April 19, 2013

Letters to the editor: Keep East Coast free of drilling

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.

NORTH SEA
click image to enlarge

Unless we want to see things like this all along our coastlines, we should stop oil companies from seismic air gun testing.

The Associated Press

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.

(Continued on page 2)

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