I am writing in response to the letter to the editor “Sebago Lake users left high and dry” that ran on Jan. 14. Contrary to the implications in the letter, Sappi Fine Paper North America does not manage Sebago Lake levels unilaterally.

Lake levels are established and regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in accordance with the state of Maine and the Sebago Lake Level Management Plan. Sappi must comply with the plan as part of our federal license for the Eel Weir Project (dam).

The Sebago Lake Level Management Plan was established in 1997 and amended in 2000. It is based on a compromise plan developed by the Department of Conservation, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, and by stakeholder groups including the Friends of Sebago Lake, the Sebago Lake Landowners and Users Coalition, the Portland Water District and others, as well as Sappi.

The plan attempts to achieve a balance between managing the lake level for water quality, recreation and shoreline management, while providing adequate water flows in the Presumpscot River to meet standards established under the Clean Water Act. Those standards, together with weather conditions such as rainfall, may require river flows that impact lake levels.

Sappi operates the Eel Weir Project in accordance with its federal license, as well as the Maine DEP-issued water quality certificate.

We recognize that both Sebago Lake and the Presumpscot River are widely used by the community for recreational purposes, and we are committed to ensuring the future of this watershed area, by managing lake levels and river flows that are consistent with federal and state regulations.

We are also building a multimillion-dollar fish passage at Cumberland Mills Dam and creating boat launches and portage areas along the Presumpscot River, as part of our conservation efforts and recreational enhancements.

Donna Cassese, managing director, Westbrook Mill, Sappi Fine Paper North America, Westbrook

I agree with everything Joseph McMahon writes in his letter of Jan. 14 about the lack of any public hearings regarding the lake level for Sebago Lake and the damage that increasingly low levels will have on stakeholders.

One more point: What about the frogs? What about the wildlife that is being devastated by the drastic changes in the water level of Sebago Lake?

I live at the end of Kettle Cove on Sebago Lake and have for the past 25 years. Spring used to bring a deafening chorus of spring peepers, such a wondrous concert that I would often phone relatives and stand outside so they could hear it over the phone! Not this past spring. There was barely a peep.

Then I waited for the usual progression from peepers to American toads with their long musical trills. I think I heard one; hardly any gray tree frogs either, or green frogs, bullfrogs or leopard frogs. Why? The reason surely had to do with the low, almost dry condition of the cove.

This year, the water is so low in the cove that a muskrat lodge is completely exposed and I must assume is no longer of use to any muskrats.

I know that change is inevitable and creates its winners and losers, but I don’t accept that the changes being wrought on this beautiful lake are inevitable or right. All interests should be considered, and the health of the lake itself and its ecology should be of prime importance.

I am in hopes that the bill L.D. 1686, which addresses water quality certification for hydro projects on great ponds, will be at the very least the start of a better and fairer management strategy for Sebago Lake that includes the welfare of the wildlife that depends on its stable waters.

For the frogs! For the frogs!

Alice Darlington, South Casco

Energy coalition trying to impose wind mandate 

The coalition Maine Citizens for Clean Energy is introducing a citizens’ referendum for November’s ballot.

I’m all for “clean energy.” Who isn’t?

I’m also for truth, justice and the American way.

Truth: Creating a mandate for 20 percent “new renewables” will cause the price of electricity to rise for every Maine citizen and every Maine business. Don’t be misled by the initiative’s wording — this is about wind. No other “new renewable” is poised to fulfill such a large mandate in such a short period of time.

Justice: A mandate is a law. If a law causes the common citizen economic, physical or emotional distress in order to give the advantage to a for-profit corporation, is that fair and ethical? Is it just?

The American way: Fairness. Freedom. A free market. America became great and powerful — and American citizens became world leaders — because of these tenets.

When we find our markets manipulated and regulated, when one sector of our economy is endowed with an advantage simply because it had more money and more influence over lawmakers and when our legislators are compelled to pass laws that satisfy their political donors instead of their everyday working constituents — then we discover we have deviated from the well-thought-out course our forefathers laid out for us when designing our Constitution.

This ballot initiative was designed for one purpose — to solidify the position of power that the wind industry has enjoyed since 2008, when it was given preferred status over all other energy sources, even those that are far less expensive and far more reliable.

I encourage Mainers to do independent research into this initiative and study Maine’s wind energy plan. Please consult unbiased sources and make an informed decision when you vote in November. This is extremely important, and the issue deserves our full attention.

Karen Bessey Pease, Lexington Township

Anger over video exceeds response to civilian deaths 

It is just and proper for our U.S. military to condemn the deplorable urination incident (“Officials condemn video, vow full probe,” Jan. 13) that has outraged many around the world.

I don’t understand, however, why so many Americans so easily accept the frequent news of multiple civilian deaths caused by U.S. aerial drone strikes. Bombings of innocent civilians, besides the horrific, grim reality, also do nothing but ignite more hatred toward America and therefore render us less safe.

Paul Cunningham, South Portland