December 4, 2012

Letters to the editor: Casella, pipeline take unfair hits

I have been an employee of Pine Tree Waste/Casella Waste Management for more than a decade. I am getting a bit tired of all the bad press that your paper puts out concerning our company ("Maine company, pipeline make 'Dirty Dozen' polluters list," Nov. 28).

click image to enlarge

Casella Waste Management, parent company of MERC (smokestack seen above), has been unduly targeted by the Press Herald, though its environmental sustainability efforts haven’t been recognized, an employee says.

2012 File Photo/Gregory Rec

What I fail to see in your paper is the great accomplishment Pine Tree Waste/Casella Waste Management has done for New England and the state of Maine when it comes to the sustainability methods we all put into handling the waste and recycle materials we all produce every day.

Did you know that Casella partners with Carbonfund.org as the first ever climate leader project? Did you also know that in 2008, Casella was the Industry Partner of the Year with the Environmental Protection Agency in our industry?

Please look at our commitment to protecting and conserving environmental resources and how it opens up exciting and viable new business opportunities.

By the way, that means jobs. We have been a leader in LEED Green Construction projects throughout our state for construction waste since 2006.

How many communities in Maine have us service them for their recycling and waste needs, and how do we work with municipalities to help them become environmentally sustainable and reduce their budget cost? In my Scarborough division alone, the most recent count was 42 communities.

So the next time Casella is on an activist list, maybe your paper can find how we are trying to find the best way to handle these waste streams before you label us as one of the "Dirty Dozen."

Bill Bennett

Falmouth 

The article "Maine company, pipeline make 'Dirty Dozen' polluters list" on Nov. 28 suggests that oil sands-derived crude is more corrosive than conventional oil.

It is important to note that often-cited allegations that diluted bitumen from Canada's oil sands is more corrosive in pipelines are false. Both scientific research and industrial experience have determined that bitumen-derived crude oil is no more corrosive in transmission pipelines than other crudes.

I refer you to a fact sheet on this subject, Bitumen-Derived Crude and Corrosivity, which is available on Natural Resources Canada's pipeline facts Web page at http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/pipeline/6698.

Patrick Binns

consul general of Canada to New England

Boston 

People who play the lottery also pay an 'invisible tax' 

You "never" gamble, but you're going to buy a lottery ticket now that it's "more valuable"? The trouble is that the ticket's value hasn't changed. Its value is still about half of what it costs. That's because about half the ticket sale money goes into running the ticket-selling business and into the state's piggy bank to fund things we won't vote to pay for with visible taxes.

If you and I have a friendly game of pure chance where each of us occasionally receives some of what both have put in, the most likely probability (provided neither bottoms out and can't play anymore) is that we will end up where we started.

But, if to play, we have to pay someone else to provide us with dice or cards or fantastic machines, both of us would end up poorer by the amount of that cost.

The probability of winning is one thing, but what really matters is what the statisticians call the expectation of winning, which is the probability times the amount at stake.

If you and I each put in $2, with a 50-50 probability of winning, the expectation for each of us is 50 percent of the $4 total, just equal to the $2 each put in. But if half the pool goes elsewhere, our expectation drops to $1 each, and that is the investment value of what each of us bought for $2.

That's how a Powerball or similar lottery ticket actually pays you minus-50 percent interest on your "investment." So, quite truthfully, don't call it an investment, but a tax that you pay happily, instead of grudgingly, because it's invisible.

Actually, it's only invisible if you don't look at it.

Still, it beats giving money to Las Vegas-type 1 percenters via their positive-interest investments in private casino companies.

Richard B. Innes

Gorham 

Acknowledging warming is key to resolving proble

Ninety-seven percent of American scientists say climate change/global warming is happening, yet a recent poll shows the American public is less likely to believe this than five years ago.

The Portland Press Herald published an editorial from a retired teacher (Chris Dilley) who offered the Milankovitch Cycle theory as an explanation for why the Arctic will soon be cooling and the ocean levels will no longer rise (Another View, "Writer wants to count global warming sea level rise twice," Oct. 29).

The problem with this thinking is that the Earth's orbital and axial variations are no longer the controlling factors relative to climate change. Greenhouse gas is causing climate change.

Satellites have been measuring solar radiation coming to Earth since 1978 and report a decline while, in spite of this decline in solar output, global temperature has risen.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research pointed out in 2008 that "global temperatures are rising at historic rates and there remains no link between solar variability and global warming. Greenhouse gas, not the sun, is causing this trend."

The National Academy of Science, an extremely cautious group of top-notch scientists, has reported similar conclusions.

What is perplexing to me is why so many Americans do not believe our scientists when it come to climate change yet readily support them when it involves medicine, technology, etc. Until we admit we have a climate change problem, we will not make significant progress in resolving it.

Jeff Madore

Cumberland 

Webster highlights need to retool election process 

Enough is enough on beating up on Charlie Webster. The situation is still there. The whole election process needs to be overhauled.

I've worked at the polls. Same-day registration is a nightmare. Voting with no ID is a crime.

Charlie may have seen a small number of blacks but only because they stood out. I am sure there were many more white people voting illegally. This has been proven all over the country. Believe it!

Marie C. Brown

Falmouth 

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