September 23, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Congress Square deal favors developer

(Continued from page 1)

The clock tower at Union Station is razed in 1961. Along with the destruction of the former railroad terminal, the sale of part of Congress Square Plaza may go down in history as one of the city’s “great mistakes,” a reader says.

1961 Gannett Publishing File Photo/Donald Johnson

I, for one, was exposed to Agent Orange, which was stored in the city of Da Nang, where I was stationed.

The Portland Press Herald has done some reports on this killing agent in the past. I say, "Down with these big chemical companies." I hope they lose by going to the Supreme Court.

They do need to be exposed. Wouldn't you like to know what they are putting in our food? Look what they tried to do to the dairy farmers. Oakhurst Dairy beat them, and I hope the organic farmers do, too.

Robert H. Sawyer


Local tar sands opposition based on warming concerns 

In a recent letter ("Tar sands oil isn't the bogeyman," Sept. 4), Elliot Rappaport explained why he isn't worried about tar sands oil flowing through Maine.

While there are many details of his analysis that I might contest, I was most struck by his final comment: "If we are unhappy with the consequences of our demand for energy, we need to find ways to use less, not wage piecemeal fights against each imagined threat to the landscape."

I am indeed unhappy with the consequences of our society's addiction to fossil fuels.

In addition to the devastating effects of tar sands extraction detailed by Mr. Rappaport, our energy use has led to the severe threat to our economy posed by global warming.

Every serious scientist acknowledges that this threat is both real and manmade. We're already feeling its effects: nationally in Midwest droughts that cost U.S. taxpayers $100 billion last year, locally in last winter's superstorm.

It's time to address the problem before we reap the consequences, whether storms flooding Portland, catastrophic impacts on fisheries or just the end of Maine's sledding season.

Whatever the costs of ending our dependence on fossil fuels, it's worth paying them now, rather than suffering the greater costs brought by climate change. Moreover, switching will also bring benefits, including jobs from new, Maine-based fuel and electricity.

So on one level, I agree with Mr. Rappaport. We need to start using less energy. We also need to explore alternative sources, from solar panels on our roofs, to synthetic alternatives to gasoline, to returning to wood as a primary heating fuel.

But long-term, we must wean ourselves off oil, and not start using an energy source as inefficient as tar sands. So while the issue is larger than just the pipeline, this "piecemeal" local fight is one way Maine can and should do its part.

Josh Burson



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