January 2, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Wind power critic overlooks facts

I strongly disagree with the letter

"Wind power blight ruins search for peace in Maine"
click image to enlarge

Wind turbines like this one in Freedom help in “preserving Maine’s beauty while filling its energy needs,” a reader says.

2009 File Photo/John Patriquin

(Dec. 11).

Like its writer, I'm native to Maine. I've lived my entire 16 years here. However, I disagree that wind turbines have a negative effect on Maine. Unlike oil or coal, wind power is a clean, renewable energy source.

The letter expressed concerns that wind turbines disturb the land. Compared to Maine's primary energy sources, wind turbines are much less disruptive. They simply sit, harnessing new energy, without smoke or smog. Oil companies continuously drill in new locations to obtain oil.

The letter claimed that wind turbines put Maine's birds in danger. Estimated bird deaths by wind turbines are 0.01 to 0.02 percent per year; about 7,000 birds. Cats, vehicles and tall buildings are far greater threats to birds. Many conservation groups support wind power, such as Birdlife and the World Wildlife Fund.

Comparing that number to bird deaths caused by oil spills, the Center for Biological Diversity estimated about 82,000 birds were killed in the BP spill of 2010. (Also killed were 6,000 sea turtles, 26,000 dolphins and whales, and innumerable fish and invertebrates. Pollution from the spill will affect Gulf wildlife for decades.)

The letter states that "turbines produce very little useful electricity." My class visited the Beaver Ridge wind farm in Freedom, Maine, while I was a student at King Middle School. The three turbines there produce about 12,500,000 kilowatt-hours of emission-free electricity each year -- enough to power 2,000 homes.

At King, we created our own working wind turbines. The experience made me appreciate wind turbines, so it angers me to hear them called "useless towers." Wind turbines belong in Maine. I know they can provide our state with clean, renewable energy, preserving Maine's beauty while filling its energy needs.

Daisy Braun

Peaks Island

 

Economic education would erode anti-capitalist views

 

Economic illiteracy is destroying our republic and our free-market capitalism, which has given us the greatest good for the greatest number the world has ever known.

We don't teach economics in the public schools, and precious few study economics at the university level. It's required only of those who major in economics. This represents an opportunity for the populist demagogues in the Obama administration.

They use the "rich" as scapegoats to divert attention from their destructive economic policies. They want you to resent and punish success; to demand that the rewards for success be confiscated by government; to believe that the books can be balanced "by soaking the rich." Those who have studied economics know this fraud has been perpetrated by governments throughout history.

History shows that when marginal rates go up, tax collections go down, less money goes into investment and more money goes into tax-avoidance schemes; risk takers buy tax-free government bonds; global capital takes flight, and capital is drawn to enterprises with subsidies, grants and tax credits like wind power. (Remember Solyndra.)

Jobs are created when an entrepreneur identifies a consumer need. There follows a marriage of capital and labor and "voila!" jobs are created. But if there is no capital -- no marriage.

Capital is money available for investment after personal consumption is satisfied. No surplus equals no capital. By all accounts, the late Steve Jobs was not a pleasant guy. But I'm glad he found investors for Apple, which created wealth and jobs for all of us.

The basic question is: Who should control the means of production? Should we give it to the government to waste and misallocate, or leave it with the competitive, creative genius of the American people? Sounds like a "no-brainer" to me. But, then, I majored in economics.

Porter D. Leighton

Falmouth

 

Prohibiting guns in schools won't stop next massacre

 

First, I wish to express my heartache over the recent calamity in Connecticut.

A comment made by Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, about wanting to make possession of a firearm in a school zone a felony, is interesting ("Gun safety advocates ready for action," Dec. 24).

If Mr. Adler believes this difference would have prevented Newtown or will prevent others, I must disagree. For example, consider the many Mainers who took out protection orders, only to be murdered by the person the order was issued against. The law did them a lot of good, and Mr. Adler's position is no different.

Those who advocate for more laws and more control just do not understand that evil does not obey the law.

The belief that any law will stop these tragedies highlights what fools we can be. If you believe a "no guns allowed" sign on the door makes you safer, it does not. It only tells evil it is safe to attack here should they want. There is no one here who would be able to shoot back.

I commend the police in Newtown for arriving as quickly as they did. But, clearly, it was not fast enough. Had several of the teachers and staff (not just one) been armed, the students might have had a better chance of survival. As it was, they had no chance because we refused to give them one. Is some chance better than no chance? I think so, do you?

My fear is there are many others out there now who are plotting how to "get a better score" on their "video game," and I cannot help but wonder when will the next one strike.

Richard Prince

South Portland

 

Lawmakers haven't earned their paychecks and perks

 

I was raised in a blue-collar home in the '50s and '60s. My dad worked in the local paper mill and my mom worked in the local textile mill. Both of them knew that they had to show up to work and accomplish their job each day to get paid for that day.

They instilled in me the fact that you don't get paid just for showing up at work. You actually had to get the job you were assigned done before you'd get the money you earned!

Why, then, doesn't that premise apply to our elected government officials in Washington? They are still getting their paychecks and they still enjoy the perks of their positions just for showing up to work!

I propose that all their paychecks and perks stop immediately, Republicans and Democrats alike. Their next paycheck will be in their hands when they get the job done and not one day before. If they can't do the job, then please resign and make room for someone who can.

I, a retired educator, am disgusted with the elected leaders of this country and their childish attitude of "If I can't get my way, then I'm taking my ball and going home." What a civics lesson for our youth!

Steven Pomelow

Gorham

 

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