Protect the Arctic Refuge

If Congress does not protect the Arctic Refuge from drilling, the consequences will be disastrous for the Gwich’in Native Americans and the wildlife who call the area home. Drilling is a problem because of the noise pollution heavy ship traffic will cause, and drilling will also cause huge interferences to the habitats of caribou. Caribou are an essential food source to the Gwich’in. If there is not a large enough caribou population, the Gwich’ins way of life will be altered in unthinkable ways.

Another major consequence of drilling is its impact on climate change. Here in Maine, our annual average temperature has gone up by 3 degrees fahrenheit since 1895, and any changes in the Arctic are felt globally. Rising temperatures and ice melt will be sped up by drilling and thinner ice sheets. Arctic caribou, moose, polar bears, seals, whales, and orcas can not live in a world with thin ice and oil ships.

It is up to us to put pressure on our Senators King and Collins to pass legislation protecting the refuge. We should not be satisfied with a government that puts the priorities of oil and gas companies over the lives of Native Americans and the species that live in the Arctic.

Grace Mullen

ICE is needed to enforce the law

People go out and protest against agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and act like they speak for all Mainers, and that is far from true! ICE is one of many agencies that are needed in our country and state because without them there would be lawlessness! Illegal Immigrants have no right to illegally enter our country, and why should Mainers or the rest of the citizens in the U.S. have to spend our tax dollars for these people who do not even belong in our nation or state? Don’t we already have enough people that use free services in our systems? In my opinion, we do, and we don’t need more. So go out and protest, but remember that you are essentially advocating for people to break our laws and for them to get away with it — even though citizens of Maine and our country have to pay a price for breaking our laws.

Robert Tomlins

Brake for caterpillars

For years, I have been avoiding Isabella tiger moth caterpillars in the streets of Maine. I do it safely; I would not hurt myself, but would feel badly for running over one of them. They are the black and orange fuzzy ones crossing the street. They are also called black-ended bear” or “woolly bears”. They are crossing the dangerous, scary streets left and right to find their perfect cocooning place. These brave critters are a tire width away from life or death. If they find their cocooning place and hatch, they become Isabella tiger moths, next spring’s pollinators in our gardens, forests, roadsides and other flora.

It is disturbing to me that some caterpillars have bad reputations. Please don’t mistaken Isabella tiger moth caterpillars for those like browntail moths, whose hairs (when disturbed) have nasty side effects like rashes and respiratory problems.

Pollinators are our lifeblood for keeping flowers, vegetables and other necessary life-sustaining foods. We must do our best to help pollinators survive; Earth and humans would be nothing without them.

Jackie Freitas