Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.

Senators should support American Jobs Plan

I felt encouraged after reading about President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan. It covers so many things important to Mainers, among them keeping our waters clean, repairing roads and bridges and reducing energy costs for businesses and homeowners. But one of the most exciting parts is the focus on clean energy jobs and energy independence.

All states will benefit from this, but improving the energy grid has extra significance here. Maine has been identified as having the most frequent outages in the U.S., as well as having the

second-longest outages.

The American Jobs Plan would help with that by investing in ways to make our electric grid more reliable, as well as supporting the move to clean energy sources, with the goal of 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2035.

This is an ambitious goal, and working towards it will help Maine significantly. We could have fewer and shorter outages, plus less pollution from carbon-based electricity.

Even better, this could bring many new jobs to Maine. Solar and wind development is already accelerating, and that will only continue.

And as we saw in this last year of the pandemic, more people are considering Maine as a place to call home. If we have good jobs in clean energy fields and more reliable power, we’re even more likely to attract newcomers — and keep our young people in the state.

I ask Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to support the American Jobs Plan, so Maine can fully benefit from everything it has to offer.

Erica Bartlett

Portland

My response to Gagnon

BDN Columnist Matthew Gagnon in a June 9 column describes me as a “hard-left activist” like it’s a bad thing.

I’m proud to have been elected to the Portland Charter Commission in a ranked-choice runoff that tests the depth of a candidate’s support and gives a greater voice to each voter. I’m even more proud to be serving with a group of talented people who want to create a better Portland.

Along with misunderstanding the ranked-choice system, Gagnon refers to his conversation with Steve DiMillo in May. Funny, he didn’t call me. I would have been happy to discuss my vision for Portland, my activism on behalf of people with disabilities, and my hopes for using technology to build a better future for everyone.

In the meantime, I am humbled and grateful to Portland voters, and plan to give my best in their service.

Patricia Washburn

Portland

Protect recycling programs

Maine communities urgently need support right now to address the rising costs from a flood of wasteful or unsafe packaging materials that are forcing Maine towns to cancel their recycling programs.

A proven solution to this problem, embodied by pending Maine legislation L.D. 1541, is called Extended-Producer Responsibility for Packaging which has already been used successfully in other countries to save money for municipalities. L.D. 1541 asks big business to do their fair share in ensuring recycling viability by reimbursing towns for the costs of managing wasteful packaging materials. The money received would help support local recycling programs.

In addition, the EPR approach would help protect our environment by pressuring companies to use less packaging and safer materials in the products they sell to consumers. Opponents of L.D. 1541 are trying to defeat the bill with concerns that EPR program fees would be passed onto consumers. However, L.D. 1541 has been carefully crafted after years of meetings with stakeholders.

People should please contact their legislators in support of L.D. 1541 to help protect Maine recycling programs and our environment.

Jean Adamson

Hampden