CMP spends while others struggle

Families and businesses throughout Maine are struggling to get through these difficult economic times, yet CMP is spending money like there’s no tomorrow to promote its proposed powerline, the so-called “New England Clean Energy Connect.”

I’ve seen countless TV ads, glossy flyers in the mail, digital ads on my phone, and full-page newspaper ads running up to 4 pages. This week, CMP really crossed the line when they started sending me spam emails. What gives?

“What gives,” I guess, is that CMP and their parent company Avangrid stand to make a bundle of change — $2 billion according to the Natural Resources Council of Maine — for a project that, despite its name, is not clean at all.

The project just moves existing hydropower from one market (Canada) to another (Massachusetts), producing no new clean energy. Meanwhile, a 53-mile corridor would be gouged through Maine’s North Woods — the largest unfragmented forest east of the Mississippi.

Mainers recently rejected two billionaires in the presidential primary who tried to advertise their way to a win. This isn’t much different. Let’s not let an avalanche of advertising and misinformation, by a company that stands to make a fortune, fool us into thinking that the Corridor is clean, green or good for Maine. It is not.

Marcia Harrington
Brunswick

What’s in a name?

It is disappointing indeed to read (Times Record, June 17) that a member of MSAD’s District 75 school board prefers (“multiple times”) to name COVID-19 as the “Wuhan virus” and say that “I don’t think it matters. … I could care less about the proper titling of a disease.”

Whether that sort of remark is the product of straightforward ignorance or veiled racism or both — from a school board member, no less — I have no way of knowing.

Please let me briefly apprise the school board member and your readers of three difficulties with his attitude:

1. There is good reason why scientists do not nowadays name diseases after their geographic place of origin, and this is that they usually find it next to impossible to know precisely where any given infection, outbreak or pandemic did in fact emerge.

The scientific term for the current viral pandemic is COVID-19. Although much current scientific opinion is that COVID-19 emerged from the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province located in eastern China, the evidence for this is far from irrefutable. Some recent evidence points to its emergence elsewhere in the city. Other evidence suggests that this novel coronavirus may not have originated in Wuhan at all, or even in China. Wuhan is one of the last links in a lengthy chain of international wildlife trade that includes Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam. The infection of a human by an animal or animal body part (a bat, a pangolin or a palm civet, most likely) could have occurred at any moment at any point in this chain of countries.

2. In the past few years, some scientists have claimed with considerable evidence that the 1918-1920 influenza A pandemic originated at U.S. military camps at Fort Riley and Camp Funston in southwestern Kansas. Yet, no one, thankfully, refers to the 1918-1920 pandemic, which killed roughly 50 million or more people worldwide, as the “American virus.”

3. The majority of animal-to-human viral outbreaks, such as COVID-19, result either from wildlife trade (either legal and illegal), or from industrialized “factory” farming. The largest markets for wildlife and wildlife products are the U.S., the European and China, in that order.

In these difficult times, it would be heartening indeed if we were to reject racialized anti-Chinese slurs and the crazed conspiracy theories of the Trump administration.

Piers Beirne,
Brunswick

Sweet for US Senate

This July, we can choose a smart, forward-thinking candidate to run as the Democratic Senate candidate against Sen. Susan Collins in November.

Betsy Sweet has worked for years on important issues such as the environment, families and working women. She co-founded the Maine Center for Economic Policy and helped create the first Clean Elections System in the country, along with the first Family Leave Medical Act. She served as Commissioner for Women under Governors Brennan and McKernan, and has worked on Maine budgets for years as an advocate for various groups. She is refusing all PAC and “dirty money.”

She strongly supports health care for all, a Green New Deal, and ending Citizens United, which has allowed dirty money to flow in politics for too long.

The pandemic and recent cries for racial justice have made clear our country is in desperate need of confident leadership and change. I’ve heard Sweet speak at candidate forums and town halls, and was struck by her frankness, her intelligence and by the ease with which she tackles any subject in a straightforward and informed way. You can get to know her at two forthcoming forums that will be hosted by Maine Public broadcasting and the Maine Democratic Party.

Please use Ranked Choice to vote for Betsy Sweet as your first choice in the July 14 primary. Also, you may want to request an absentee ballot from your city clerk or town hall.

Dallas Denery,
Bath

 

 

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