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Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019: Push for climate action, tougher penalties for driving while using a cellphone, American values?

Push for climate action

Last week, the U.N. Environment Program reported that carbon emissions have increased despite global pledges, and that we need a quick fix to reduce emissions now and throughout the next decade in order to prevent some of the more extreme weather changes.

The good news is there is a bill in Congress to help us achieve that target. It is the bipartisan H.R. 763, The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. Scientists and economists agree that this strategy could reduce America’s emissions by at least 40 percent in the next 12 years, and that’s not all. It would create 2.1 million new jobs in clean energy and reduce carbon pollution, making the air cleaner for all of us to breathe. It is revenue neutral: the fees collected on carbon emissions will go directly to Americans as monthly dividends to spend as they see fit.

There will be adjustments on products coming into our country, incentivizing other nations to adopt carbon-fee-and-dividend policies. Fossil fuels are our past; only those invested in them say otherwise. Renewables are our future, if we are to have a future. America has the brain power and resources to innovate, educate and develop clean energy. All we need is the will. If we are to leave our children with a livable planet, we the people need to push our legislators on climate change. They need to hear from us, and H.R. 763 is a bill that Republicans and Democrats can support.

Gerry Gross

Bangor

Cellphones and driving

Regarding the Dec. 4 Associated Press reprint about the sting operation in Biddeford, aimed at catching people using their cellphones while driving: The penalty is nowhere tough enough.

Google “the effects of cell phone use and driving.” Studies, including one by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, indicate that cellphone use while operating a motor vehicle is as dangerous as operating under the influence. State lawmakers need to make the penalties for both offenses exactly the same.

I was arrested last December for my first, and only, operating under the influence charge. The penalty by law: I was put in handcuffs and taken to jail; my car was towed and impounded; I lost my license for 150 days. I also took a mandatory three-day Driver Education and Evaluation Programs class that cost $300, spent $4,000 for a lawyer and, as a side note, I had lots of explaining to do to a few people. I have no one to blame but myself. The point is, I will never do it again. It stopped me from drinking period.

I suspect nothing will change as far as the current law on cellphone use while driving goes until a state lawmaker’s wife, husband or child is killed or seriously injured by someone driving while holding their cellphone as they discuss where to meet for lunch.

David Winslow

Brewer

American values?

Posing for a picture with a dead enemy, and the statement that, “I’ve got a cool story for you when I get back. I’ve got my knife skills on,” apparently rang a positive note in President Donald Trump’s mind in that he abrogated the Navy’s decision to discipline its author, Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. The message this sends to young enlistees (and long-time veterans) can only be taken as a representation of current American values as expressed by our commander in chief.

I note that Sen. Susan Collins recently met with Trump, and in advance of what is almost certain to be his impeachment trial in the Senate — after publicly stating that she cannot comment on impeachment because she is likely to be a juror in the trial. I would like to understand how that meeting makes sense in relation to her juror status and why she feels compelled to remain relatively silent concerning the actions of an increasingly out-of-control chief executive that are detrimental to core American values.

Donald Holmes

Sedgwick

 



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