Invest early in Maine kids

I agree 100 percent with the recent guest editorial from Jayne Crosby Giles that public investments in Maine kids at an early age are a smart move that save money down the road. The earlier we invest in high- quality care and learning programs for our youngest citizens, the more likely they are to have better individual life outcomes and we are to have safer communities.

Quality early care programs like voluntary home visits for new or soon-to-be parents help give kids — particularly those who are considered at-risk — a healthier and more stable foundation from which to grow. Home visiting helps parents learn how to best nurture their children’s developmental needs during the early years when rapid brain development takes place.

Quality childcare and early learning programs like Head Start and public pre-K help kids develop social, emotional and cognitive skills early on so that they get on a path to be successful learners before they start formal school. Kids who participate in these programs are more likely to do better in school, stay in school, and graduate from high school.

This matters to me for many reasons, but from my law enforcement perspective, these early care and learning programs are particularly important because research shows they can help participating kids make better choices and avoid becoming involved in crime as teens and adults. This makes our communities safer, and saves taxpayer dollars.

Investing in Maine kids early so they become active, early learners increases their opportunities for success. It also helps prevent crime. Therefore, committing the necessary resources to these programs needs to be a top priority.

Jeff Trafton

Waldo County Sheriff

Ocean drilling: deeply dangerous

Mr. Trump’s decision to open up over 90 percent of Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling is totally consistent with every move he’s made that would affect our environment. He will tell us we need both the jobs and the oil and that drilling can be done responsibly. Both he and Interior Secretary Zinke are lying to us, once again. Off our coast, fishing, recreation and tourism could be severely affected, and marine species could pay a devastating price.

Seismic testing is the first step in locating well sites. The frequencies of these air gun blasts are too low for humans to hear but the sound can travel up to two miles, affecting not only marine mammals but fish and fish larvae of commercial species. Whales are known to beach themselves in large numbers following seismic blasting. Laws are in place right now to take every precaution possible to avoid impacts from seismic testing, but Trump’s recent directive demands that the government “rescind or revise a NOAA memo that describes the effects of man-made blasting on marine mammals.” That is just the beginning. Then come the drilling operations themselves.

Aside from environmental impact on the health of the ocean, some places are just too risky to consider. In 2015 Shell Oil dropped its plan to drill for oil in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea because transporting oil to ports in the Pacific Northwest posed so many hazards from the notoriously rough waters off Washington and Oregon. As hurricanes in the Atlantic grow larger, it’s hard to imagine the damage that could be done if the swath of a storm were broad enough to impact oil platforms.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the largest oil spill so far in U.S. history, was caused in large part by human error. Investigations concluded that important safety measures could and should have been taken to ensure that blowout preventers would work to stop explosions of the sort that killed 11 people and created a massive oil slick that burned for months. President Obama's response was to create regulations (that horrible word — regulation!) that not only would tighten controls on drilling platform blowout preventers, but also would certify through third-party inspections that these safety devices would indeed work under extreme conditions. Predictably, Mr. Trump has thrown out these regulations as being too onerous for industry. Yet he says drilling can be done safely and responsibly.

Governors from nine coastal states, including six on the East Coast, have come out strongly against the president’s plan, and more governors are sure to follow. But not Gov. LePage. In 2015 he went on record as saying that drilling in the Gulf of Maine will be good for all of us. Mainers must let him know that his position is totally unacceptable. Even Rep. Poliquin says he opposes the plan.

President Trump’s scorched earth policy won't "make America great again." Let’s make our voices heard in opposition to drilling in the Gulf of Maine.

Beverly Roxby