And while we did all this, we also provided the on-the-ground stewardship of our state's exceptional environment with an improved assistance-oriented attitude: responding to thousands of oil and hazardous-materials spills; issuing more than 6000 permits in a timelier manner than ever while concurrently reducing licensing backlogs that in some situations spanned decades; and training thousands of our partners in protection from earth-moving contractors to wastewater treatment plant operators to schoolchildren in the best practices that safeguard our air, land, and water.
The line on environmental protection wasn't, as Tapley tells it, simply held during the 125th Legislature. In fact, it was moved forward, and so was Maine.
PATRICIA AHO, COMMISSIONER
MAINE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
VIGUE'S SHORTSIGHTED VISION
Since Peter Vigue has had multiple opportunities to convey his vision of an East West Corridor to the people of Maine and Canada (see "What's Driving the East-West Highway," by Lance Tapley, May 4), it is time to have open debate about a project that could define the future of Maine.
Should Maine tie itself to a failed economic model that puts the future of human existence at risk or should it embrace a new local economy?
The proposal is a 220-mile, 500- to 2000-foot wide, concrete and steel corridor bisecting the state from Calais to Coburn Gore. It's a $2-billion investment creating an ecological dead zone to move resources and goods in a world economy.
By any standard this world economy is a failure: It has lowered our standard of living; a foreclosure epidemic is driving us from our homes; poverty is on the increase. This world economy pumps more CO2 into the air, making us sick and bringing on climate change that will possibly make large parts of the Earth uninhabitable.
We do need investment in Maine, investment in a new economy based on local values. Visionary investors are starting a grist mill in Skowhegan and have opened a food-processing-and -storage facility in Belfast. The Crown of Maine Organic Cooperative is creating market opportunities for small farmers. Money spent on these projects stays in Maine and doesn't go to Wall Street. Such investments create more jobs than the corridor could and move Maine's economy away from one that is unhealthful and makes us poorer. This is the road we should take.
DON'T BUILD ROAD FOR CANADA
Why should Maine build a road for Canada? The road (see "What's Driving the East-West Highway," by Lance Tapley, May 4) has no purpose other than to meet the needs of Canada's energy interests. Why don't Canadians build, and pay for, a road across Canada? It will make very few people in Maine rich, and that will definitely not include you or me! We, the unfortunate majority, will simply suffer all the negatives of this unnecessary superhighway in our peaceful backyards. Why would anyone in Maine want to build a huge road with a 2000-foot corridor that takes properties by eminent domain, demolishes rural life, and literally divides the state of Maine? Not a good idea except from the perspective of the few rich entities that will get richer from this project, which "we the people" are just finding out about! So much for "life as it should be," huh? At least in northern Maine!
MEREDITH AND STEPHEN PERKINS