When I look out at the ocean, I see the waves rolling in and crashing onto the beach, a cormorant diving under to catch a fish and the occasional seal popping up for air.

Knowing that view could possibly change by allowing oil companies to drill for oil off the East Coast breaks my heart.

The Department of the Interior will make a ruling sometime this year on whether to allow oil companies to conduct seismic air gun testing off the East Coast. That testing is a process where air guns blast compressed air into the ocean.

The sound waves from the blasts travel miles through the ocean and sea floor to detect oil and gas deposits located deep below.

Not only is this the first step in expanded drilling, but it is also an extremely damaging process itself.

The noise of the air gun is 100,000 times louder than a jet airplane and is extremely harmful to marine wildlife.

By the Department of the Interior’s own assessment, this testing could harm up to 138,500 marine mammals.

The thought of seeing whales and dolphins beaching is devastating, as is the thought that it could lead to expanded drilling and oil washing up on our shores.

I grew up spending my summers on the beach and exploring everything about it. The next generation deserves to experience the same wonder and excitement that not just myself but everyone feels at the beach.

Our best option to help preserve our oceans while meeting our energy needs is to switch over to clean renewable energy sources like offshore wind power that will protect our marine mammals and coastal communities.

Hadley Wingate

West Bath

Bad coaches don’t merit good salaries and bonuses

What ails our sports culture in America today? Witness ESPN’s recent exhibition of a Rutgers University basketball coach lambasting his players. This despicable behavior flies in the face of our national disdain for bullying and intimidation.

This loutish thug was summarily fired, after knocking down a salary of $750,000.

This, at a state university funded by New Jersey taxpayers. Other heads rightfully rolled at Rutgers.

Up here at UMaine, a hapless hockey coach (“Fired UMaine coach failed to meet goals,” April 10) is relieved of his duties and gets a $195,000 “buyout” (one year’s salary) plus $5,000 “in lieu of notice.”

Notice of what? That the guy just wasn’t winning anymore? “Coaching with tremendous integrity” don’t mean squat if you ain’t winning.

Apparently, this buyout emanates from “private sources,” and “no funds will be reallocated from the current university budget committed to academic programs, faculty, student or operational needs.” Thank heavens!

I bitterly resent the deplorable antics, preposterous salaries and generous buyouts for unacceptable behavior in sports of all stripes and at all levels. This, while too many Maine youngsters wanting to play baseball will sit this season out because of escalating fees.

That buyout from those chubby private sources would put about 2,785 disadvantaged Maine kids on ballfields this summer, along with their coaches — who willingly and selflessly volunteer their time to nurture character and team spirit, let alone good clean fun.

There’s lots of talk lately about entitlements, sequesters and taxing the well fed, along with defense budgets, foreign aid, gun registration and childhood obesity. We can’t get out of Afghanistan soon enough for me.

But when we get to where we can’t provide the basic funding to enable a deserving youngster an opportunity to participate in our national pastime — then we’re well past the time to re-think our priorities.

Buddy Doyle

Gardiner

Hardworking Mainers deserve health coverage

Too many Mainers are forced to delay the care they need, or go without it, because they cannot afford health insurance.

By accepting federal funds for health care coverage, Maine has an opportunity to cover more people while saving millions of dollars and growing our economy.

Taking advantage of the federal funding available to Maine will stimulate $350 million in economic activity and create more than 3,100 jobs, according to the Maine Center for Economic Policy.

Insuring more hardworking Mainers will reduce health insurance cost-shifts to businesses and give Maine a competitive advantage over states that do not. If we don’t accept federal funds, our taxes will go to other states, and Maine will lose the potential benefit.

My friends and I are in our 20s. We’ve watched our parents and grandparents struggle with the cost of health care.

As young adults, we worry about the future we’re inheriting. Accepting federal funds will save the state the millions of dollars spent treating the uninsured in emergency rooms, reducing our long-term debt.

Providing 69,500 more people with the health care they need is an investment in Maine’s future.

Healthy people are productive; healthy communities are secure and thrive. That’s the kind of place we wanted to live when we grew up. Let’s cover Maine now.

Nicole Grigg

Portland

Ethanol mandate drives up prices of food and gasoline

Ethanol in gas is a good example of bad government policy. The government passed a law to reduce pollution and global warming, for which it is unlikely to help, and aid large farming firms, who already are oversubsidized.

You get the picture.

These are some of the unintended consequences of the government’s interference in free enterprise:

Skyrocketing corn prices burdening beef producers, housewives and other corn users.

Costly damage to gasoline engines.

Increased production costs.

Less efficiency in generating power, causing more air pollution.

No state legislature should regulate the gas formula. That is Congress’ responsibility, and they should get out of the gasoline-alcohol business, prohibit mixing the two and stop wasting the taxpayers’ money on debating it.

Get out!

John Kelley

Raymond