In an April 15 editorial (“PUC made right call on wind power investment”), the Maine Sunday Telegram states: “From an environmental perspective, the benefits of expanding wind generation are worth the visual impact.”

Environmentally, industrial wind has yet to prove any of its claims. No scientific evidence exists to prove the environmental benefits of industrial wind. In fact, the recent Bentek study disproved the CO2-reduction myth that has bolstered this “green” energy for so long.

The American Bird Conservancy’s studies on raptor, bat and migratory bird kills by industrial turbines have prompted lawsuits by the Sierra Club and Audubon alleging violations of federal laws. Fragmenting fragile and critical wildlife habitat with industrial roads, transmission lines, clear cutting and herbicide spraying hardly constitutes good environmental stewardship.

Forty years of industrial wind development nationwide has netted a mere 3 percent of our energy needs and resulted in thousands of abandoned, rusting turbines littering the landscapes of Hawaii, Texas and California. Will turning Maine’s mountains into junkyards make us more environmentally friendly?

Destroying Maine’s viewsheds threatens Maine’s most powerful economic engine. Tourism brings $10 billion in goods and services and $535 million in taxes annually into this state and provides 175,000 full-time jobs. Tourists are drawn here by our pristine environment and our scenic viewsheds.

How does threatening this valuable, storied and much-beloved landscape with sprawling industrial development benefit our state from any perspective? Our iconic mountains are not renewable. We are the stewards of one of the most beautiful states in the nation. What sort of legacy will we leave our children?

We outlaw billboards on our highways as “unsightly” but destroy our scenic viewsheds? Perhaps the Maine Sunday Telegram should better explain its position.

Penelope Gray

Freeport

Social safety nets should be reserved for the neediest

While it appears that most citizens support a safety net for those who are temporarily financially compromised, it is evident that our current welfare system has become an unsustainable “cycle of dependency.” Not only have we created this cycle, but we have created a middle-class entitlement through programs such as child-care assistance and Medicaid.

At one time, our welfare system concentrated on those truly in need. Now, it assists middle-class families with subsidized child care if their household income is $40,000 a year or less. A married couple with three children can earn more than $50,000 a year and still receive taxpayer-funded health care under the state’s Medicaid program, an eligibility limit more than three times the national average.

In the last 12 years Maine has seen virtually no job growth, yet it continues to support a system that discourages work and self-reliance. Flaws include liberal eligibility limits, ineffective time limits, weak sanctions and a poorly managed system.

If a recipient is considered work-ready, then why are they not required to participate in a job-search program for at least 40 hours per week? If the old saying is true, “nothing in life is free,” then why are we not requiring recipients to perform some kind of work in exchange for assistance?

It seems prudent and fiscally wise to require mandatory drug testing, the completion of money-management classes and to provide health-risk assessments in order to ensure that the neediest among us are supported.

These measures will create an economic environment that is conducive to job growth and employment opportunities and will support changing the mentality of welfare recipients from one of dependence to independence, which are the real solutions to poverty.

Christina Small

New Canada

Shouldn’t more be done to preserve Richmond fort?

Regarding the story “Answers may rest in Fort Richmond soil” (April 30), which reported on the archaeological work being done around the site of the future Richmond-Dresden bridge: Since Fort Richmond is such an important historical site, why isn’t something being done to preserve it?

Why isn’t more being done to preserve our past?

Why can’t the bridge be built elsewhere?

Nancy Welch

Dayton

A dollar sure doesn’t go as far as it used to

As the person who does most of the grocery shopping in our family, I have witnessed the shrinkage of all things canned, boxed, frozen and wrapped, first in the size of tuna fish cans, now in everything from cookies to snack crackers to toilet paper rolls. I thought I was losing it when the new toilet paper rolls wouldn’t stack up with what was in the closet. It turns out they had gotten shorter by one-quarter to one-half an inch.

Check the weight on any and every thing you buy: 64 ounces of orange juice is now 59.5 ounces. Triscuits are now 8 ounces to the box, Oreos are 13.5 ounces, a can of ground coffee is down to 11 ounces and the list goes on and on.

The prices may not have increased, but your money buys less. Where, in all the accounting for inflation and cost of living, does smaller packaging get figured in? Does anyone doing these calculations take note?

Consumers trying to feed their families certainly do: My oh-so-frugal grandmother would have called it “nickeling and diming us to death.” Sneaky and crude but effective.

My husband and I are fortunate to be empty nesters, but I can imagine the pocketbook pain felt by our children and others trying to feed growing families in a down economy.

Let’s be honest when we talk about real inflation and the cost to consumers.

Isabel Higgins

Standish

Back in the 1960s when the hourly rate of pay was $1.25, a family of four could live on the earnings of one breadwinner with no frills but a TV. Wages versus prices were good. You needed only one car. You had to have a down payment for even the cheapest house.

For years, it has required two wages to carve out a living, with the price of commodities being so high, including the cost of a roof over our heads.

As I see the ridiculous prices of houses in newspaper ads, only a couple of teachers living together or other upper-middle-income workers can afford one. This leaves mobile homes for some — not that they are bad — they tend to heat easily and don’t need much upkeep. The great American dream is gone for so many people.

The price people paid for their homes and with no down payment had some great effect on the housing meltdown, plus other factors.

I saw an ad in the Conway Daily Sun from a contractor who said he could build a 24-foot-by-32-foot house for $149,000. It didn’t say what was included. Even at this price, it is not for lower-income people.

I completely remodeled my house in the late 1980s for around $25,000, including furniture.

It appears that we can’t renovate a building any more. For some reason, it appears demolishing one and disposing of it is less expensive.

Yes, life and times were better just 20 years ago. Remember, a cost-of-living raise is just that: an increase in the cost of living.

Always vote.

Erwin McAllister

Fryeburg