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Navigate us away from the storm
When it comes to climate change, the U.S. is like a ship heading blindly into a huge hurricane. The ship’s officers are the politicians in Washington tasked with our safety. Most of them have carelessly ignored the radar screens on the bridge. Now extreme heat, drought, floods and fire threaten the ship’s passengers with disaster.
We already sense the looming presence of the storm and know that a rapid change of course is needed. But many of the ship’s officers deny its existence and are arguing instead of acting. We can easily see that they must sharply turn our vessel away from the violent cyclone, whose power is generated by the burning of fossil fuels. We know this will be difficult because our ship responds slowly.
Scientists on board have anticipated this storm and know how to steer us away from the worst of it, if only our officers would listen. Similarly with climate change, a policy supported by experts called carbon cashback can help us change course quickly. It would put a fee on the fossil fuels ruining our future and return the money to American households as a dividend, protecting low- and middle-income families, most of whom would come out ahead.
How does that sound? If you like the hopefulness of it, learn more about The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 2307). Then call U.S. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins, and tell them we expect them to take over the bridge and navigate us away from the storm.
Fair compensation for risk
I am an emergency room registered nurse and have been working through the pandemic. I have heard of other health care facilities giving hazard pay and bonuses to the employees.
Unfortunately, my employer has not. My question is, when will the government mandate that they compensate us for the risks we have taken and continue to take for ourselves and families.
We pay our military to be on the front lines. People are being paid to stay home when there are jobs available now. I have never had the option or desire to stay home during this pandemic. But I would like to be compensated for the risk.
Corridor referendum questions
I believe the referendum to stop the clean energy corridor is dangerous because it does much more than advertised.
Before November, Maine voters would do well to study the question. We aren’t being asked, “Do you want to stop the corridor?” We’re essentially being asked four very broad questions, one of which is implied:
First, do you approve of permanent development prohibitions in one part of Maine, absent any consideration or prioritization involving the rest of the state?
Second, do you want to give a small minority of legislators (as few as 12 senators) the power to stop certain clean energy projects anywhere in Maine?
Third, do you trust partisan politicians to responsibly use the power to retroactively nullify building permits that were lawfully issued?
Fourth, do you think complex regulatory decisions are better made through political campaigns than through methodical and transparent administrative proceedings?
I spent my career devoted to the responsible stewardship of Maine’s natural heritage, first with the Maine Forest Service and ultimately as a senior leader with The Nature Conservancy.
What is clear to me — and probably most of you — is that Maine’s climate is changing, fast. It is difficult to accept but no less true that some of the damaging changes to our most vulnerable ecosystems are already irreversible during our lifetimes, no matter how rapid our response.
Despite the speed of the change around us, even those who accept climate science are falling victim to the kind of policy paralysis offered by this dangerous referendum. It commits us deeper into doing nothing.