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Don’t forget about the water supply
Kurt Adams’ March 18 OpEd on green hydrogen has a glaring omission: what is the source of the millions upon millions of gallons of water necessary for the electrolysis that splits the hydrogen from its oxygen companion? Will fossil fuel conglomerates simply shift from purchasing drilling rights to owning water rights of vast supplies of drinking water?
We know that the increased privatization of water has been a crucial issue around the world and in this country for quite some time. Currently about 12 percent of the water supply of the American public is privately owned. In some states that figure exceeds 30 percent. We also know that climate change is putting increasing stress on potable water supplies. Privatization of water puts the public at the market mercy of corporations for this basic necessity of life. If green hydrogen production will exacerbate the fundamental safety, quantity and cost of access to potable water for millions of people, have we traded one existential threat, fossil fuel emissions, for another?
Maine should begin by passing the Pine Tree Amendment ( LD 489) to the state constitution that enshrines the rights to clean air, clean water and a healthy environment for all Maine citizens. With that amendment in place as a guiding principle we can begin to assess the advantages and disadvantages of new ideas about energy in Maine.
Advocating for equality
I am a fervent and proud believer in equality and equity for all, regardless of one’s sexual orientation. Maine is a great example of protecting LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly being the first state to have established marriage equality at the ballot box. As a former chairman of the Maine Republican Party, I was honored to be a part of the effort at the national level to protect Maine’s choice. I was able to convince people on my side of the aisle because it was not infringing on religious liberty.
We are honored to have two U.S. senators who are committed advocates of equality at all levels. Sen. Angus King, when he was governor, pushed for protections and has continued to do so as a senator. Sen. Susan Collins was an essential champion of repealing the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. This time, just as with getting rid of DADT 11 years ago, Collins is playing a critical role in bringing on board the necessary Republicans to establish full protections for LGBTQ+ Americans by including a relatively narrow exception for religious organizations.
LGBTQ+ individuals in Maine and across the country need protections today. They shouldn’t be forced to wait for the “right” political moment. Collins is giving us an opportunity, just as she did with the Employment Nondiscrimination Act a few years back, to pick up numerous Republicans. She can make sure we enact federal laws ensuring equality and equity for all, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Mark J. Ellis
End qualified immunity
When I was a child I was taught the police were the “good guys,” and were there to help when people had a problem. When I became a parent, I taught my children the police were the “good guys,” and were there to help when they had a problem. I am now in my 60s and still believe the majority of the police are the “good guys,” and are there to help.
Ending qualified immunity, holding police to the same standards as the general population, will “weed out” those who are not the “good guys.” The example that Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Brackett gave in a recent BDN article is a poor example of any harm ending immunity could cause. If an officer is responding to a call (real or otherwise) and gets into a car accident, if he did not cause the accident, there would not be a lawsuit against that officer. If he caused an accident, why should he be allowed to injure someone and not be held accountable for his actions?
Doctors are “good guys” and they carry malpractice insurance for when mistakes or errors occur. Too many mistakes or errors and they can no longer be insured, and therefore can no longer practice medicine. Police officers could carry similar insurance. I urge everyone to contact their representative in support of LD 214, and hold people accountable for their actions.