Clean water under threat

As a young, lifelong Mainer, I want to stay here and make a career in the outdoor industry, in a state where making a career isn’t always easy. The outdoor economy in Maine thrives because we’re known for having a pristine environment and clean water. But now, with the proposed repeal of the 2015 clean water rule, our clean water is threatened.

The clean water rule sets clearer definitions of the small streams and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act, which was spearheaded by our own Sen. Ed Muskie in the 1970s. When I was in college, I interned for a city planner in Maine and I remember how trivial the definitions of streams, tributaries and their required protections seemed to be. But now, I see those definitions and protections as more critical than ever. We need to protect our smallest waterways, as those feed into the larger rivers and lakes for which Maine is known. All of these provide economic benefit through fisheries, the outdoor industry and property tax base for many of our small towns with lakefront camps.

The clean water rule repeal is likely to come up for a vote again soon. Rep. Bruce Poliquin has supported the repeal, and Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King have an important role to play, too. I encourage Mainers to contact their offices to express support for the clean water rule, which protects Maine’s waters for a strong outdoor economy, so people such as me are able to make a living in our state.

Jeremy Vroom


Foreign aid a strategic investment

Seven hundred and forty six million people worldwide live in extreme poverty, on less than $1.90 a day, and nearly 1 billion people suffer from hunger. About 17,000 children under the age of 5 die from preventable diseases every single day.

Increasing foreign aid can drastically reduce global poverty and save millions of lives. It is a humanitarian imperative. It is also in the United States’ strategic and economic interests.

Many government and military officials have asserted how vital foreign aid is to national security. It can weaken the appeal of terrorist groups, foster international peace and strengthen the U.S. economy. By promoting the development of foreign economies, foreign aid creates new markets and consumers and creates jobs here at home.

Many Americans believe that the U.S. spends 20 percent of its budget on foreign aid, and believe this should be reduced to 10 percent. In reality, less than 1 percent of the U.S. budget is spent on foreign aid.

Increasing foreign aid would drastically reduce global poverty and greatly benefit the United States and the world as a whole. Organizations like the Borgen Project, a nonprofit organization working nationwide to combat global poverty, are fighting to do this. But they need your help.

Contact our leaders, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Rep. Bruce Poliquin, to support the international affairs budget and increase funding to the poor. Every call, email and letter our members of Congress receive can make a difference. Each of us has the ability to make the world a better place.

Laura Turner


Salmon farm concerns

I have lived and worked in Belfast for 28 years. My husband and I have a son born and raised here. I love Belfast. My mind goes to the tradition enjoyed by my family of the New Year’s Eve parade and bonfire, people of Belfast marching together. The current divisiveness hurts my heart.

The jaw-dropping vitriol expressed toward residents concerned about the salmon farm was a red flag to me. It indicated an already “done deal,” and that calling opponents or just people asking questions a “mob” was an effort to choke off further dialogue by intimidation. Maybe it was a deal to help Belfast, in the council’s minds, but it was not a decision of consensus, and it was not a dialogue between those who expressed concern and those who granted no time for valid discussion.

I feel the council has been duped out of water rights, perhaps unknowingly, something we should have seen coming, and were too trustful to monitor.

I see no effort to control the amount of water the salmon farm can have when limits to the water have been reached, and people’s wells start to go dry. Protection is removed from the conversation.

I do not want valuable natural resources — the only true wealth of our area — to be exploited for corporate greed. Capitalism at its very worse.

I want to see that the people of Belfast, marching together in a parade, are protected. I want our resources protected. Water is our wealth, water is life.

Eileen Wolper


Professional certification important

The Maine Interior Design Association is disappointed that Matthew Gagnon did not take the time to properly research his recent column in which he decries the licensing of our profession. An easy place to start is on our website ( where anyone can learn what the title Maine Certified Interior Designer means.

In 1993, Maine passed a title act that regulates the use of the title Maine Certified Interior Designer. Title acts specify who may use a professional title. This does not restrict anyone from calling him or herself an interior designer or decorator. It would prevent anyone who has not met the requirements (defined by education, experience and an examination) from using the professional title. Other states have passed practice acts, which require individuals to become licensed by the state.

Contrary to what Gagnon states, the job of an interior designer most certainly does impact the health, safety and welfare of the public. Codes, regulations and acts protect the public, and knowledge and implementation of these codes is a critical part of the job of a professional interior designer. The association will continue to advocate legislatively for Maine’s interior design professionals. We understand and respect the importance of the education and expertise our professionals bring to the field of design.

Jill Albers


Board of directors

Maine Interior Design Association