Letters, Dec. 24

Dec 24, 2020

Focus on the real danger

To President Donald J. Trump and his many supporters:

Stop now, I beg you, and listen.

Ask yourself if it is plausible that Democrats, with help from Republicans in all 50 states, have actually pulled off a perfect, airtight bipartisan conspiracy involving every governor, the courts, including the SCOTUS, with three newly minted Trump appointees.

It’s not plausible and it isn’t true. There is no way. And deep inside you know it, too.

Another thing: Mr. Trump would be preparing for a second term in office if not for his laissez-faire indifference to the threat of coronavirus. But it’s here now. It is not a hoax and for most of another year we will have to keep fighting it, even under the very best possible conditions.

And we are not even remotely close to having the best possible set of conditions. Very soon more people will die each day than died on 9/11/2001. Let that sink in. Every 24 hours, all over the country, a tragedy on the magnitude of 9/11 is unfolding. Every single day, Mr. President, thousands die, many more are sickened and hospitalized.

Instead of doing everything possible to fight the clear and present danger which is savaging the economy and killing thousands of fathers, mothers and kids a day, what are you doing? You are engaged in shocking, misguided attack on your very own country and attempting to overturn a vote you lost which has been certified according to law in all 50 states. And every day you continue to fight you further distract from and ignore the true danger: The wolf at our door right now.

It is obscene on a scale unlike anything I have ever witnessed. Stop this charade, step aside, shut up and get to work solving the real problem now!

Please let go of this madness and help us. Together we can still save thousands of lives. Thousands! It is literally the chance of a lifetime. Give it the energy you gave to campaigning for office. Only afterward can we get back to the lives we miss so desperately.

Mask up, wash your hands often, stay home if you can, social distance if you can’t, get vaccinated as soon as possible and help the old, the hungry, the kids and the needy who are in real trouble right now all over America. It’s Christmas, for Lord’s sake.

Emory Niles

Belfast

Upstream takes on Nordic, BEP

Upstream Watch has filed an appeal this week to the Maine Bureau of Environmental Protection regarding Nordic Aquafarms' permit applications. The appeal concludes that the BEP committed an error of law, abused its discretion and/or made findings unsupported by record evidence, including extensive details in violation of the Maine law.

Part of the appeal focuses on the nitrogen levels of Nordic’s discharge. On May 15, 2020, the staff reviewing the Maine Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit sent a memo revealing DEP’s calculation that Nordic’s proposed nitrogen discharge was almost twice the amount allowed and recommended denial of the permit. Instead, Nordic was allowed by the DEP to change a number so that the calculations would make it seem like Nordic’s nitrogen discharge would not degrade water quality. The change was made without notice, explanation, or cross-examination.

Upstream also states that the BEP committed an error of law when it found Nordic’s applications to be complete. Nordic failed or refused to submit the information mandated in the MPDES, including providing the contents and concentration levels of its proposed discharge. Nordic also failed to perform competent studies to determine the currents, winds, tides and thermal impacts of Penobscot Bay at different depths.

Nordic has not studied the Goose River aquifer, Belfast’s only source of water, to demonstrate that the supply of water from that source is adequate. Nordic has not supplied the BEP or the DEP (both of which requested it) existing water availability data regarding the aquifer. The report provided neglected to reveal that in the middle of the cluster of wells is an old, closed landfill and an active solid waste transfer station. No water quality testing has been done to ascertain if the Belfast wells are contaminated by landfill leachate.

Nordic has failed to supply the requirements proving they have the financial capacity, including cost estimates, cash equity commitment, a formal financial plan in the normally accepted form, a Commitment Letter or Letter of Intent to Fund, or a time schedule for construction.

The appeal also includes the BEP not asking Nordic to meet multiple requirements written in the law, but instead allowing after-the-fact permit conditions. One example is a dye test in order to determine the ability of the bay to dissipate or absorb the Nordic pollutants. By converting application requirements into after-the-fact permit conditions, the BEP is acknowledging that Nordic’s application is incomplete. Awarding a permit that is incomplete and is not supported by substantial evidence is contrary to the law.

The ongoing BEP appeals process is likely not to be addressed by the court until the summer of 2021.

Amy Grant, president

Upstream Watch

Belfast

Return

Passagassawakeag River, Belfast

Where the Passy meets the Bay, we

come together, gather like ducks

at Solstice: Barrow’s Goldeneyes

down from Hudson’s Bay, here

once again in sight of the little bridge,

bobbing and drifting, each small bird

complete but always swimming near

to one another. We, too, drift

in this bright stream, floating

a life, returning to light.

Linda Buckmaster

Editor's note: Linda Buckmaster was Belfast's poet laureate, 2009-2011.

Mask mandate illegal

Through the past couple of months I've heard an argument comparing "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" signs with the current mask mandate. The fact is, there are actually no state or federal laws requiring the wearing of shoes inside publicly accessible businesses. Similarly, there is no law saying that fancy restaurants must require fancy pants. There are agreements that if a sign is posted, businesses are relieved from the liability of a barefoot customer stepping on a stray piece of glass or other injury.

The shirt and shoe provisions giving businesses protections by posting signs were done under the authority of state and federal legislatures. They were not pushed through by executive order during a time of declared national emergency, with an unlawful lack of a period of public comment or input. Said period could not have consisted of anything other than implied (and manufactured) consent by the voluntary compliance of citizens. From President Trump's declaration of emergency Friday, March 13, I wore a mask in every public place I went, in case the media hype was true.

Once mask mandates were issued, I stopped. In other words, when I was free to choose, I chose the mask. Snitching on businesses and neighbors has also become prevalent, and it disgusts me. I feel like there might be some historical precedent for all of these things, but I just can't seem to remember it. I do not accept the authority of the government to have any more say in what I wear than my neighbor does.

Government is not a "them" that decides what rights we have. It is us, and we are responsible for everything that is happening in front of our eyes. Businesses are closing because we stopped shopping. Masks are required because people are complying and ratting each other out. The only thing that I am afraid of is the idea that my six children will be denied the practice of their religion, or will have to choose between eating and violating their consciences.

Maybe people who are afraid of a cold, which statistically has a zero-percent chance of killing people below the average age of death, should choose to use curbside pickup. That way, businesses and the public are allowed to choose without a chilling effect.

Nathan McCann

Freedom

EDITED TO THIS POINT


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