I write in response to Another View commentator Jerry Tuden’s reference to nuclear power as inexpensive (Sept. 20). Special interests around this energy source would have you believe this, but it is not true.

Since 1983, more than $25 billion in fees and interest has been collected from ratepayers to fund permanent disposal of commercial spent nuclear fuel. Today, there is no disposal and no plan certain for that disposal and the fund has been misused for other federal expenses.

The 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act determined that waste disposal would begin in 1998.

The Department of Energy now states it will be 2017 at the earliest before disposal is planned — and there is no firm plan in place. Aging nuclear reactors continue operating and spent fuel is waiting in 35 states at 72 reactors never intended for long term storage.

Cost estimates for new nuclear plant construction are anywhere from $5 to $9 billion.

American taxpayers witnessed mismanagement of this industry since it was born, bailing it out in the ’70s and ’80s, when the industry abandoned 100 power plant projects. Taxpayers and ratepayers covered most of more than $40 billion lost, and paid more than $200 billion to cover cost overruns for completed plants.

In the 1990s, states restructured the electric industry to reduce regulation and increase competition, and utilities were allowed to charge their ratepayers more than $40 billion for “stranded costs,” which basically is a revenue loss protection for these utilities. When this nation first embraced nuclear power, advocates projected that it would be immensely safe and too cheap to meter. Time has given cause to question its safety, we have no solution for the waste, and nuclear power certainly is not inexpensive so perhaps it is time we stop trying to pretend it is.

Bonnie T. Lewis

A decision by the Maine Bureau of Environmental Protection to grant a third extension to Calais LNG has tarnished its reputation as fair and impartial.

BEP Chair Susan Lessard’s decision giving Calais LNG indefinite time to find a financial backer is evidence that facts don’t matter to her. Calais LNG asked for its first delay saying if no financial backer was found it would pull its application. It didn’t.

Calais LNG now says there is financial interest but refuses to say by whom. How is it that Ms. Lessard chooses to participate in this folly?

Perhaps the answer for this continued farce can be traced to the fact that Ms. Lessard was appointed to Chair the BEP by Governor Baldacci in 2008 despite her having no serious environmental background. Governor Baldacci has made it known he supports the Calais LNG project or for that matter, any LNG project in Washington County. Could this possibly be considered a conflict of interest?

Ms. Lessard’s bio on the BEP website extols her business development experience but contains no mention of her having any environmental background. Yet she leads the Bureau of Environmental Protection.

On the BEP website, Ms. Lessard writes that the BEP exists to: “Provide for credible, fair and responsible public participation in department decisions.”

Is it credible, fair or responsible for Ms. Lessard to grant three extensions to the Calais LNG project despite credible public dissent? Even one of the most astute investment banks in the world, Goldman Sachs, understood the impossibility of the project and chose to cut its loses and abandon the project.

This recent decision puts Ms. Lessard and her judgement into question. Should Ms. Lessard jeopardize the valued reputation of the Bureau of Environmental Protection by tacitly backing a project with no notable financial support? A project with extreme environmental issues and border disputes? A project with questionable administrative integrity?

I sincerely hope Ms. Lessard is leading for the public’s interest and not for special interests. At stake is her reputation and that of the BEP as well.

Brady Ryburn
Fairhaven Deer Island, N.B., Canada 

I really get a kick out of reading letters regarding energy. Seems like a lot of Mainers don’t want LNG, nuclear, wind, hydro, solar, oil, coal, biomass, or what else is there?

When you get to the 21st century, maybe you’ll stop rubbing two sticks together.

Doug Copson

New vernal pool rules will limit landowner’s rights 

Rural Mainers facing unprecedented assault on their land owning rights. Mandatory shoreland zoning and now new regulations protecting vernal pools stripping many rural citizens of their ability to use and enjoy their land. Urban residents of the state enjoy the benefits but feel no pain. Won’t our rural representatives help protect us? Please work to roll back the latest rules being imposed by MDEP. Previous work has resulted in water probably cleaner than at any time in the last 150 years, so why keep pushing? Are they trying to put us off our land?

Anthony Garrity
West Newfield 

Fishery legislation story short on information  

In response to “Bill could replenish fisheries — and jobs,” in the Sept. 19 Telegram: Sadly, this article told us almost nothing about how this “bill” is promising to achieve its aims.

What we learn, at least a couple of times, is how far Maine’s fisheries have fallen in terms of stocks, catches, employment and profits; and that there are serious problems between the disappointing present and future success. Cooperative research “opportunities” involving fishermen and scientists, and paying fishermen to go out an pick up marine trash are about it for policy prescriptions.

Positive as such opportunities sound, we’d be seeing a revolutionary break with past funding habits if there were enough money appropriated to make even a small dent in the income and employment problems, especially given that this is apparently national legislation, not targeted to Maine. There must be something else there to make the legislative effort worthwhile for our Senators and Congress people. If there’s not, then we’re just talking feel-good legislation from a currently non-functioning pair of institutions.

Clifford Russell
professor of economics, emeritus

Readers give editor a taste of his own writing advice 

I have read Richard L. Connor’s opinion in the Sept. 19 Maine Sunday Telegram. In keeping with E.B. White’s advice, I will keep this brief by quoting a former English professor of mine.

This is what he told the class: “Some of you can write, few of you can think.”

I suggest more thought in the future.

Susan Barker
South Portland 

In Editor Richard Connor’s second consecutive front page editorial in the Sept. 19 Sunday Telegram – this one an attempt at explaining what he should not have said in the first one – he said he had “failed (his) writing hero, E.B. White, whose guiding principle, outlined in the classic ‘Elements of Style,’ was: ‘Omit Needless Words.”‘

That excellent writing advice, however, was not E.B. White’s; it was William Strunk’s, the original author of “The Elements of Style,” and White’s English professor at Cornell.

Both editorials may have been clearer and better had Editor Connor followed William Strunk’s advice.

James Douglas Cowie


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