Give thanks for Penobscots

I live by a lake and stream in the ancestral territory of the Penobscot Nation. My family has lived in the Maritimes and Maine for 372 years. That’s but a short spell to the Penobscots, native people who have lived in Maine for 11,000 years.

On Thanksgiving, I gave thanks for Penobscot stewardship of the land and waters I live on, and love. Last year, a million alewives returned to our lake for the first time in 200 years. The eagles, osprey, loons and fishermen all appreciate the nation’s leadership in restoring the Penobscot River.

But many fish are still not healthy to eat, especially for pregnant women and children, due to mercury from coal-fired power plants, and industrial PCBs and dioxins.

Current pollution levels must be reduced to protect the sustenance fishing rights of the Penobscots. In 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed, adopting new water quality standards for the Penobscot River.

But the state of Maine challenged the agency’s action. And, worse, the state has infringed on the sovereignty of the Penobscot Nation by denying rights to the river that had never been surrendered.

The Thanksgiving myth credits peaceful relations between natives and pilgrims for the colonists’ survival. Largely forgotten are the illegal land grabs, broken treaties, scalp bounties and genocide that followed.

But the Penobscot Nation, said to have the oldest continuous government in the world, survived. Their work to ensure that fish are plentiful and safe to eat continues. And for that, we should all be thankful.

Mike Belliveau


Pruitt dangerous

As a local of Maine, I find it’s crucial we pay attention to what’s important in our state and our country. Maine flourishes from its natural beauty. Local business owners count on Maine products to keep their businesses alive each tourist season. Maine is known for fresh air to breathe and a clean environment. I know I for one that I live here for those reasons.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and his fellow associates are trying to damage what plans we have set in place to protect the beauty of our country and Maine. Since Pruitt has taken charge, he has reversed clean air and clean water protections and suspended work of scientific committees working on these projects.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I for one believe we should be moving forward with plans already set in place for our country and its survival, not moving backward. Maine lives matter, our country’s families matter, our children’s futures matter.

Pruitt should not be in control of these decisions. He has shown lack of sincere interest in the truth of climate change and more of what will make more money. I fear for the future with him in the position he was given.

Liane Souter


Tax breaks not worth $1.5 trillion price tag

Instead of going into further national debt by giving tax breaks to the already wealthy and hoping some of that money will “trickle down” to the middle class and the poor, and then hoping (against all the history of similar tax breaks and the current expressed plans of corporate leaders) that this tax break money would be spent to “stimulate the economy,” how about going into equal debt by giving the money more directly to those who most need it by simply employing them?

How many roads could be repaired, bridges rebuilt, schools constructed, teachers employed, laborers put to work and on and on with $1.5 trillion? And wouldn’t the money earned by hard work be more quickly and better spent to “stimulate the economy” and repay the debt?

Sure, it would require government involvement and political influence, and though I am a sincere and severe critic of governmental waste and mismanagement, in this case it is apparent that because of corporate and private greed the current proposed Republican tax plans would result in a far worse use of that $1.5 trillion.

Sidney Block