LePage’s tourism hypocrisy
Given the lived reality of those of us in the Katahdin region, reading about Gov. Paul LePage’s faux-concern about the impact of windmills on Maine’s tourism economy exposes his hypocrisy. “Tourism,” he says, “is a major driver for the Maine economy.” Why, then, has he repeatedly tried to imperil Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument’s success?
Dozens of local business owners, elected officials and outdoor enthusiasts have written in the BDN about the positive contributions of Katahdin Woods and Waters to our region. More than 30,000 people from 45 states and nine different countries visited the monument in its first year alone. Local real estate prices went up, businesses expanded and our region has an exciting vision of a diversified economy that isn’t dependent on one industry alone.
I am a small-business owner, and I’m excited about the possibilities the monument brings here. As BDN columnist David Farmer has noted, the governor’s persistent efforts to quash this positive momentum are unreasonable. Is there any explanation, besides the governor’s personal vendetta, for the fact that the Maine Office of Tourism’s website excludes any mention of the monument? For the 30,000 people who visited the monument despite the governor’s attempts to thwart visits, why aren’t there any directional signs to point them in the direction of the monument?
LePage should do everything he can to support our monument. He should allow the tourism office to tell visitors about the monument, and allow signs to be installed on major routes.
Tax carbon emissions
William C. Eacho’s Jan. 31 BDN OpEd described the destructive effects of climate change on Maine’s fisheries, and advocated for a tax on fossil fuels to reduce carbon emissions. I agree that we need carbon pricing.
Until now, we have spewed carbon and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, degrading our air quality and warming our planet and left the costs of the resulting extreme weather events to be paid by individual citizens via increased taxes, insurance premiums, home repairs and health care. So, yes, in a fair-market economy, the price of fossil fuels should more accurately reflect their true costs.
But it would be fairer if the fees collected on oil, gas and coal were equally distributed to all Americans. In this scenario, two-thirds of households would receive more back in dividends than they would pay in increased costs. Only those with large carbon footprints would pay more. A gradually rising carbon price will motivate entrepreneurs and investors toward a new clean-energy economy.
A Regional Economic Models Inc. study showed that in less than 20 years this carbon fee and dividend policy would reduce carbon dioxide emissions 52 percent below 1990 levels and create an economic stimulus that adds 2.8 million jobs.
Tell Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Rep. Bruce Poliquin that you want them to put forward fair policies that address climate change. Tell them you want your carbon dividend.
St. Clair for Congress
Maine Democrats will have a choice of several qualified candidates to take on the failed incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin and send a new face to represent the 2nd Congressional District. My choice among these is Lucas St. Clair. Why?
St. Clair’s background is as Maine as it gets. He comes from humble roots and a family dedicated to hard work. He is not a professional politician with all the ambition and compromise that requires. He has a young family, a record of hard work and service, and values unsullied by the machinations of state politics. He is open, honest and direct in who he is, what he believes and how he will work for the benefit of us all, regardless of party line and donor reward.
In times of confrontation and suspicion, this election must be about trust. And St. Clair has proven worthy of our trust by his tireless promotion of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, a gift to the people of Maine, as valuable a natural resource and economic development opportunity as the gift of Acadia so many years ago.
The Katahdin monument was controversial and opposed by many in the 2nd District. But St. Clair embarked on his “thousand cups of coffee” effort to sit down in diners, churches and countless kitchen tables, face-to-face with Mainers, to listen to our opinions, understand our concerns and offer explanations that turned many from opposition to support.
He is the only candidate of either party to have such genuine experience, and I’m glad to support him.