February 7, 2013

Letters to the editor: An ill wind off the coast of Maine

The recent decision by the Maine Public Utilities Commission on a floating wind turbine project is bad for the state of Maine and Maine consumers ("Pioneering Maine wind project passes 'biggest hurdle,'" Jan. 24).

Hywind on location
click image to enlarge

The four floating wind turbines that Statoil wants to site off Boothbay Harbor would look similar to this test turbine, now producing power off the coast of Norway. A reader disagrees with the PUC’s decision to approve the terms of Statoil’s proposal.

Photo provided by Trude Refsahl/Statoil

The PUC approved this project at a cost of nearly $200 million, to be paid to a Norwegian company by Maine ratepayers. This offshore wind project in the Gulf of Maine will create only 12 megawatts of power, and it will pass the expense along on the backs of the electricity users of Maine.

There is no guarantee that such a project will be successful, or that Maine people will receive any future return on this investment, and the PUC should not gamble on such a venture with the hard-earned income from its citizens.

If the purpose is to put people to work with good-paying jobs, as is being reported, I don't believe Maine ratepayers should be sending our money to a foreign company. The PUC's continued neglect of the ratepayers will keep Maine as a poor state.

Richard Bernard

Portland

King's opinion of rifle ban based on misunderstanding

I am deeply concerned by recent statements from Angus King in the Press Herald regarding his opposition to a ban on assault weapons ("King hesitant on assault weapons ban," Jan. 18).

His justification was that some of his friends like to hunt with semiautomatic weapons. I can relate to that. I used to hunt deer with a semiautomatic shotgun.

Sen. King fails to understand that the present proposal by Sen. Dianne Feinstein would not alter the hunting habits of Maine sportsmen.

What it would prevent is the ownership of guns meant to kill lots of people over a very short space of time.

Sen. King needs to listen to the testimony in Connecticut on Jan. 30 from the parents of the children slaughtered in Newtown ("In gun debate, search for middle ground becomes stand your ground," Jan. 31).

He also needs to listen to former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who on the same day asked him to be courageous and do the right thing.

Tom Mikulka

Cape Elizabeth

Poem read at inauguration illustrates Mainer's gifts

I think that the people of Bethel have a reason to feel such pride in having their resident Richard Blanco read his magnificent poem at the president's inauguration.

I hoped that as people around the world heard this rich poem full of personal accomplishment and the flaws of all of us, we in Maine would be judged to be a people with open hearts and tolerance that celebrate and encourage brilliance in our residents. He made me so proud to be a first-generation American, from Maine.

I have to confess that this was the very first time that I had heard his poems, but let us learn from Richard Blanco that we should celebrate the gifts that we are given and strive to celebrate the diversity in our ever-changing fabric (yes, even in Maine) toward the enrichment of all of our residents.

Jane Metzler

Yarmouth

Crowd turns out to protect what's special about Maine

I moved to Maine three years ago because, as a bumper sticker once told me, it's "the way life should be." We are immensely lucky to have at our fingertips and faucets one of the most beautiful, pristine and unfiltered sources of water in the entire country.

I joined the 1,500 people gathered in Monument Square on Jan. 26 to rally against the proposed shipment of tar sands oil through Portland's watershed.

Tar sands oil is a thick, peanut butter-like substance, diluted with chemicals, that would require obscene amounts of pressure to even begin its sludgy journey down the 62-year-old pipeline between Portland and Montreal.

If a spill were ever to occur, like we've seen in Michigan's Kalamazoo River in 2010, Maine's waters would be irreversibly devastated.

Despite the bitter cold of winter, cheering alongside 1,500 others to protect our beautiful state reminded me just how special Maine is and how important it is to keep it that way.

Madeline Ray

Portland

Solid information available on transmission of viruses

Instead of attacking Paul Mahn, like commenters on the Portland Press Herald's website did in regard to his letter "Avoid devastating viruses -- don't eat animal products" (Jan. 26), I would like to offer a more balanced response.

Let me make three points:

According to the Centers for Disease Control: "Influenza B viruses circulate widely only among humans. ... While it is unusual for people to get influenza infections directly from animals, sporadic human infections and outbreaks caused by certain avian influenza A viruses have been reported." (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/transmission.htm)

There is no mention of the flu being transmitted by eating infected meat.

A related article by the CDC states, "People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs." (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm)

There are many farms that raise animals to produce "natural meat": i.e., "No antibiotics of any kind. No added growth hormones. Not fed animal by-products. Fed a strict vegetarian diet. Raised humanely on sustainable farms." (http://www. pinelandnaturalmeats.com/) Sounds like a safe source of meat to me.

I would like to see the references that Mr. Mahn used to back up his concerns.

Jim McLaughlin

Scarborough

 

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