Although erecting wind turbines in pristine areas may not be ideal, it is better than the alternative. To those opposing the wind power projects, I challenge them to consider where the energy used in the United States comes from currently.

Coal, one of the top three energy sources in the United States, mined by blowing off the tops of mountains or digging deep inside them, produces carcinogenic sludge that seeps into water sources. It releases nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides when burned, which cause respiratory and cardiac problems, and causes smog and acid rain.

Not to mention the carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases released during the combustion of fossil fuels, which absorb, transmit and reflect infrared radiation, causing global warming.

Nuclear energy, which does not release greenhouse gases, instead produces a radioactive waste that was recently deemed too harmful to be placed within Yucca Mountain.

Does this put the blinking lights and thumping noises produced by wind power projects into perspective?

I am sympathetic for those whose lives have been altered by the installation of wind turbines.

However, I find the way in which dissenters are improperly broadcasting the benefits and drawbacks of wind power irresponsible. discouraging communities from erecting wind turbines, these individuals are advocating for our current and much more destructive energy sources.

The United States must lessen its dependence on fossil fuels or else we, and the rest of the world, will have much larger problems. Wind power projects are part of the solution.

Flora Drury

Vinalhaven

Efficiency first! This is the axiom for homeowners contemplating using wind or solar power as an alternative energy source. Experts (Home Power Magazine) say every $1 spent on energy efficiency saves $3 to $5 spent on system costs. Home efficiency means adding more insulation, buying Energy Star-rated appliances and installing more efficient windows and doors.

This philosophy seems to have been lost by the federal goverment when it comes to commercial wind power. Commercial wind power developers are entitled to as much as 30 percent financing from the U.S. goverment for eligible project costs. In the case of the proposed 129 megawatt Highland Wind Power project in Highland Plantation, the developer expects to get a $70 million kiss in the mail from us, the taxpayers.

Based on what Highland Wind will receive from the federal treasury, one can project that wind developers stand to receive as much as $1.47 billion if Maine’s goal of 2,700 megawatts of wind power is achieved.

This taxpayer money would be better spent to reduce energy consumption. Yes, there are credits and incentives available for homeowners to do conservation upgrades and even toward purchasing alternative energy sources.

However, this is peanuts compared to the windfall wind developers will get. Imagine what homeowners in Maine and New England could do to achieve maximum energy efficiency with this kind of money.

If you applied all the taxpayer money that will go into wind power projects that will feed the New England grid to energy efficiency, it would be likely that fewer alternative energy sources would need to be developed.

Norman Kaloch

Carrying Place Town Township

The Portland Press Herald reported on several senators calling for a halt to the federal stimulus program aimed at funding for energy/wind farms (“Senators: Energy stimulus funds are going overseas,” March 4).

Their opposition is based on the belief that much of the focused federal funding is going offshore. An example of this is the massive wind farm plan for Austin, Texas, which would have $450 million of taxpayer money going to China for turbines, as reported by a variety of news sources.

It just seems ironic to me that one year ago, exactly to the day, the Press Herald reported that the Owens Corning plant in Brunswick was closing down for a month and would furlough 50 people because of the economic slowdown. This particular plant manufacturers glass fibers for wind farms.

Granted, turbines are quite different than wind-farm blades, but how can the federal government let that amount of money leave our shores?

Even though wind energy isn’t a total solution, it is a reputable component to an overall energy strategy.

I am a supporter of wind energy and would like to see legislation requiring federally funded stimulus projects to have legally binding terms that taxpayer dollars never leave our shores.

John Bowne

Woolwich

Our pets may be suffering from same toxins as people

I found Emma Dean’s Maine Observer column about her longtime friend, Sadie, deeply moving (“A yellow dog waits at the end of the driveway,” April 4).

It is so rare that we fully acknowledge the contribution made by our friends of other species. But it did sound as if Emma was fortunate. Her friend died of old age.

Unfortunately my cat and beloved friend, Michael, died prematurely of a rare cancer, mesothelioma. This tumor has always been associated with exposure to asbestos. I am heart-broken and somehow feel like it is my fault, because it is my species that has been so careless with chemicals.

As a small animal, Michael was like a child in absorbing the toxins that surround us. Though veterinarians do not keep the records that doctors do for humans, my veterinarian, along with a number of others I have talked with, believe they are seeing more and more cancers and other strange illnesses not seen before in animals.

You may have heard the expression “canary in the coal mine”? These animals are our canaries. Their deaths should be warnings to us, both because of our responsibility to them and because of our responsibility to the next generation.

As a public health physician, I am well aware of the dangers of toxic exposures, but the changes we are making to protect children and animals are coming much too slowly. And for children and animals, time is running out.

We need action at the federal level to reduce toxic exposures in the environment. Over the objections of industry, we must pass legislation in Congress to keep dangerous chemicals out of our environment.

Please consider contacting our congressional delegation and advocating for a new and stronger Toxic Substances Control Act. The lives of animals and people depend on it.

Lani Graham, M.D., MPH

Freeport

Columnist wrong: Hippies would love health reform

What would hippies do?

In response to Erik Lusk’s April 11 Maine Voices column, “Where have all the hippies gone?,” I was amazed at his convoluted logic implying that hippies of yore would be against health care for all. If anything, I assure you the old hippies, true to form, were the ones most desirous of nationalized health care.

We didn’t get that. So Lusk thinks people should just not have to buy health insurance. When someone without insurance gets hurt, we’ll just leave them in the street? Or is that like, I’ll buy house insurance when my house burns down. I’ll buy car insurance after I’m in an accident. I’ll get health insurance when I get sick.

Being almost an old hippie myself, I think we need to get out there and put and end to taxpayer-supported wars. Think of all the health care that would buy.

Jenny Gray

Wiscasset

Writer wrong: Limbaugh never said he’d leave U.S.

In reference to the April 11 Insight cover article, “Idle Threats,” by Joe Queenan, it’s no wonder the people who rely on the mass media for news are so misinformed. Rush Limbaugh did not say he would leave the country if the health care bill was passed.

He said he would leave the country for medical care if the health care bill was passed. It is apparent that Mr. Queenan doesn’t listen to Rush.

Maybe he’d learn the truth about what is happening to this country if he did. Mr. Queenan owes Rush Limbaugh an apology.

Shame on the Telegram for wasting space in your newspaper.

Doris O. Dormandy

Rockland