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Keep Maine beautiful

Maine needs help. In 1989, Maine set a goal to recycle 50 percent of our municipal waste, 32 years later we have yet to come close. Instead market value for recyclables is falling and Mainer’s foot a bill of roughly $16-17.5 million yearly to fund end of life care for packaging. Resultantly, Maine municipalities are forced to decide between raising taxes or cutting recycling programs. The solution? Extended producer responsibility (EPR) for packaging, a product stewardship bill that removes the burden from taxpayers by holding producers accountable for the waste they flush into our communities.

Adopting an EPR for packaging bill would increase the accessibility of recycling to Mainers, strengthen the infrastructure of Maine’s recycling programs, incentivize companies to establish more eco-friendly packaging, level the playing field for our small businesses and divert waste from our landfills and incinerators, all without increasing the burden of cost on Mainers. Maine is one big, small town and this bill is the epitome of helping the state that we love by increasing our sustainability, the greatest improvement we can provide for future generations.

We know Mainers care about recycling because over 2,300 Mainers have already signed the Natural Resources Council of Maine’s reform bill, showing that people are ready for a change. So, I urge my fellow Mainers to inform themselves about extended producer responsibility for packaging by googling Recycling Reform ME, where they can sign the petition in support and pass it along to their friends.

Let’s keep Maine beautiful!

Kelsey Conley


Diversity and the Supreme Court

In the Phil Harriman-Ethan Strimling column in the BDN on April 16, Harriman claims that the present Supreme Court “…has plenty of diversity. Three women, an African American, a Latina, and members of the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish faiths…” But according to what I have read elsewhere, the Supreme Court now has six Catholic members: John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Sonia Sotomayor, and Amy Barrett. All of these except Sotomayor were nominated by Republican presidents, who I believe were hoping to reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on abortion.

In addition, Justice Neil Gorsuch (nominated by President Donald Trump) was raised Catholic but is now reportedly Episcopalian. The remaining two justices, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, are Jewish.

The present Supreme Court falls well short of reflecting the religious diversity of America. I hope that future nominees to the Court are more representative and include at least one with no religious affiliation.

Karl K. Norton


Support democracy with DC statehood

Maine has some of the most inclusive and protective voting laws in the country. We should feel proud that Maine, more often than not, welcomes and encourages our people to vote. This is the bedrock of a functioning democracy. Unfortunately, two dozen states, including, most glaringly, Georgia, are doing exactly the opposite: passing voter suppression and restriction laws, making it harder and harder for people to vote. We should be celebrating and strengthening our democracy, not stifling and threatening it.

In this context, I would like to voice my ardent support for the Washington D.C. statehood bill. There are more people in D.C. than in either Wyoming or Vermont, and yet they have no voting power in Congress — no voting senators and no voting representatives in the House. This is egregiously undemocratic.

An overwhelming majority of D.C. residents have voted in a referendum in favor of statehood. Both of Maine’s Representatives, Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, support the D.C. Statehood bill. It is time for us to encourage both of our Senators, Angus King and Susan Collins, to do the same.

As we continue to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Maine’s statehood, Mainers should support D.C. residents’ efforts to gain the same dignity and equal voting rights that we have long enjoyed.

Alan Blum