I oppose the increased pressure to facilitate oil drilling within the United States.

The president has announced that it is his administration’s policy to lower our dependence on foreign oil. I support the president in this policy.

But that does not mean that we forget the lessons of a year ago in the Gulf of Mexico. The BP oil spill showed us that deregulation must be done carefully. During the Bush/Cheney administration, Section 390 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 dramatically expanded the circumstances under which drilling operations could forgo environmental reviews and be approved almost immediately under so-called “categorical exclusions” from the National Environmental Policy Act.

In the current session of Congress, one new initiative by House Republicans would actually make things worse. It would require the Interior Department to approve or deny permit requests within 60 days or less, after which the permits would be automatically granted.

I don’t understand how members of Congress can forget the price that people of the Gulf Coast states paid, and U.S. taxpayers are still paying for such short-sightedness as was demonstrated in the 2005 Energy Policy Act. We must not repeat these same mistakes.

Two other pending bills would open up the Arctic and the coastal waters off southern California to drilling. I urge our senators to vote against any such measures, which could once again sacrifice the livelihood of thousands of our fellow citizens for a quick fix. It is not worth it!

We need a sensible balance between virtually meaningless regulation and business-killing regulations.

Haven “Ted” Jordan

Cape Elizabeth

Delay in reporting woman’s disappearance disturbing

 

It is disturbing to me that Elena Lozada’s disappearance, though reported by her family to police in July 2010, was not brought to the general public’s attention until December. What was the reason behind this nearly six-month delay?

Since the discovery of her remains in a wooded lot in Northport, Elena’s personal struggles with addiction have been widely publicized, yet questions have not been raised as to why her disappearance was met with such apparent silence.

Let us honor her by putting greater effort in the search for missing persons and lessening the risk of some potential victims falling through the cracks.

Alyce Ornella

Harpswell

Why do PUC regulators disparage consumer needs?

 

It’s interesting to see that the Public Utilities Commission again ruled against Maine consumers. The high costs of opting out of smart meters will just increase the Spanish-owned CMP’s profits and be prohibitive to those of us who want to opt out.

I don’t know what’s wrong with our politicians who think the electronics industry needs to be guaranteed a monopoly. Why should we be filling up our landfills with perfectly good meters?

Except for a blown fuse, I’ve never had any problem with mine.

The federal government generously spends our money under the guise of “stimulus” to buy a foreign-made product (and stimulate their economy at our expense), a product that has unanswered health questions and has not been proven to hold up as long as the mechanical meters.

I’ve also not seen anything that says that they won’t get their electronics fried if lightning strikes nearby. Given what it costs to maintain our other electronics, just think of the money we’ll spend having to replace the expensive meters.

It’s time for those who appoint members to the PUC to make sure that the nominees have a little common sense.

Patricia Bernard

Portland

Spending on civic center not good use of tax money

 

Jay York made a good point in his April 27 letter concerning the $28 million bond for renovations to the Cumberland County Civic Center.

I will also be voting against the renovations unless I hear a far more convincing argument about why we should spend all that money to subsidize the hockey team and some concert-goers.

Will the civic center make a profit after the renovations? Probably not, and we will be stuck paying off the debt again.

In the same issue of the paper we hear that Fred Forsley wants to build a convention center and hotel around his brewery, and now the Red Claws owners have their own plans.

I say more power to them, go for it, but do it with your dollars, not with any tax money, be it in tax breaks, sales taxes, etc. If it is so important, so valuable and so in demand it will be profitable, but if not, do not ask for tax dollars to make it work.

It is time to let the market work again and stop spending tax dollars we do not have on everyone’s pet projects.

Spend your own money, not mine.

Richard Prince

South Portland

How many E-ZPasses does it take to fund MTA?

 

It’s time to take a closer look at some basic numbers on a quasi-government organization, the Maine Turnpike Authority, and its actual impact on E-ZPass users.

Taking the annual E-ZPass fee for one user as $234/year ($58.50/quarter,) which allows transit from the Wells through to the Gray exits, this would extrapolate as follows:

51,282 E-ZPass users to pay for the estimated $12 million cost of MTA administrative offices.

5,942 E-ZPass users to pay the annual $1.39 million compensation package for just the top 10 MTA employees.

4,701 E-ZPass users to pay the $1.1 million identified in travel and meal expenses.

2,466 E-ZPass users to pay the $577,000 identified in MTA lobbying efforts.

671 E-ZPass Users to pay for the $157,000 identified in gift certificates.

Let’s not forget, these figures do not include the actual annual operating costs nor the total revenues received by the authority from non-E-ZPass users and our seasonal tourists.

Perhaps a novel idea would be for this governor — who appears to be so concerned about our debt — to take a closer look at these excesses to see how the MTA can better serve our state. Or better yet, have the MTA reduce fares for its users!

Daniel Guay

Kennebunk