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Why Maine isn’t Georgia

If you ever wanted an example of the value of ranked-choice voting, look no further than Georgia today. None of their two senate seat candidates received 50 percent, so by Georgia law there will be a runoff election on Jan. 5.

The importance of that runoff will determine whether there is a Republican or Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate. So we enter this transition period not knowing the balance of power in the U.S. Senate until after the Georgia votes are tallied in January.

In addition, there will be new campaigning in Georgia with mega dollars raised and spent by each side to sway voters. Local TV will still be filled with political advertising.

Overseas Georgia voters will have to be canvased to vote again with time allowed to return their ballots. And it is doubtful that a Senate-only runoff election will have the level of voter turnout that the general election did.

If Georgia were Maine it would be over, ranked-choice voting would have narrowed down the votes already until each Senate candidate received 50.1 percent. The U.S. would know how the Senate will be organized and led. Georgians would know who their senators are. Voila — or maybe we should say Dirigo!

And maybe some unneeded campaign money could help food banks.

Ron Lovaglio


Landfill and leachate

An activist group is claiming that leachate from the state-owned landfill in Old Town is discharged — untreated — into the Penobscot River. This is absolutely false.

“Leachate” is liquid that passes through solid waste in a landfill. Liquid in waste and rainwater that passes through waste is captured within the landfill, conveyed to a secure tank and transported offsite to a treatment plant.

The state-owned landfill is highly engineered with double liners, leak detection systems and a sophisticated liquid conveyance system. It contracts with the Old Town mill for treatment and disposal of its leachate, as required by law.

The Department of Environmental Protection carefully regulates every step in this process. It limits concentrations in discharges and requires monitoring for a range of parameters. The state-owned landfill and the Old Town Mill are fully compliant with these requirements.

The DEP recently reviewed the landfill’s operations relative to future leachate disposal. It concluded that all applicable licensing criteria for proposed waste discharge were met and the discharge won’t lower the quality of the Penobscot River.

There are five licensed wastewater treatment plants north of Old Town discharging to the Penobscot River. There are 11 more discharging further downstream. The amount attributable to the state-owned landfill – all of it treated – is 1/100,000th of the total.

Wastewater and leachate are collected and treated to ensure the safety of our environment. Disposal from the state-owned landfill is compliant with state law, and a miniscule portion of the overall discharges permitted to the river.

Toni M. King

Region Engineer

Casella Waste Systems

What Trump is doing during a pandemic

At this writing, over a quarter million Americans have died from COVID-19. We continue to see record-breaking numbers of new cases, hospitalizations, people with the disease in ICUs, and deaths. Millions are unemployed, and many of them will soon be losing their benefits. Expect more evictions and homelessness. Small businesses are closing across the country. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

And what is President Donald Trump doing while all this is going on? Golfing, pouting, firing people, filing bizarre lawsuits that get thrown out of court almost immediately, claiming he won the election even though he was beat by over 5 million votes, spreading off-the-wall conspiracy theories. Let me point out that none of these actions do anything to control the pandemic, get our economy on track, or relieve the suffering of the American people.

To make sure we all continue to suffer after he leaves office, Trump is refusing to facilitate the transition to President-elect Joe Biden who wants to actually help our country get back on its feet after the Trump fiasco. Biden is already working to control the pandemic and to plan for distribution of vaccines. The country is also exposed to security threats by Trump’s actions. His refusal to act like a grownup and release crucial transition information sound like criminal intent to me.

And what is Sen. Susan Collins doing while all this is going on?

Linda Buckmaster


Correction: The letter “Landfill and leachate” by Toni King previously included a link that made it seem the author was calling the Penobscot Nation an “activist group.” The author was referring to the group Don’t Waste ME. That link was added by a member of the BDN editorial page staff, not the author, and has been removed.