Healthy wind power

In a time when good news is at a premium, it was refreshing to read about University of Maine researcher Dr. Dagher’ s recent testimony before Congress on wind power potential off our coast. While his vision of massive wind farms 20 miles off our coast may seem unrealistic to some, it is just the kind of thinking we need to put into action.

Clean renewable energy is also healthy energy and will provide sustainable power for generations. It will be good for our pocketbooks and also good for our lungs. The sooner we move aggressively away from fossil fuel the better. Investing in offshore oil drilling is backward thinking. It is both short-sighted and dangerous. Every day we delay wind power development to debate this flawed proposal is another day of dependence on foreign oil.

Edward F. Miller
Executive Director, American Lung Association of Maine

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Manage fishing areas

I would like to thank the BDN for its July 21 editorial advocating for groundfish management changes (“Fish math doesn’ t add up”).

The editorial pointed out that a combination of catch limits and area management may “reward fishermen for restricting their catches to allow populations to grow.” Catch limits are now required by law and are scheduled to be in place in 2010. Area management is still only a proposal.

Area management would involve fishermen in making fishery management decisions — such as gear type, and when and where to fish — for a local area. Area management has the support of many fishermen in Maine.

There is very good reason to believe groundfish stocks will not rebound on Maine’ s coastal shelf if federal managers rely on catch limits alone. Catch limits are a good thing, but they don’ t address the problem of too much fishing in too small an area. Area management is also needed.

Penobscot East Resource Center is offering a new pilot area management plan involving a group of fishermen who have agreed to stay within catch limits and tying this group to a defined area in eastern Maine. This way, area ground fishermen will support local stewardship just as lobster fishermen use the V-notch and size restrictions to steward that fishery.

The New England Fishery Management Council should focus on rebuilding groundfish stocks across their entire range, including Maine’ s coastal shelf. Area management combined with catch limits is the best way to bring the fish back in this part of the range where fish are severely depleted.

Aaron Dority
Penobscot East Resource Center

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Get outside and play

Yesterday a woman who lives in a housing development said that there had to be 100 children in the neighborhood. “See that house?” she said as she pointed. “There are eight children in that house. And it is always like this.” No children to be seen or heard anywhere.

When asked why, the woman said, “They are all couch potatoes getting fat.” My guess is she is right. Kids are watching TV sitting in front of a computer, likely eating garbage. All bad for children.

This is summer. Glorious summer in beautiful Maine. Whatever happened to children playing and yes, working out of doors: riding bikes, walking the dog, jumping rope, playing ball, exploring and discovering, building forts, helping out in the yard weeding and watering the garden, cutting the grass and so on?

Children need fresh air, sunshine, exercise, flowers, friends and fun (and eating fresh vegetables straight from the garden). Children need to learn to be part of a family taking responsibility and helping to keep their environment clean and orderly. Please, parents, get those kids out there.

Koko Preston

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Animals serve research

Regarding the AP article in the July 8 BDN, “Animal rights protests target scientists”: These protesters are terrorists and criminals and should be punished to the full extent of the law. Perhaps new laws need to be passed to deal with these agents of destruction.

Animals are necessary for research unless you want to experiment on people like the Nazis did. There are rigid laws and inspections that govern the use, care and health of laboratory animals. Cage size, food, humane treatment and care are all enforced.

Many in vitro systems have been developed and tested, but are not satisfactory. Metabolism of new therapeutic agents can only be studied in animals so one knows what the metabolists do, whether they are dangerous or destroy the new agents.

Most medical research is performed using mice, rats, guinea pigs, dogs, rabbits and non-human primates, all which have characteristics necessary for discovery and development of new therapeutic agents and understanding disease processes.

If these protesters were successful, they would inhibit all advances in medical science and therapy. Do they wish to inhibit research into Alzheimer’ s, cancer, autoimmune diseases, metabolic diseases, neurological diseases and spinal cord injury?

I have been involved in biomedical research for over 50 years, both as a practitioner and consultant for pharmaceutical and biotech firms, venture capitalists, NIH and foreign governments.

Irving S. Johnson

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Warden’ s two options

I’ ve been reading with great interest the letters written concerning Warden Jim Fahey’ s decision to use lethal force on the black bear last month.

In regards to the letter from Bob Brooks (former zookeeper), he had the luxury of knowing what animals he would be dealing with every day and their approximate weights. It was his job to have the correct dosage tranquilizer available when he needed it.

Warden Fahey did not have that luxury. That option was not available to him. His only two options were to let the public be in danger or dispatch the animal. No one’ s saying the bear was at fault. It was just a wild animal in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Brooks also mentioned that the order to shoot was given by a supervisor who was not on the scene. Warden Fahey did what was policy — ask permission to do what he knew was the right thing, to protect the public.

Can you imagine the public outcry if Warden Fahey had “just stood by” while a person or pet was being mauled by the bear? He would have been crucified.

David W. Mott