Haste makes waste

In response to City Councilor Mike Hurley's letters in our local newspapers recently, I would like first to offer accurate information on some points he brought up and then to question the legitimacy of the approval process so far.

Mr. Hurley believes that the Nordic Aquafarms "effluent will be cleaned better than the 400,000 daily gallons of sewage Belfast releases into the bay." Mr. Hurley is a Belfast city councilor but apparently he is not aware that all wastewater received at the city's treatment facility is treated through a secondary treatment process before being discharged to the bay.

Typically the secondary process reduces biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids by 95 percent to 99 percent. Is this a standard the proposed Nordic Aquafarms facility will meet?

Mr. Hurley believes that "Belfast is the 14th highest-taxed town in Maine." The website http://mainer.co/maine-property-tax-rates-town, using information published by the state of Maine, contains sortable lists of 2017 and 2010 tax rates in Maine's 489 taxable entities of cities, towns, and plantations. Belfast appears as the 70th highest-taxed town in Maine, not the 14th.

Mr. Hurley believes that "we have the water here to support the operation." Much of Belfast's water comes from the Swanville aquifer under a long-standing agreement. Swanville, along with much of the rest of Maine, is experiencing its third year of drought with dried-up home water wells, and climate change is not finished with us yet. On what data does Mr. Hurley base his belief?

Mr. Hurley believes that "If built out as proposed, Nordic Aquafarms will pay more taxes than the top 100 taxpayers in Belfast combined." What if Nordic Aquafarms is "built out as proposed" but does not succeed in its environmental or financial goals? Do bankrupt companies pay local property taxes?

Mr. Hurley believes that he adheres to the motto "above all, do no harm," and has apparently done no harm (until now) with his many successes in bringing meaningful and pleasurable events to Belfast for people to enjoy in their pursuit of happiness.

However, he and his fellow councilors have done harm by ignoring Ben Franklin's warning that "Haste makes waste." It seems that the old scam still works: "Hurry up and sign here before our time runs out!"

In hastening to meet Nordic Aquafarms' apparent deadline, they have ignored the legally required public hearing concerning a possible zoning change, they have requested a waiver from the Public Utilities Commission concerning the required eight-month waiting period to allow ample public participation and have received the waiver, and they have ignored the legal requirements necessary for changing the Comprehensive Plan.

By their hasty actions, the council wasted the community's belief in the council's good and true efforts to live within the law and do no harm while exploring a means to possible tax relief.

To state, as Mr. Hurley did, that the entire City Council agreed with these actions is not a winning argument. It shows that not a single councilor cared for the rules of the game.

Carol Simon

Swanville

Vote for Dodge

I am supporting Jan Dodge for House District 97 (Belfast, Waldo and Northport) because she is a strong advocate for education and health care for all.

Jan has been a frequent voice in Augusta advocating for improving public education.  Jan is already known in the State House because of her years of experience working on the Maine Education Association Governmental Relations Committee. She can reach across the aisle to pass legislation to benefit the children of Maine.

Working as a school nurse for the past 17 years, I have seen the inequities in health care for our children and families in Maine. Jan supports access to quality health care and believes it is a basic human right. I agree with her.

For these reasons, I will vote for Jan Dodge on Nov. 6.

Janis Hogan, RN

2018-19 Maine School Nurse of the Year

Belfast

A huge asset

As the owner of the Lupine Cottage Craft Co-Op in Belfast, I’m writing with wholehearted support for Jayne Crosby Giles for Maine Senate.

The Lupine Cottage was my dream. Jayne believed in me. When I first started out, I was faced with many obstacles as a small business owner. Jayne took the time to listen and understood my issues and concerns.

Her banking and business experience was invaluable. She went the extra mile and found the resources I needed to succeed. She was always looking ahead and willing to do more to ensure she found me the best answer to my needs.

Jayne continues to visit my shop and make sure everything is going well. She is genuinely concerned about the members of the community and business in Maine.

Her help ensured my success and that gives a chance for success to over 60 individual small business members of the Lupine Cottage. She was a huge asset to me and I know she will be an asset for Waldo County and the state of Maine.

Margaret Masessa, Owner

Lupine Cottage

Montville

Retain 1-mile rule

Maine’s North Woods is the largest undeveloped forest in the Eastern U.S., and it is being threatened by a proposal put forth by the Land Use Planning Commission, which seeks to eliminate the adjacency principle’s one-mile rule.

This rule has served to protect Maine’s forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife habitat from sprawling development for the past 45 years, by requiring any new development in the LUPC’s 10.5 million-acre jurisdiction to be within one road mile of existing, compatible development.

The proposal being presented by the LUPC would allow new development to extend 10 miles from “rural hub communities” and 2 miles from public roads.

According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, “Close to 2 million acres of land could become vulnerable to residential, commercial, and industrial development. We are concerned that this proposal could fragment wildlife habitat, allow sprawling strip development, damage forests, undermine Maine’s outdoor recreation tourism industry, and permanently change the character of the North Woods.”

As a proud lifelong citizen of the state of Maine, I am deeply opposed to any efforts that would jeopardize our legendary North Woods. Eliminating the 1-mile rule would be devastating, not only for the people who love this untarnished wilderness for its beauty and recreational opportunities, but also for the countless plant and animal species that make it their home.

Forests are the lungs of our planet, and provide a wealth of benefits and services that keep us all healthy. The growing human population is taking a huge toll on our environment, as evidenced by extreme habitat loss, water, soil and air pollution, rampant deforestation, alarming rates of species extinction, rapidly escalating climate change and more.

Wild, unadulterated places that are safe from human activity are few and far between, and having such a place in Maine, in our own North Woods, is a gift we should cherish, not one we should seek to mar irreparably in the name of profit.

Our health and well-being are directly dependent upon the health and well-being of our planet. When we harm our forests and wildlife, when we sacrifice our rich (yet rapidly dwindling) biodiversity to irresponsible development, we ultimately harm ourselves.

We need healthier forests, greater biodiversity, and more places that are truly wild and free from human interference. If we take care of our forests, rivers, lakes and streams, they will take care of us.

For the betterment of all Mainers, including our children, grandchildren, untold generations to come, and the countless species who call the North Woods home, we need to preserve this treasure and keep the 1-mile rule in effect. What a shameful and tremendous loss it would be if we shortsightedly sacrificed one of the last great unspoiled wildernesses in this country just to make a buck.

Please consider submitting a comment to Benjamin Godsoe and the Land Use Planning Commission to oppose their efforts: benjamin.godsoe@maine.gov, 287-2619, or Land Use Planning Commission, c/o Benjamin Godsoe, 18 Elkins Lane, 22 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

Rebecca Tripp

Searsport

The kindness of Mainers

I'm writing to let your readers know what a great experience I recently had in Belfast.

I was traveling from Boston to Southwest Harbor last week (with my 85-year-old mother), when I got a message from my husband telling me to check the oil because there was a big leak in our driveway.

I pulled into the Circle K right off Route 3 and discovered that my oil was dripping out really fast. Jim from Prompto Oil Change happened to be there and came over to help me out. He got under the car, and tightened up the drain plug for me. After double-checking that there was still oil in the engine, he then sent me over to his shop to get the drain plug torqued tight and my oil topped off.

They had a bay open and waiting for me, and so I drove right in. The Prompto folks discovered there was no drain plug gasket at all, so replaced the gasket, torqued up the drain plug for me and filled my engine back with oil.

When I tried to pay, they would not take anything. The Prompto folks were so helpful and kind. I was pretty frightened about what would have happened if Jim had not been there to help me out.

My recent experience in Belfast is just another example of the kindness of Mainers. Thank you so much, Jim, and all the folks at Prompto!

Alexandra Andrews

Hudson, Massachusetts

We're happy

Thanks to all participants of our Mayo Street "yard" sale during the last three weekends. All donors, donees and The Republican Journal should be acknowledged for our success in raising $1,000 to be divided between Belfast Soup Kitchen and the Restorative Justice Project. We're happy! (P.S. We met some wonderful people!)

Jack and Mary Lou Voge

Belfast

Golf tournament thank-you

The Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce wants to thank all of the local businesses and organizations that helped us hold our annual Chamber Cup Golf Tournament on Sept. 7. It was a glorious day for weather, but the friendship, fun, food and drink were even better.

Big thanks go out to our major sponsors, Camden Real Estate and The Republican Journal, who made the day possible. We also want to thank Rollie’s, who again provided a delicious lunch for all golfers and our staff. And of course we are in awe of Paul Doody of Camden National Bank, who organizes and runs the contest. He is amazing!

Our hosts at Northport Golf Club did a fabulous job in holding the tournament and then hosting a wonderful Business After Hours for both competitors and non-golfers alike.

Lastly, we want to thank the literally dozens of local businesses who provided prizes and gifts for the day’s festivities. These are greatly appreciated.

It was a special day, and it proved what a special business community we are fortunate to have here in Waldo County.

Steve Ryan

Executive Director

Belfast Area Chamber

Feeling like a pawn

In the furor over the nomination of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, we are forgetting or overlooking important points:

1. The court has become a political body. This was not the original intention. With the retirement of Justice Kennedy, it is now evenly divided between liberals and conservatives. Judges, however, should be moderate and not consider cases through the prism of their political beliefs.

2. Unlike elected officials whom we can "re-elect," we are stuck with Supreme Court Justices for their lifetimes. And during those decades they could probably continue to judge through their political prism.

So the nomination of this one justice becomes of singular importance because there is no surer way of influencing the future course of our country — no problematic messy elections to deal with but instead political control of one branch of our government for an open period of time.

The Republicans understood this principle when they refused to fill the vacancy caused by Scalia's death. With Obama's choice of Merrick Garland, a competent and moderate judge who in the opinion of the Republicans would have been looking through the "wrong prism" for decades to come — moderation.

But now we need a moderate to maintain the integrity and independence of the Supreme Court.

Feeling like a pawn in a giant power struggle,

Anne Dolbashian

Northport

No greater level of irresponsibility

It’s tempting to blame politicians for failing to tackle the toughest issues. But, in the end we, as citizens, are ultimately responsible for safeguarding our grandchildren, and the glorious planet we are blessed to inhabit.

To question sound scientific findings is to deny how thoroughly science has proven itself. Science is the practice of carefully controlled observation, and the rigorous testing of ideas.

If we look straight ahead of us, our eyes are likely to fall upon many things that would not exist without science. Take the eyeglasses that help many of us see the world around us. The lenses were created by turning sand into glass. (How much science was involved in discovering that sand turns into a liquid at 3090°F ?) The plastic frames started out as oil, the metal ones began as mineral ore.

All of these man-made things exist because we used science to study, to observe and to test. I can think of no greater level of irresponsibility than trying to convince citizens that, all of a sudden, we can’t trust science.

When we look at the short list of those in positions of influence who deny climate change, we’ll see that most benefit financially or politically from the fossil fuels that cause the climate change that is reeking havoc right now.

Moving away from fossil fuels is not easy, just like bringing electricity to all corners of our nation, or landing on the moon, or wiping out polio. But, if the extraordinary selfishness of the few manages to keep the rest of us from acting, they must be called out for their crimes against our grandchildren’s and planet’s future. Their actions are, indeed, criminal.

Chris Wright

Belfast

Offensive ads

Does anyone else find the current batch of Republican TV ads offensive? Bruce Poliquin's ads attacking Jared Golden are contemptible.

Mr. Golden has served this country in uniform in a combat zone, as well as in the state Legislature. He is an honorable patriot and the servant of all the people.

Poliquin, on the other hand, never saw an oligarch to whom he didn't want to indenture his soul. Poliquin's ads are funded by a cabal of anonymous out-of-state oligarchs who hope to keep him as their errand-boy in Congress.

If your estate is worth less than $20 million, a vote for Poliquin is a vote against your children's future.

Dr. William Burgess Leavenworth, Ph.D.

Searsmont

Reject blind allegiance

President Trump’s choices are constant reminders that his “pro-life” agenda really isn’t. Every week he announces a new set of environmentally destructive proposals, and this past week he proposed weakening standards on two chemicals that significantly affect environmental health.

One is on mercury, long known to be dangerous to human health, especially during pregnancy. Mercury’s emissions leak from coal-fired power plants and though the existing ruling (enacted under Obama) lowers those emissions by 70 percent-plus, Mr. Trump is so insistent on pushing “clean coal” that he has proposed dropping the requirement that mercury levels even be monitored.

The other chemical, methane, is known to be 25 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Methane is now being emitted from melting Arctic permafrost that is no longer permanent. Trump’s current proposal addresses methane that is emitted by the intentional flaring from natural gas drilling sites (flames visible from outer space).

Trump’s EPA and the Department of the Interior, both of which were once tasked with at least some environmental protection, call the current regulations costly and burdensome. The costs to which they refer are short-term ones, but the long-term costs of dropping these regulations, both for the economy and for our sustainability, are unfathomable.

Ironically, our taxpayers’ money is now being spent in court cases that defend Trump’s scorched Earth agenda.

Smoke from uncontrollable wildfires in the West recently drifted over Maine, one more reminder of our tailpipe status, soon to be made worse by Trump’s lifting of vehicle emission requirements.

It’s absurd to politicize the need for these basic protections, but since Bruce Poliquin has made the environment a political football, we need to respond accordingly. Here’s why.

Rep. Poliquin lists on his website environmental bills he has supported, but his actual overall voting record matches Trump’s agenda by 94 precent and he has earned a mere 17-percent pro-environment voting record, according to the League of Conservation Voters.

The few pro-environment votes he has cast have almost always been when cards are completely stacked against passage so his vote wouldn’t make a difference. Another Republican, Susan Collins, has a voting record over three times stronger.

Poliquin doesn’t have to march in line with this president, but that’s mostly what he’s done, and when constituents have tried to ask him why, Mr. Poliquin is either unavailable or is hiding.

We need to send our congressman a pink slip. He says he’s working on our behalf, but he really isn’t.

Voting for Jared Golden sends a message to this president that his war on the environment is unacceptable and that we reject our congressman’s blind allegiance to Mr. Trump’s actions.

Beverly Roxby

Belfast