September 23, 2019
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Saturday, May 11, 2019: A little more help, nuclear weapons, progress not perfection

A little more help

Family caregivers who care for aging parents take on a lot of pressure and responsibly to ensure that our loved ones can age at home with dignity. We need our elected officials to do everything that they can to help support caregiving families.

Before my mother passed away, I would often drive the 45 miles to her home to prepare her meals, despite working 12-hour shifts at the paper mill six days a week. I don’t regret a mile or minute of it, but a little outside support would have made life much easier for both of us.

This year, Maine is considering expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to include family caregivers, which would have meant that I had a little more money in my pocket to make ends meet while running between my job and caring for my mom. I hope the legislature passes this improvement in Maine’s care system, to help caregiving families in the moments where they need a little more support than they currently receive.

James Burgess

Millinocket

Peace on the Korean Peninsula?

Why has there never been a peace treaty between the United States and North Korea?

And why does public discussion of this topic seem to be taboo?

Karl K. Norton

Bangor

Nuclear weapons policy

A scenario where the United States would need to use a nuclear weapon, rather than conventional forces, to respond to an attack on our country or our allies is unimaginable. A nuclear-first use option is made even more terrifying considering the current administration’s plan to deploy “low yield” nuclear warheads. The phrase “low yield” is misleading, as these nuclear weapons are able to kill tens of thousands of people.

Recently, the Maine Senate adopted a resolution that calls for common sense nuclear weapons policies in the US. States, cities, and municipalities across the country have passed similar resolutions.

Rep. Jared Golden has a chance to be a leader on nuclear weapons policy. He is a combat veteran, and sits on the House Armed Services Committee. There are currently bills in the US House of Representatives that address both “ no first use” and the deployment of low yield nuclear weapons. Golden should know better than most that current US policy does not make our troops, our allies, or our country safer. He should cosponsor the no first use bill, and vote in opposition to the deployment of so-called low yield nuclear weapons.

Nancy Gilbert

Durham

We need progress, not perfection

The May 6 U.N. report on massive extinctions is another harbinger of what too many reputable sources say lies ahead. Credible predictions include the automation of the blue-and white-collar workforces and the domino effect from that: rising unemployment, declining wages and college enrollment, a widening gap between rich and poor, and increasing poverty and “unrest” here and abroad.

The government will likely respond with massive work projects (again) and, pushed to the wall, will simply print more money (again). Information technology will put food on people’s tables. But while “modernizing” the economy and infrastructure of African and Asian countries (the bulge of the projected world population explosion to 9 billion) may work for a while, it’s not permanent. And here, it won’t work long at all.

What will? The magic bullet has not yet materialized but there have been many hopeful experiments, and mounting data to back them up. Right now, Earth is suffering the “death of a thousand cuts” and it is primarily we in the “developed” countries who wield the knives. We need to re-examine what the economy is really for.

People — especially those under the age of 50 — need to get serious about using the internet to decide for themselves which of the many paths to take to become part of the solution. Conserving energy and water, eating local, converting lawns to gardens, buying low-fuel cars — it’s all helpful but nowhere near enough.

Fortunately, there are many smart, honest people acting now to change the world. That future is coming at you whether you take part in it or not. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Jane Livingston

Veazie

Excellent article

Thank you to BDN staff writer Josh Keefe for the excellent article, “How Central Maine Power failed its customers and still increased profits.” As a result of Keefe’s research, several important questions have been answered.

Central Maine Power should not be trusted to build the transmission line. The Public Utilities Commission is just a weak rubber stamp to approve the project.

Gov. Janet Mills was much too hasty to support this proposal at the expense of CMP customers and a better understanding of the effects it will have on global climate change.

Phyllis Coelho

Belfast

Phase out PFAS

I am a student at Colby College and am asking readers to urge their Maine lawmakers to pass LD 1433, a bill that will phase-out toxic perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals in Maine’s food packaging.

PFAS chemicals are highly persistent, bioaccumulative toxins that are commonly found in consumer and industrial products, ranging from non-stick sprays to firefighting foam. Humans are exposed to PFAS chemicals often by way of ingesting contaminated food and water. The chemicals are linked to complications and disruptions of child development, female fertility, and natural hormone functions. They are also known to cause an increased risk of cancer.

We as informed Mainers must do everything we can to limit these harmful toxins from our daily lives. The solution is LD 1433, which would phase-out PFAS chemicals found in everyday food containers such as pizza boxes, microwavable popcorn bags, sandwich wrappers, and more. PFAS chemicals in these products come in direct contact with the foods we eat, and thus, pose serious health risks.

LD 1433 would require food container manufacturers to report their chemical uses, find safer alternatives, and prohibit the sale of concerning chemicals that have been intentionally introduced. Besides protecting consumer safety, this bill would also create affordable safer alternatives to PFAS chemicals, and thus, protect Maine food businesses and restaurants by limiting high economic costs in the pursuit of human health and safety.

After studying the incredibly harmful effects of PFAS chemicals at Colby, I am writing as a passionate Maine student and resident who wants the best for the safety and health of the state.

Caroline Stoddard

Waterville

 



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