Letter to the Editor: The soap opera continues

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Every day the criticism levied against the Clean Energy Corridor and those involved sounds more like a soap opera than the day before. (That would be a poorly developed soap opera mind you.) In the opening act we were told CMP was going to build a power line so big it would rival the New Jersey Turnpike and feature the kind of metal towers Godzilla would tangle with in Japan. Before we knew it the same story adopted a Vietnam Era approach to deforest the path that line would follow. (How herbicide entered the conversation I’ll never know because its certainly not used on the power lines we have.) Finally, hydroelectricity became dirtier than coal.

It’s all a bunch of nonsense dreamt up by organizations funded by competing interests who don’t want to see this project bring energy prices down. Political alignment no longer matters, either. As with the decision to invade Iraq, you’ll find politicians on both sides of the aisle arguing against it simply because they’re convinced that position will win elections in certain districts. That’s why they don’t seem to care what State experts have had to say.

For those who are concerned about Acid Rain, Climate Change, Environmental Impact, and the like things have gotten confusing because the aforementioned organizations enlisted the support of people who know the language, if not the science. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone incorrectly suggest that a back-of-the-envelope calculation should decide the fate of this project. That’s just not how science works. When there are direct measurements to rely upon, which there are, you rely upon them. What you don’t do is expect that an equation developed by studying hydroelectric facilities in the tropics will provide an accurate assessment of this one, which is located in the temperate zone.

And then we have those stories which suggest this idea didn’t come about as Climate Science informed legislation but as back room deals forced the hands of legislators. Considering how upset that legislation made the fossil fuels industry and those who support it I’m not quite sure why anyone would believe this, but then we are living in a post fact world. It’s as they say, repeat a thing enough times and it will become someone’s truth no matter how far from the truth it is.

That’s not just my take away. Thats a position informed by study that earned me bachelor degrees in Geology and Mathematics here at UMF and a masters degree in Earth Science at Brown University. I studied under Dr. Eastler, who many of you know was a defense expert as well as a professor. He helped me get into Brown some time after he and others like him managed to convince the Pentagon to take Climate Change seriously because he hoped we were entering an era when science would influence our society as it had after WWII and that I might participate in that as veterans like me did then. He may have been more tactful, but then he was Air Force and I was Marine Corps.

Jamie Beaulieu
Farmington, Maine

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