People and profits

I’m writing in response to Jim Cyr’s letter from April 15, “Get the facts about NECEC.” Like many fact checks these days, this one needs a fact check of its own.

The writer claims that the corridor will deliver “clean, low-cost energy to our state.” Gov. Janet Mills did negotiate for Mainers to receive some power from the project, but the NECEC is mainly a pass-through to consumers in Massachusetts.

“Maine is more dependent on petroleum” than other states, he claims. But the article his letter cites refers to our furnaces, cars and trucks. How exactly would the corridor change this picture?

I don’t believe another controversial dam up in Quebec is the way to green Maine’s energy portfolio. The corridor is touted as a clean energy investment, but it’s first and foremost a payday for Central Maine Power. In fact, CMP has been a frequent obstacle to the greening of Maine’s power, as the BDN has reported.

If Cyr really is interested in “a future of green energy” and major savings in our electric bills, he should look into the plans to have the ratepayers of Maine own and democratically control their power grid.

Rep. Seth Berry is introducing a bill to buy Maine’s electric grid from CMP and Versant. The purchase would be financed with low-interest bonds repaid by electricity sales — no tax money.

The new utility would serve us, not the profits of faraway owners or CMP’s board. This would save us all money and it would set us up to transition to greener energy solutions, which I believe neither CMP or Versant care about when they don’t stand to profit.

Ethan Bien


We need COVID-19 passports

We need a system for creating and enforcing a system providing official proof that people have completed their vaccination process. Establishing a COVID-19 passport is essential to our defeating the current pandemic.

First, we need to create a legal passport document or electronic ID that is secure from forgery. Then we need to issue them to those who qualify. This could be a physical card similar to a driver’s license or a secure app on a smartphone. We need enabling legislation to allow businesses or places to enforce requirements to restrict access to those having a COVID-19 passport. This should be federal legislation.

Then airlines, restaurants, hotels, businesses, cruise ships, subways, buses, grocery stores, theaters, beaches, etc. that chose could limit access to those who have a COVID-19 passport and prevent others without from entering and endangering others. This would promote business activity since there are still many people, even those who have already been vaccinated, who are reluctant to expose themselves to those who have not. Businesses should also be permitted to require employees who could potentially endanger others to have a vaccine passport.

With all of our great freedoms, we probably cannot require anyone to receive a vaccination of any type. But this pandemic is real and still with us. We need to do everything possible to defeat it. COVID-19 passports will encourage more people who have been reluctant to become vaccinated to do so now. People should please contact their representatives in Congress now.

Philip Conner


Only time will tell

They danced in the streets in Minneapolis. Derek Chauvin was convicted on all counts of killing George Floyd. Justice was served.

But serious questions must be asked. What if there had been no video of Chauvin’s fatal actions? Why did the other police officers involved stand by, doing nothing to prevent Floyd’s asphyxiation? Was Chauvin’s conviction a major step forward in securing justice for all, regardless of race or ethnic origins? And, perhaps the most critical question of all: Will this trial and conviction establish new norms for all law enforcement officers? What was really on trial? Was it a person or a broken system? We must consider that question with total honesty, if at all possible.

Justice was served for George Floyd. No doubt about that. Will the same be true a year from now after the emotional tension has subsided? Is this verdict a cause for celebration, or introspection? Only time will tell.

Hal Wheeler