Fiberight is right choice

The Municipal Review Committee provides the management overview for its 187 Maine member communities by representing them in dealing with Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. PERC is under contract until March 2018 to accept the trash from these 187 communities. In 2018, PERC loses a significant subsidy as the price for its electricity production reduces to contemporary commercial rates.

After three years of discussions with PERC and concerned over the viability of the PERC operation after 2018, MRC started homework in 2010 seeking alternatives. Ultimately, MRC proposed the construction of a Fiberight technology facility in Hampden. The required cost of the construction of this $60 million factory will be covered by independent investment. This investment assumes the full financial risk for providing a successful Fiberight technical operation.

As a member of one of these 187 communities, your town will soon decide whether or not to support this MRC proposal. With support of a sufficient number of communities, there is sufficient time to construct and bring that facility into successful operation in 2018.

Very recently PERC presented a proposal for continuing its operation after 2018. I have listened to that presentation twice in the last month. In the end, I do not trust PERC.

In contrast, I have observed the MRC meetings for close to two years. I can solidly confirm that the major motivation of these volunteer committee members, without any personal financial incentive, is to benefit the 187 communities they represent.

You will do yourself a service by supporting the MRC Fiberight option when that choice is presented to your town. I strongly recommend you do so.

John E. Meyn


Biomass part of energy solution

Most of the headlines out of Washington, D.C., these days focus on Congress’ inability to forge consensus, but don’t tell that to Sen. Susan Collins who is fighting to ensure Maine’s interests are well represented in the new energy bill.

Collins has fought to ensure that the Energy Policy Modernization Act, under consideration in the Senate, includes much-needed attention for biomass energy. In addition to being environmentally sustainable and scientifically sound, biomass also is a major benefit to Maine’s economy.

To date, many outdated renewable energy policies have failed to distinguish biomass energy’s carbon emissions from fossil fuel emissions. Collins’ amendment, S.Amdt. 3140, would require the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that federal policy relating to forest bioenergy is consistent across the federal government. It also would force Washington to recognize the full benefits of forest biomass for energy, conservation and forest management in Maine and throughout the country.

Placing environmentally sustainable and economically sound biomass policy before politics is a win for Maine families and businesses. There’s a lot of dysfunction in Washington, but clearly Collins is succeeding at delivering results.

James Dozier

Executive director

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions

Washington, D.C.

Women’s basketball leadership

Recently, I went with some of my family to see the University of Maine women’s basketball team play. I was so proud of those young women with Maine on their uniforms. They represent the best of what basketball in Maine represents. They are the beacon for all levels to look to.

I define leadership as, “to act in a manner such that others are enthusiastic in their determination to follow you.” That describes to a tee what Coach Richard Barron is: a leader. While others struggle for years and never get a program that is not only competitive but respected, Barron has done it in a few short years. Folks say that people do not go to see various teams play because there are so few Maine players; half this team is not even from the U.S., and people are still flocking to see them play and love every one of them.

I cannot imagine a young lady that is interested in basketball watching a UMaine game and not just dying to be part of the university’s women’s basketball experience. That is because of the way they play. I call it UConn light. They are not as skilled as the University of Connecticut, but they play with the same level of intensity, and pride, especially on defense.

Congratulations to Barron and his young women. UMaine needs to search to hire more coaches who have the vision and leadership of Barron. The only downside is that I expect in the not too distant future to see him at some place such as Tennessee or some other major program.

Bob Mercer


Release senior housing bond

As an elder law attorney I know that the No. 1 concern and goal of my clients is that they be able to “age in place” and remain safely in their homes and communities. However, for many Maine seniors this is not possible. Older adults across Maine are living in unsafe housing that they can no longer physically or financially maintain and that no longer meets their physical needs. Safe, affordable and available housing for Maine seniors is very much needed. A recent study shows a 9,000 person gap between available, affordable senior housing units and demand, with a three- to five-year waiting list.

Believing that this senior housing shortage is unacceptable, our Legislature, with broad bipartisan support, and 70 percent of Maine voters, approved a $15 million senior housing bond to be used for weatherization, repair and construction of new senior housing. The Maine State Housing Authority stands ready to review proposals and award contracts, but our governor has again refused to give his final approval to this voter-approved bond.

I am writing on behalf of the 9,000 seniors who need help to remain safely at home and in their communities. On their behalf, I ask the governor to put people above politics, especially elderly people above politics, and to please approve the release of the senior housing bond funds.

I realize the governor has “sworn at” and “sworn off” reading newspapers, so I call on his staff and policy advisors to bring this matter to his attention. Carry on with welfare reform, carry on with tax reform, carry on with town hall meetings, but the governor should not get carried away with ignoring the will of 70 percent of Maine voters who approved this senior housing bond. The governor should realize that today it is “they” who are elderly; tomorrow, it is us.

John Nale