December 11, 2012

Letters to the Editor: Do real patriots secede, or suck it up?

People petitioning for secession seem not to understand that countless Americans found the George W. Bush presidency toxic.

We managed to live though the first term, gritting our teeth the whole while. We were sickened and appalled during the second term when the policies of the president and his party led to market collapse. Despite all we disagreed with, we didn't stop being committed Americans.

The secessionists are not the only citizens who have ever been deeply unhappy with a political outcome. Can't they find it in themselves to be a bit more patient and bear their trials more calmly? After all, their suffering is hardly unique.

On a practical note: I became expert in turning off the TV instantly if there was a chance that then-President Bush might appear. It helped.

Josephine Diggs


Truth about tar sands oil justifies level of concern 

John Quinn's editorial ("Another View: Pipeline accident was caused by external forces, not tar sands," Nov. 16) is an attempt to reassure Maine people that there is no danger in transporting tar sands oil through the Portland Pipeline.

Quinn states that tar sands oil (transported as diluted bitumen) is no more corrosive and damaging to pipes than conventional crude. The truth is that diluted bitumen contains 15 to 20 times higher acid concentrations, five to 10 times as much sulfur and is 70 times thicker than conventional crude.

Refiners have found tar sands-derived oil to contain significantly higher quantities of abrasive quartz sand particles since the oil is mined from oil-rich sands in Alberta.

Greater temperatures and pressure are required to push this viscous substance through pipelines. This combination of factors can dramatically increase the rate of pipeline deterioration, especially in an aging pipeline like the 62-year-old Portland Pipe Line.

Quinn also claims that external conditions caused the 2010 Kalamazoo oil spill rather than the diluted bitumen that was being transported through the pipeline.

In a National Transportation Safety Board investigative report, however, the probable cause of the pipeline rupture is reported to be "corrosion fatigue cracks." The report also indicates negligence and incompetence on the part of Enbridge in their handling of the oil spill.

The cleanup effort from the Kalamazoo spill is the largest (nearly 1 million gallons) and costliest ($767 million) inland oil spill in U.S. history, and it isn't done yet. Tar sands oil sinks in water, making spills particularly devastating and difficult to clean up.

Mr. Quinn's paycheck is at stake in this fight. What we have at stake is the health of our families, air, water and environment.

Carol Masterson,

South Portland  

Supporter of public radio accepts need for changes 

Change can be difficult, but I am very happy with recent programming changes at Maine Public Radio. The station has to respond to listener input in the aggregate, and it simply can't please everyone all of the time. You win some, you lose some.

I will continue to support the station because I appreciate its effort to change, grow, and improve its services to our community, even when it ruffles some feathers.

Cathy Breen


Republicans determined to go over the 'fiscal cliff' 

I predict Republicans in Congress will throw us over the "fiscal cliff."

Republicans will never vote to raise taxes. So, all they have to do is wait until the "fiscal cliff" raises taxes (and kills our economy) and then they can vote to cut taxes again, and sound like they are fiscal conservatives.

Of course, it is all a lie. They know that the country needs more income (that means taxes), and since the wealthy possess most of the money out there, we will have to raise taxes on them to balance our budget.

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