I can think of nothing worse than the passage of Rep. Kenneth Fredette’s “bold bill” to bring natural gas to Maine from the Marcellus shale formation in Pennsylvania (“Bold idea aims to slash Maine’s power bills,” Dec. 20).

Cheap natural gas once seemed like a reasonable solution to our energy needs. Gas may be cleaner-burning than oil and coal, but we now know that gas produced by hydraulic “fracking” comes with a huge environmental cost. It poses significant risks to groundwater supplies, and because of the leakage of methane in its production, it may have as large an impact on global warming as oil or coal.

Furthermore, the creation of a pipeline infrastructure to support this shale gas will create a dependency on it that only delays our transition to renewables.

We do not have the luxury of time; the ever-increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and rising temperatures mean that we may not be able to stabilize the global atmosphere with “only” a rise of 2 degrees. We already are familiar with the consequences of a single degree of temperature rise (actually, it is .8 degrees Celsius, or 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit); 2 degrees would be unthinkable.

It would be far better for the Maine Legislature to spend its time grappling with a more important question: how to create incentives for a dispersed energy system that places a much greater reliance on solar energy.

Even though the payback period for a solar installation is reasonable, it still requires a substantial sum of money “up front.” But there are numerous ways in which the state could help — with low-cost loans to homeowners, with incentives for companies that lease roof space for panels, with property tax relief for installations, and so on.

Maine has plenty of sun. The state just has to help families take advantage of it.

Joe Hardy

Wells  

Unlike governor, educator would welcome ‘paparazzi’ 

Our infamous Gov. LePage has made Maine the laughingstock of all the states again. Now he has decided to be the best model ever for the television show “Candid Camera.” Governor, you can run, but you must not hide!

Brian Jordan, the so-called “paparazzi,” who videotapes your public appearances — nothing private behind your closed doors — may be up for an Emmy soon.

Gov. LePage, you don’t want Brian Jordan around. Well, hey, we (you know, the 61 percent of the state that did not vote for you) don’t want you around!

LePage talks about “the lack of respect that the office of the governor of Maine is receiving.” Really? Because last time I checked, you must earn respect to receive it.

But what do I know? I am only one of the many public school teachers in Maine. Recall Nov. 9, when you stated at a public forum at York County Community College, “If you want a good education, go to a private school. If you can’t afford it, tough luck.”

I must tell you I would enjoy the idea of Brian Jordan coming into my class and videotaping me while I educate my “tough luck” students. Mr. Jordan can follow me all day while I complete after-school extra help on my own time, and then shop for food and other essentials my students might need.

He can even follow me when I pick up my paycheck. Maine public school teachers are paid at the bottom of almost all states (47th out of 50) in the United States.

Another thing, Governor: Many of my students have gone on to become very successful members of our society. Can you say the same about the state that you are governing? How much better off are we since you took office? Please tell us, or is it just “tough luck”?

Mary Grady

Kennebunkport 

When execs vastly outearn labor force, society pays  

Dennis Gervais is correct in stating that more citizens will ride in the government’s wagon than pull it (Voice of the People, “Voters choose a free ride; country to fall like Hostess,” Dec. 10). However, if the election means anything to our Congress, at least now those who have put so many workers into ridership will become the horses pulling it.

Those at the top of the corporate ladder now put so much more value on management and capital (stockholders like themselves, most of whom are in the top 20 percent of this country’s earners) that labor suffers and we all pay.

When CEOs earn in a couple of hours more than front-line labor earns in a year and then they hide these earnings abroad, who pays for the Medicaid and food stamps many of their hard workers need to survive? Until now, all the rest of us have been paying — dearly — for greed at the top.

It’s past time to expect those who so arrogantly increase government ridership to pay for the economic disaster they’re creating.

The only other (and better) solution is to re-empower labor unions and let the pendulum between capital and labor reset to a fairer balance. That balance is what once made our country such a rich and powerful economic engine.

Pamela B. Blake

Freeport 

Coverage of massacres feeds shooters’ wish for attention 

Everyone wants to know “why” the latest massacre (the Connecticut school shootings) took place. Everyone is droning on and on about gun control, mental illness, putting armed guards in schools, etc.

The primary cause of these massacres is neither guns nor mental illness. The primary reason is because of the way the media sensationalizes them. Every nutcase with a grudge is given the limelight to go out in a blaze of “glory” (however twisted and sick). The media guarantees their infamy.

Instead of being just another nameless nobody who commits suicide, they can be immortalized as a monster, thus guaranteeing that more nut-jobs will do their best to outdo them. Wake up, folks, the media itself is the primary cause of these tragedies!

Remember, “If it BLEEDS, it LEADS.”

Peter Howe

Standish