Warnings from Greenland

In reference to a July 31 story in the BDN, “Greenland ice sheet is in the throes of one of its greatest melting events ever recorded,” I’ll note two points made.

Frist, “the Arctic overall is warming at more than twice the rate of the rest of the globe, which is a trend that has been firmly tied to human emissions of greenhouse gases.” Second, “…if the entire [Greenland] ice sheet were to melt, it would raise sea levels by 23 feet.”

The implications are clear: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions or face a 23 foot rise in sea level (among other global climate ” weirding” that will occur if such a melting were to happen).

Thankfully, there is a bill in Congress, The Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act ( H.R. 763) which will help us act. A price on greenhouse gas emissions will help us reduce those emissions. Visit the Citizens’ Climate lobby at cclusa.org to learn more and take action. Our Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins and our Rep. Jared Golden have not yet endorsed this bill. Please urge them to do so.

Michael Newsom


Bear study long overdue

I have to wonder why the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife canceled a request for proposals to conduct a scheduled study on the impact of human food (including baiting) on Maine’s bear population. Did they not want to hear the results and make them public? The study RFP was cancelled for a litany of flimsy excuses, even though it has been long overdue.

Similar studies in states like Wisconsin have revealed that bear density in areas where baiting is allowed can be as much as twice as high as in areas where it is more restricted. Maine’s population has increased over the past fifteen years and the most popular way to hunt bears is over bait.

Based on my comparison of locations in Maine where large numbers of bears are taken (mostly in the unorganized townships) and locations with a great number of registered bait sites, the two overlap quite closely – producing large numbers of bears year after year. On the other hand, in regions where little or no baiting occurs, few or no bears are taken, sometimes for years, even though bears are present and incidents of serious human/bear conflicts fortunately are still rare.

It is the responsibility of the department to manage the state’s wildlife resources, by using the best science to benefit public priorities and safety, the wildlife, as well as sportsmen. And this requires conducting actual studies to get relevant data.

Jerry Stelmok


Start supporting the STOP bill

We are counting on Sen. Collins to protect Mainers from unexpected health care bills by supporting S. 1531, the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act, introduced by Senator Cassidy (R-LA).

The bill will end the worry that a trip to the emergency room will result in a huge bill because a provider taking care of a loved one does not accept our insurance, despite the fact that the health care facility where they sought care does. The bill creates a dispute resolution process between the insurance company and the provider, to negotiate the appropriate fee for the work.

A competing bill uses benchmarking which allows the federal government to set the rates and we all know our small, rural hospitals will end up on the low end of this federal scale. It is already difficult in many parts of Maine to attract skilled medical professionals and the benchmarking approach would make it even harder.

The people of Maine need Sen. Collins to support the STOP bill in order to ensure that, whether they live in Lewiston, Eastport or Pittsfield, people they will be able to access health care in their region.

Oram Lawry