November 18, 2013

Letters to the editor: Limits needed to fight climate change

Pollution standards for new power plants should win support.

The anniversary of Hurricane Sandy has brought a variety of things to mind, not least of which is the devastation I witnessed firsthand in Vermont following the previous year’s storm, Hurricane Irene. My understanding is that both storms could have been caused and certainly were exacerbated by climate change.

Flooding on Portland’s waterfront caused by a high tide in 2011 could become worse, a letter writer says, if actions such as new power plant pollution limits aren’t taken.

Staff file photo

However, even more than superstorms like Sandy, I am most concerned by sea level rise, caused by melting glaciers in the far north, because of the impact it will have here in Portland.

I work at Standard Baking Co. on Commercial Street, a longstanding business known nationally for its artisan breads and pastries. If even the most conservative estimates come to fruition, the bakery will be one of the first businesses to suffer, and indeed sink. Water would fill the ovens, the locker room we share with Fore Street restaurant, the walk-in coolers. In short, there would be nothing left, at least not at high tide. Along with the rest of Commercial Street, it would be nothing but a memory.

This September, as a part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the EPA proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants (shockingly, not something that previously existed). I urge all representatives and citizens to support this measure, and endeavor to make it as strict as possible. Depending in part on our carbon emissions, we will, at the very least, see heightened storm surges within the next 30 years, within my lifetime.

Winston Lumpkins IV

Portland

Hardworking Maine people need health care funds

As most Mainers know, this year Maine missed the critical opportunity to accept millions of dollars in federal funds to expand affordable health care in our state. Because Maine declined these federal funds during the last legislative session, tens of thousands of vulnerable, lower-income Mainers, many of whom are ages 50 to 64, will not have access to subsidized coverage through the health exchanges.

These are hardworking Mainers. Some have lost their jobs. Others are in low-paying jobs that do not provide health insurance coverage. Leaving people uninsured without access to primary and preventive care can jeopardize even the most careful preparation for health and financial security in later life.

We know of too many people in our state whose nest eggs have eroded because of their health care costs. Accepting these federal dollars in 2014 will help put an end to this for so many of our friends and family who are grappling with their living expenses and putting their own health care needs on hold.

On behalf of our 230,000 AARP members and their families, we urge our elected leaders to do the right thing in 2014 and expand health care coverage for all hardworking Mainers.

Rich Livingston

volunteer state president, AARP MaineAuburn

Democrats in Legislature follow rule if it helps them

Maine Democrats speak out of both sides of their mouths!

They used Rule 217 in order to stop Rep. Ken Fredette’s bill requiring welfare recipients to have first applied for three jobs before being eligible for welfare. (The rule prevents the same bill from being introduced twice during the same two-year legislative term.)

At the same time, they totally ignored Rule 217 when trying to push their failed MaineCare expansion welfare bill from last session.

Shame, shame, pants on fire.

Howard Farr

South Portland

Foe of health care law seems to have missed some basics

Howard Cutler states in a letter, “I am a tea party member” and also “a regular American” (“Tea party remains a flashpoint,” Oct. 21). He then goes on to spew some strikingly un-American sentiments.

For example, he suggests that all the trouble in the government started when the Obama administration “forced upon our nation the Affordable Care Act.”

In fact, this act became a law, which was voted upon and approved by the Congress of the United States and then reviewed and approved by the Supreme Court.

That’s how we do things in this country. We have a debate, we have a vote and whichever side gets the most votes wins. A review by the Supreme Court gives it further approval.

Mr. Cutler may not care for the outcome of a particular piece of legislation, nor, sometimes, do I, but in a democracy we have to accept the outcome of the legislative process. I’m sorry he’s as upset as he is. Perhaps an elementary lesson in civics would help. He probably had a course in civics in junior high school.

He concludes his letter by saying, “We are your neighbors who just happen to support the United States Constitution.”

If he has a copy of that document, I suggest he read it.

Edward L. White

Westbrook

American use of drones saves military, civilian lives

Regarding a recent letter on drones (“Readers oppose intervention in Syria,” Sept. 5), please understand that drones save lives and most importantly, they save American lives.

The normal method of using planes to attack an enemy position or person is to send a plane with pilot and crew, usually accompanied by other planes and crews to protect it. Drones are unmanned, which means they have no pilot or crew aboard, so there is no potential loss of life to the crew on the mission.

There is also very little, if any, collateral damage to innocent bystanders. The drones currently being reported are relatively small, limiting the size of weaponry it can handle. This, in turn, limits the amount of damage that can be inflicted on civilians.

Yes, I think it is only a matter of time before the drones can become much larger, but they will always take fewer lives and inflict less civilian damage than the equivalent amount of firepower or bomb power that we are used to.

Remember, drones save lives – and especially that they are saving American lives.

Al Burk

Bridgton

 

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