resources and waste. We must focus on redesigning our manufacturing process to enable recycling of packaging and products whose consumer life is finished. We must ensure that the byproducts of industry are reduced, are not harmful, and those that remain are usable in another process. If we design our economy as an ecological system is designed, we will likely be a sustainable society.

Focus on reduce, reuse and recycle. This was the message of the conference.

Jay Kilbourn

Vice president, Casella Resource Solutions


Support park

My family and I recently had a fantastic time exploring the Katahdin Woods and Waters Recreation Area — the very land that Elliotsville Plantation Inc. has opened up for public use and would like to donate to the National Park Service to become a national park. We accessed the land from the open Matagamon Gate on the northern end of the property and enjoyed a primo wilderness back roads biking experience.

I’m not aware of anything like this in Maine — especially not in the Millinocket area where bikes are mostly prohibited on back roads. The gated roads were of really decent quality (not too sandy or rocky). We loved it! Once we figured out where to go (thanks to the signage that already exists on the land and the advice of the recreation managers), we were awed by the spectacular river rapids at river access points.

We’ll definitely be back for more of the fabulous biking and short hikes to special features, like waterfalls and mountain views, as the trails are developed further. I am so impressed by all that EPI has done to make this land accessible to the public. I look forward to the day when this area becomes a national park and encourage everyone to visit!

Deb King


Health costs

The June 23 BDN article about Medicare and Medicaid penalties for hospitals that have high rates of complications and infections interests me in many ways. First, the penalties will likely be minor in comparison with how much this harm costs patients. I have advocated for at least two hospital-acquired infection patients whose bills totaled more than $250,000. And I wonder how much the government and patients have actually paid the hospitals facing penalties after patients were harmed under their care.

The invisible part of health care harm is the costs to patients, in the form of pain, suffering, extended associated care, grief, disability, job loss, insurance loss and financial loss, including bankruptcy. Of course the ultimate cost to patients and families is loss of life, and that absolutely does happen after health care harm.

As many as 440,000 patients die every year in the U.S. because of health care harm, which would make it the third leading cause of death. Nobody talks about that. If harmed patients did complain, could or would they be heard above the whining and excuses of the hospitals?

Kathy Day

Hobby shopping

I am distressed that the Supreme Court decided in favor of Hobby Lobby and against rights for women. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg makes the point in her dissenting opinion that this could open the door to many religious objections to health procedures. Will the Jehovah’s Witnesses now be able to refuse to pay for blood transfusions, and will Christian Scientists now be able to deny their employees coverage for basic vaccinations? Where would it end?

People on antidepressants might fear employers who are scientologists because they might object to coverage for that medication. Holding religious beliefs is a right of Americans, but imposing that religion on others is not. Hobby Lobby’s beliefs are running over the rights of everyday citizens.

Hobby Lobby doesn’t mind taking the profits available from conducting business in our society, and therefore they need to take responsibility for providing basic health care for their employees, according to the rules laid out by the society in which they do business.

The Affordable Care Act provides for basic reproductive care for women, which is their right, and Hobby Lobby should not be allowed to impose its religious views on those who work for it. Apparently there is no stopping this conservative court to which our society is now subject, but we could at least keep our money out of the hands of the power-hungry family that owns Hobby Lobby by not shopping there.

Carolyn Bower


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