Thursday, December 12, 2013
The Keystone XL pipeline project was proposed in 2005 for the purposes of transporting tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
As the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline advances, a reader advises U.S. Sen. Angus King, above, to look at the benefits of the pipeline, including the creation of a estimated 40,000 to 60,000 construction jobs.
2012 AP File Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
Five years later, the energy marketplace is finally growing tired of baseless assertions by environmental groups, and the project seems to be gaining bipartisan support.
Not surprisingly, freshman Sen. Angus King recently voted against the measure when it was included as an amendment to the Senate budget. This stance reflects his long-established relationship with alternative energy interests.
However, the State Department recently commissioned a fourth environmental impact study on the project. All of the earlier ones have shown minimal likelihood of an environmental incident. At this point, what greater assurance of safety can opponents of the plan ask for?
Last fall, Sen. King held himself out as the pragmatic alternative to politicians on the left and right.
I ask him to please consider this project from the objective position that he promised the voters.
It has become exceedingly clear that, should Keystone XL not be built, these oil reserves will be transported to Canada utilizing diesel locomotive -- a process that would vastly increase the level of carbon emissions versus transportation via pipeline.
As well, transport by diesel locomotive is more costly and would therefore result in a greater cost to the end user, negating the purpose of the program -- decreased energy costs.
Along with the saving in energy costs, the project will create an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 construction jobs that would provide a much-needed boost to that industry as we move out of the recession.
I appreciate Sen. King's commitment to preserving our environment, but with regard to Keystone XL, he needs to look past the rhetoric from environmental groups and make a pragmatic decision that will best serve Maine and the United States.
Article overstated flaws of online school program
Colin Woodard's recent article ("Flaws found at online education provider wooing Maine," April 25) left out important facts that put in context a probe in Florida of the online learning company K12 Inc.
The article focused on a draft report from the Florida Department of Education's Inspector General that found a small number of instances where records could not affirm the subject matter certification for some K12 teachers in Florida.
However, it is not a violation of Florida law per se to have teachers teaching courses outside their subject certification.
The Florida Department of Education documents more than 8,700 teachers in schools who are teaching courses out of their subject area.
In fact, the very district that filed the complaint against K12 admitted having some 100 teachers teaching courses outside their certification fields.
K12 is a respected provider of digital learning programs to thousands of U.S. school districts. We proudly employ and serve thousands of teachers nationwide.
K12 takes compliance seriously and, in this case, we quickly fixed and improved our internal processes.
Importantly, the Florida Inspector General reported there was no evidence to support the allegation -- made by a single school district in Florida and repeated in the media -- that K12 intentionally avoided teacher certification laws. K12's instructional model in Florida is fully compliant with state requirements.
senior vice president for public affairs, K12 Inc.
Bringing back Bean jobs best safety pledge of all
A front-page article in the May 4 paper ("After tragedy, L.L. Bean to take closer look at overseas factories") tells us that L.L. Bean will increase its monitoring of their overseas garment manufacturing factories after the tragedy at Bangladesh.
That sounds like a good idea, but why not take a better and more important step and bring those valuable jobs back to these shores where they belong?
This would not be a simple task, but L.L. Bean, with its great success, profits and resources, could take this concept, develop it little by little, and make it work.
In the meantime we often enjoy a moment of pride when we note the L.L. Bean logo on the jackets of weather and news people reporting on TV. But such a letdown when we realize it's just a name -- the products are not manufactured here!
Bring those jobs back. Let's have something to really be proud of!
Portland police chief says facts support pre-K
In response to the April 29 Associated Press article "Per-student pre-K spending lowest in decade," I would never claim to be an expert on education, but my experiences in law enforcement and as a member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids have taught me that high-quality pre-K is a win-win.
Youngsters who take part are better prepared for kindergarten, more likely to succeed throughout school and, most important to me, much less likely to get caught up in criminal activity.
These views are backed by respected studies, including research on Michigan's HighScope Perry Preschool Program, which found that 40 years later, children left out of the program were 50 percent more likely to be arrested for violent crimes.
Research on participants in the Chicago Child-Parent Centers program also showed that children left out were 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime by age 18.
Recently released results from New Jersey confirm that high-quality pre-K programs can produce strong results when implemented statewide.
We also know from the research that a child who drops out of school, uses drugs and becomes a career criminal costs society, on average, $2.5 million.
Support for quality pre-K from both Republican and Democratic policymakers in many states -- including Mississippi, New Mexico, Michigan and Pennsylvania -- demonstrates this is a nonpartisan issue.
Fortunately, the Obama administration has proposed a state-federal partnership that will provide federal funds that states need to create, strengthen and expand their own programs.
Maine should welcome these resources to help kids today and to lower crime tomorrow.
chief of police