A new America
This Fourth of July will be more of a memorial service than a birthday. I remember when the American president stood with western democracies. Now our president calls dictators and autocrats his friends. Americans are now comfortable with the president’s children and family members working in the White House. Americans are now at ease with cruelty as policy. Americans tolerate corruption. Nepotism is now Americanism. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife are just two examples. So pop your fireworks and celebrate who we once were. Remember fondly the America of old. We will not see the likes of her again.
Protect the Arctic refuge
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of our nation’s most majestic public lands, home to the porcupine caribou herd, denning polar bears, musk oxen, wolves and nearly 200 species of migratory birds. Its biological heart, the coastal plain, is no place for oil and gas development.
And yet, the Trump administration — through language snuck into the 2017 tax bill — is barreling forward to allow oil and gas drilling within this ecologically sensitive wilderness refuge. This destructive move must be halted.
Rep. Jared Golden has been a champion of the effort to protect the Arctic refuge. I urge the rest of the Maine congressional delegation to do the same. We must keep drills out of the Arctic refuge.
Belfast business and climate change
Thank you to the BDN for the front-page coverage given to the closure of Belfast’s Marshall Wharf Brewing Co. Roughly a million dollars in sales annually, and several local jobs, all lost to climate change. Neither the mandated federal flood insurance nor Federal Emergency Management Agency could apparently respond in time to help the Carlsons save their business.
David Carlson now must turn his loss into an opportunity, and his story could awaken the public to the urgency of the larger situation. Without changing our habits, climate change will continue, and the federal measures such as flood insurance or emergency management will continue to inadequate and overwhelmed.
Yet if we put a price on carbon, our habits will change. Decades of gas taxes, and cap-and-trade policies have attempted to do this, but they have failed in critical ways. The gas tax hurt the consumer, who often never saw the revenue spent in his or her local district. The cap and trade policies demanded that large-scale polluters pay, but ignored the many other sources of carbon dioxide.
Now the fee and dividend approach could correct the inadequacies of these earlier policies. Energy giants would pay a fee at the point of extraction, and that fee would be distributed to citizens as a dividend. Yes, the price of fuel would increase, but consumers would be armed with the revenue needed to meet that challenge.
It will not be an easy transition away from fossil fuels, but we must begin now if we hope to save other coastal Maine businesses from flooding and erosion.