Reports from the Gulf of Mexico tell us that the oil-spouting BP well has finally been sealed, and that the devastating impacts of the massive oil spill on beaches, wildlife habitats, and marine ecosystem are gradually abating.

However, there is a more clear and present danger lurking in the Gulf, yet there are no immediate plans to abate this much larger, deadlier, and continuing spill smothering life in the Gulf.

According to Wikipedia, there is an 8,500-square-mile “dead zone” (roughly three times the size of the BP oil slick) resulting from the Mississippi River dumping into the Gulf of Mexico.

The chief contributor is American agriculture, spewing billions of tons of factory-farm animal waste, overloaded with nitrogen and other potentially damaging nutrients from petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides, producing vast algal blooms that suck up oxygen from the water, killing all marine life.

We react dramatically to unanticipated threats like the BP oil spill and accidental deaths. Yet we tend to accept and tolerate the much more damaging, but routine, threats from animal waste discharges and deaths from killer diseases linked to meat- and dairy-laden diets.

Paul Mahn

Portland

 

The Gulf oil disaster has made it very clear that for too long America has been dependent on dirty fuels.

The Gulf of Mexico is now forced to deal with a disaster the likes of which has never been seen.

While this catastrophe could have been prevented, it must now be used to provoke a change in our way of thinking.

We should have acted upon clean energy long ago. As we witness the worst industry-caused environmental catastrophe in our history and the worst coal mining disaster in 40 years, and sweat through the hottest first six months of any year on record, it is clear that there’s never been a more urgent time to move forward with a clean energy and climate policy.

The failure to act means that America will continue to send $1 billion a day overseas to buy oil and pollution will continue to increase at home.

At every juncture during this debate, a minority, led by the Republican leadership, has obstructed the opportunity to solve America’s energy problems, preferring to leave the big polluters and petro-dictators in control of our energy policy.

Immediate legislation is required to spark the private-sector investment that will ensure that our nation has a stake in this fast-growing economic sector.

This could potentially result in millions of jobs, ending our current economic recession and making the American economy thrive again.

Ileen DaPonte

Portland

 

Reject Republicans who played jobless-pay politics

 

July 21 was perhaps the best day for all unemployed Americans who gained the right to begin collecting unemployment benefits again.

While Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins voted in favor of this, the majority of Senate Republicans refused to pass this extension of unemployment benefits for the past several months.

Their refusal created untold hardships to families. Millions of children in this country have gone hungry because of the Senate’s game-playing tactics delaying the passage of this bill.

Perhaps those Republican families who have suffered such fate should vote to boot Senate Republican incumbents who voted “no” out of office in November.

We need fresh new faces in Washington who are willing to work together for all Americans and not just a political agenda.

Senators who voted against extending unemployment benefits will never know what it is like to be in the shoes of the unemployed, those who sent them to Washington.

It is very disappointing to hear GOP senators accuse this White House of adding to the deficit and neglecting to balance spending when those same senators voted during the Bush administration for unlimited spending for two wars, tax breaks to the rich, unfunded health programs, No Child Left Behind and Wall Street’s bailout, all while adding debt to their grandchildren’s credit cards.

They spent $200 billion in surplus from the Clinton administration, doubled the deficit, caused big banks to collapse, which bankrupted home-owners, causing small businesses and corporations to downsize and resulting in millions of Americans losing their jobs.

While the House and Senate Repulicans deny and refuse to hear this truth, that is no accomplishment to be proud of.

They need to apologize to the American people for the cleanup this administration is faced with.

Joan Gilbert-Croteau

Skowhegan

 

If you are a middle-class working person in America and you pull the the voting lever for Republicans, you are voting for the very party that seeks to destroy the middle class and replace it with a permanent low wage working class.

Here are a few recent examples of the GOP war on working and unemployed Americans.

The Republicans in Congress stonewalled a bill to provide those unemployed who have exhausted their 99 weeks of unemployment benefits additional weeks of unemployment.

They also stonewalled a bill to provide $30 billion to local banks, which, unlike the big banks we bailed out, actually lend money to small businesses.

The Republicans are playing games with our economic future to try to prevent the government from succeeding in helping people who need it to try to improve their position in the next election.

The Republican Party represents the Wall Street cabal that does nothing but promote sending our jobs to China to make wealthy investors and wildly overpaid executives extremely wealthy at the expense of the working people of America.

They also continue to promote the fiction that somehow tax cuts for the extremely wealthy will help you and me. We had a decade of that, which resulted in the mess we are now in. The GOP hates the middle class because we actually want a responsive government that helps level the economic playing field.

Wealthy robber barons have gutted our industrial base for their own benefit. True patriots would put American workers first instead of putting self-interest, greed and Communist China first.

How many times will we keep buying the same junky used car from the GOP before we demand they join the Democrats and put America first?

George Harlan

Old Orchard Beach