Burst the balloon releases

I think it’s about time for a law that would ban the releasing of balloons. Actually there already is a law in place. It’s called “No Littering.” That is exactly what releasing balloons is.

I’m a lobster fisherman from Little Cranberry Island and I spend a good part of the year on the water. If I see a balloon floating by or stuck in a bunch of seaweed, it ends up in my trash can on the boat.

It really riles me up that people just don’t think before releasing as to where their balloons will end up. I and other fishermen see a lot of them. Lobster fishermen are stewards of the ocean and plastic is not what we want to see. Not only on the ocean but on the shores, in bushes and into the trees. They are everywhere.

So, I hope LD 1023 and LD 618 both pass. It is a step toward saving us and other species from being wiped out by plastic.

Bruce Fernald

Islesford

Set a stronger standard for lead in school water

As the BDN reported in discussing President Joe Biden’s plan to replace dangerous lead water pipes, too many schools in Maine are serving lead-contaminated drinking water.

The Legislature tried to fix this in 2019, passing a law to require schools to test for the toxic, brain-damaging metal. However, in rules proposed to implement this, the Maine Center for Disease Control proposed using a weak, outdated standard that leaves our children drinking water with 15 times as much lead as allowable in Massachusetts and nearly four times as much as in Vermont.

Maine CDC’s proposed level is borrowed from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has directly acknowledged that the standard is not intended to protect health, but rather is based on what is most “feasible” for utilities to achieve by controlling water’s corrosiveness.

Schools have no and low-cost options to address lead contamination in water, so there is no excuse for Maine children to be drinking water in school that is contaminated. Maine families and children deserve better.

The Legislature is now considering whether to adopt Maine CDC’s rule or to change it. I urge the Legislature to follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and overrule the administration by setting a standard at least as protective as Vermont’s for school water.

Patrick MacRoy

Deputy director

Defend Our Health

Portland

Protecting public lands

Public lands are designated for public benefit — whether it be wildlife, recreation or natural resources, they are protected from development to benefit Maine’s people and environment. Because of this, Maine’s constitution states that anything significantly changing their purpose must pass a two-thirds vote in the Legislature.

Now, Central Maine Power is arguing that cutting down a swath of trees, spraying the understory with herbicides, and putting up power poles is not a significant change in land use. If private corporations are going to use public lands for profit, Mainer’s voices must be considered to ensure that the project will benefit Maine enough to compensate for the land lost.

With the CMP corridor, I believe there is no such benefit; most jobs will be short-term; and our iconic forest, wildlife and scenic views will be disturbed. This decision could set a precedent for future, harmful decisions made behind closed doors. This does not benefit Maine’s people or environment.

Because of this, I strongly support LD 471, “An Act To Require Legislative Approval for Certain Leases of Public Lands,” which clarifies that cutting down a swath of trees for a power line is, in fact, a significant change in use from the conservation, natural resource, or recreation uses that these lands are designated for. It also creates transparency in decision making, ensuring that important decisions are voted on.

As a young person in Maine, I want to see the next generation have access to the natural beauty we have been lucky enough to experience.

Hallie Arno

Lincolnville