Nicole Grohoski’s environmental leadership
One thing all Mainers have in common is solid waste disposal. How are we going to address that problem?
The bans on plastic bags and polystyrene were an excellent first step. Rep. Nicole Grohoski of Ellsworth was a champion for those bills. Beyond that, she has proposed a more effective way to reduce trash in the first place.
Extended producer responsibility requires companies to be responsible for the amount of packaging of their product and how to dispose of it. That lessens the burden on the consumers and the municipalities that have to collect and haul the waste. Extended producer responsibility has been effective for decades in several other countries, we could benefit from their experience.
I learned more about this approach when Grohoski gave a presentation at a community meeting. I also listened to a discussion about another environmental issue at a recent constituent coffee hour. Each time, Grohoski provided detailed answers and background about the subject. Her standards for gathering data and supporting information are necessarily rigorous. This is important for crafting effective legislation. I appreciate the depth of knowledge and the clarity of her explanations.
Grohoski is building well-researched and practical legislation. Extended producer responsibility is an excellent step forward. I thank her for the thoroughness of her work on behalf of her constituents and the Maine environment.
Delighted by court ruling in fish farm case
With respect to the Feb. 3 BDN article, “Judge strikes down effort to stall fish farm project,” I want to highlight an important ramification of part of the Belfast court’s decisions described therein.
Specifically, it was decided that plaintiffs Mabee and Grace do not have the right to stop Nordic Aquafarms from petitioning the state for permits. The part of Mabee and Grace’s suit attempting this was dismissed on anti-SLAPP grounds. In lay terms, this means it was meritless, or baseless or frivolous.
I am delighted that a court of law has made clear that meritless legal action will not be allowed to stop the Nordic permitting process. The anti-SLAPP laws are important for our democracy, protecting First Amendment rights against nuisance lawsuits. In this case, they are protecting Nordic Aquafarms’ right to seek a state permit, but tomorrow they may be needed to protect my right to protest against a fossil-fuel company. We should all applaud this decision.
Impeachment and health care concerns
In his Senate vote, Sen. Mitt Romney shows us that political and moral courage are possible even if rarely seen.
Whatever you may think of his position and career, his was perhaps the only Senate vote made entirely based on conscience. Unfortunately, our Sen. Susan Collins is no profile in courage. By trying to have it all ways, she pleases no one, except perhaps President Donald Trump.
The impeachment vote will not directly affect Mainers, but potential votes on restructuring Medicare and Medicaid will. The administration will be proposing cuts for both Medicare and Medicaid, and it is in court to overturn Obamacare once and for all. This would, among other things, remove mandated coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Jared Golden’s impeachment wisdom
On Jan. 31, The New York Times ran an editorial, “A Dishonorable Senate,” that I would encourage everyone to read. The editorial points out the obvious: the cynicism of the Senate Republicans’ decision not to call John Bolton at the impeachment trial — before noting that “[t]here is one apt criticism leveled by Republicans, even if they have made it in bad faith: Democrats in the House of Representatives moved too fast in the impeachment process, voting before they could hear from key witnesses like John Bolton.”
Had Democrats taken their time and pushed for Bolton’s testimony, they likely would have gotten it eventually. Indeed, it is hard to fathom that he would have had any ability to resist testifying in the House once it became known that his book — containing information on the scandal at issue — was being published in March.
The Times editorial doesn’t mention Rep. Jared Golden by name, but it plainly vindicates his decision to split his impeachment votes, as well as his carefully thought-through statement on impeachment.
At the time that he released his statement, many people — Democrats and Republicans — assumed that Golden’s decision was nothing but a nakedly political attempt to “split the baby.” Go back and re-read the congressman’s statement. In retrospect, his concerns about leadership’s decision to “wrap up impeachment proceedings as quick as possible” looks wise indeed.
Acting on climate
I have been researching, debating and discussing different energy sources to make a healthy future. Maine should utilize wind, solar, and hydropower to be carbon neutral by 2040.
We can not run out of wind, it is sustainable. Wind is clean, renewable energy. Maine has a lot of space in the woods for wind farms to be built to harness the wind to create electricity. Wind is a sensible energy source for Maine to become carbon neutral.
Solar uses the sun and its rays to create energy. It is also a clean and renewable energy. The cost is high at the initial startup, however, solar can pay that cost back with lower electricity bills. Solar panels can be placed just about anywhere. The city of Portland placed panels on top of a landfill at the Ocean Avenue Array.
Hydropower is run by the current of running water, so we will never run out of the water. Hydropower is a domestic source of energy allowing each state’s homes to access this type of energy.
In conclusion, solar, wind and hydropower can help make Maine carbon neutral by 2040. If we don’t become carbon neutral by 2040, we will all be in a crisis. Our world is melting. We must all act.