August 22, 2019
Letters Latest News | Pete Buttigieg | Bangor Metro | Bucksport Paper Mill | Today's Paper

Saturday, April 27, 2019: Caring for an older family member, support for NECEC, health over convenience

I support NECEC in my backyard

My family owns a camp in the West Forks. It would be within a thousand feet of the proposed New England Clean Energy Connect transmission line, which would bring hydropower from Quebec to Lewiston. You’d think being so close to the line I’d be against the project. You’d be wrong.

I have worked on projects much like NECEC for years across our state. I’ve also hunted and fished near other corridors where power lines have been put up. Quite simply, I just don’t think the power lines needed for the project will drastically affect the beauty and gorgeous views the western part of Maine has to offer.

Mainers must start thinking bigger picture and look further than their backyards when it comes to our environment. This project will harness clean, renewable hydropower and take big chunks of carbon out of our air and protect our state’s environment for the foreseeable future.

Here’s another benefit of NECEC that isn’t getting a lot of attention. I love to hunt. Many popular hunting spots are already located near existing transmission lines. NECEC will open more recreational opportunities for hunters, snowmobilers and four-wheelers, and create better access to remote parts of Maine that are almost impossible to get to now.

There has been a lot of debate about the New England Clean Energy Connect project over the past several months. In my opinion, the positives far outweigh the negatives, and I look forward to the benefits the NECEC will bring to Maine.

Todd Beaulieu

West Gardiner

Caring for an older family member

As a family caregiver, I feel like each week requires me to invent my own care system. My 92-year-old father lives in Pownal, in the log cabin house where my siblings and I grew up.

Between my dad’s dementia and limited physical mobility, you might guess that he qualifies for significant assistance from the state, but in reality, he receives 11 hours of home health care each week. After that, we’re on our own. So when my father falls out of bed in the middle of the night and can’t get up, I’m the one who gets the call.

Finding a balance between running a business and managing my dad’s care leaves me feeling torn and frustrated. No matter what I do, it never quite feels like enough. Family caregivers like me and the thousands of other Mainers helping older adults remain at home as they age need more support than we get, especially given that Maine’s changing demographics will mean even more family caregivers are supporting older adults in the years to come.

Elected officials in Maine should work hard to pass efforts this legislative session to support family caregivers, like a proposal to make them eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit. Expanding the EITC will help families like mine make ends meet, and ensure our parents get the care and support that they need as they age.

Judith Hilton

Bangor

Put health over convenience

I am a practicing pediatrician in the Central Maine area, and I have been living and working in Maine since 1982. I’m writing to express my support for LD 1433, which would phase out toxic PFAS chemicals and phthalates from food packaging in Maine.

Our modern world is inundated by a of complex organic chemicals such as these, whose individual and combined effects are extremely worrisome. While exposures are difficult to quantitate, toxicology studies using animal models point to a variety of concerns — including endocrine disruption, obesogenic activity, thyroid dysfunction, neurodevelopmental impairment and immune dysregulation.

Measuring the effects related to a particular synthetic chemical is difficult because of the fact that we all are exposed to so many! One 20-year ongoing survey of children in a remote location on the Faroe Islands by Dr. Philippe Grandjean of Harvard University measured five PFAS chemicals in both mothers’ and kids’ blood, and found weaker immune function in the patients with the highest levels.

These results, along with other studies, led the European Food Safety Authority last year to revise downward its safety limits for PFAS exposure.

LD 1433 is a reasonable step toward reducing the health risks from insufficiently tested chemicals with known effects on developmental, endocrine and immune processes. While the use of these substances may add some convenience, alternatives can get the job done almost as well. How important is it to have less popcorn stick to the side of the bag?

Sydney R. Sewall

Hallowell



Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

You may also like