A few media observations

Over the weekend, I listened to several news outlets and observed a few things.

First, the chief rebuke against President Donald Trump’s desire to fund a border wall was that he promised to make Mexico pay for it. My reaction was, “wow, someone actually believes that politicians should fulfill their campaign promises.”

It wasn’t that long ago that we were hearing things like, “if you like the plan you have, you can keep it,” and “if you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too,” among many others.

What’s changed? Are we now going to hold every politician to making good, no matter what, on their campaign promises? Or is this just a passing fad?

Second, some sources were hyperventilating over the possibility that the Trump administration was creating a short-list of potential nominees in case something dire happened to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The thought that any administration would ever be prepared should something like the death of a Supreme Court justice occur suddenly and with little warning.

Maybe those concerned should look back a little over 13 years, to Sept. 3, 2005, when then Chief Justice William Rehnquist suddenly passed away. At the time, John Roberts had been nominated to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Realizing time was short, President George W. Bush moved Roberts to replace the chief justice, there being no one else immediately available of nomination.

It seems that making initial plans can help forestall an emergency rather than leave a gaping hole. Too bad more people don’t have backup plans for when the inevitable occurs.

William Chapman

Rockport

New Year’s Wish for NECEC

It is 2019 and the Maine Public Utilities Commission is still discussing details presented by the proponents and opponents of this powerline designed to move electricity from Canada to Massachusetts via a combination of a new 53-mile powerline corridor and upgrade of the remaining 92 miles through Maine.

Vernal pools, view sheds, jobs and a bucket of details have been identified and debated in deliberations spanning countless hours and costing serious money; many are public funds.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts started this legal exercise with a request for proposals (RFP) to fill a government desire to be using a certain percentage clean power by a particular date. This is the point of the RFP is to deliver clean power to the commonwealth. The problem is, clean has not been clearly defined! Cleaner than previous generation? Cleanest possible? Shouldn’t proof of the RFP pillar be paramount before we take all these, as yet, unnecessary steps? Because if it is not clean, there is no project. If it meets certifiable clean standards, we can move the project ahead in a manner best for Maine due to proven global benefit. However, if it is a high stakes scheme for profit and control, let us call it out for what it is!

So Central Maine Power, Avangrid, Iberdrola, what is next? Please determine if power source, construction, and any possible unintended consequences, make the New England Clean Energy Connect the sparkling electricity the commonwealth envisioned before spending more Maine public money on details. Our busy regulators will then be working to permit a real project that is globally positive.

Bob Haynes

Skowhegan

Enough skimping on shrimping

I read the BDN article “ Regulators Block Maine Shrimp Harvesting for 3 More Years,” published on Nov. 16, 2018. I believe that the current restrictions on Maine shrimp fisheries should be removed. It is negatively affecting Maine’s economy and heritage. Maine has an economy that is extremely dependent on fishing, and shrimp are a large aspect of that industry. With these restrictions, hundreds of people will lose their livelihoods, and our economy will continue to suffer.

With these restrictions, research that would potentially help bring populations back to normal cannot be conducted. The solution being proposed is to simply close the industry completely for three years and hope for the best. I do not feel this is an effective solution. As Maine’s marine resources commissioner stated in the article: “the most aggressive approach” — a moratorium — “has not worked.”

I believe that opening up shrimp fishing for a single season is necessary to keep these businesses afloat, and while the population of shrimp seems to have decreased, it also “has a low likelihood of ever recovering,” according to the article. I would argue that the amount of shrimp being caught has less to do with the population numbers, and more about the experience level of the fishermen. As the article stated, “there can be all kinds of shrimp, but if your gear’s not right or you don’t know what you’re doing, you won’t catch shrimp.” Therefore, the state of Maine needs to re-approach the issue of closing the shrimp fisheries when they are so important to our state’s welfare.

Sam Blaisdell

York