Thursday, June 20, 2013
Construction of a four-lane toll highway across Maine to get freight from Calais to Coburn Gore doesn't make sense. We are running out of fossil fuel. It is becoming much more costly.
Instead of building an east-west toll road to move freight across Maine, it would make much more environmental and economic sense to use freight trains, since the tracks are already in place, a reader says.
The Associated Press
If there is a need to move a lot of freight between those points, the cost and availability of fuel are major factors. We should plan to use as little energy as possible. Why not use railroads instead?
Trucks carrying freight use three to four times the diesel fuel that trains do. We already have railroad tracks in place to move goods across Maine.
Goods coming into a deepwater port -- Eastport or somewhere in eastern Canada -- will probably be coming in containers that can be loaded on flatcars as easily as onto truck trailers. If the freight is in truck trailers, these trailers can be loaded onto flatcars. This loading is called "piggyback."
The trailers can be unloaded near their final destination and taken the rest of the way by truck on available roads. If in containers, trucks can also deliver them the rest of the way. This will work well for the just-in-time delivery that customers want.
If the rails are in good condition, trains can move just as fast as trucks do. If not, the rails could be upgraded for far less cost than building a new superhighway.
Burning fossil fuels to move goods contributes to global climate change. We need to change to other sources of energy as soon as we can.
Railroads could be easily equipped to use electricity from overhead wires. Electricity could come from wind or solar generating devices instead of from fossil fuel.
Better yet, we should not import goods from overseas. We should make them here, requiring less transport and creating jobs here.
Southern Maine doesn't see full impact of wind farms
Would someone please explain why the state of Maine, where the leading industry by far is tourism and the recreational use of our natural resources, has bought into the notion that out-of-state companies should be allowed to develop industrial wind facilities in some of the most pristine and undeveloped areas of our state?
It is time for the residents of southern Maine to go on a field trip in order to appreciate the degree to which the mountain ridges in eastern, western and northern Maine have been stripped to facilitate the construction of scores of 450-foot (think Prudential Building) towers to produce highly taxpayer-subsidized electricity for sale to out-of-state utilities.
A prime example of this desecration is the proposed Passadumkeag Mountain Project, which involves clearing several miles of the spectacular, undeveloped ridgeline of Passadumkeag Mountain to facilitate the construction of 14 450-foot towers.
The most discouraging aspect of this project is the fact that this mountain, and these towers, overlook the many lakes, as well as the thousands of acres, for which the state recently paid millions of dollars to purchase a conservation easement in order to protect these areas from development.
But for a few initial construction jobs, what benefit accrues to our state by permitting this industrial assault on our wildlands? Wind power is not environmentally sound. It primarily benefits wealthy investors through substantial tax credits, but certainly not the citizens of Maine.
Peter R. Roy
Think tank's CEO offers skewed view of Nemitz
A recent Bill Nemitz column ("Think tank, government proud to buddy up," May 27) questioned the Maine Heritage Policy Center's undue influence on the policies and decisions of Republican Gov. LePage and Republican state legislators.
(Continued on page 2)