2016-05-06 / Letters

Choose environmental battles wisely

To the editor:

Life can be ironic. I am referring to last week’s letters to the editor regarding dam removal. Paul and Sally Wells submitted an earnest and heartfelt letter favoring dam removal, an action I do not agree with.

Here’s the irony. They wrote, “In the final analysis, it is a decision that we hope will be made on the basis of sound science, solid engineering and good economic sense – not on the basis of emotional arguments from us or anyone else.”

Ironically, their letter – which is emotional – follows two letters that are filled with non-emotional details about poor engineering, economic distortions, lack of impartiality, laziness on the part of the board, etc. That letter was written by Shawn Teague and is followed by Ward Hansen’s letter (also non-emotional) that also is filled with details and complaints about the sloppy engineering and board leadership.

Having a remarkable grasp of the obvious, I suggest the following.

To the dam keepers: If you have not already done so, get notarized signatures on a petition from all those whose properties will be negatively affected by dam removal. Second, hire an attorney who is not afraid to speak truth to power.

The board and the engineers they hired have exhibited enough non-transparency, ineptitude, lack of communication and concern for the ratepayers in their local community that you might have a case.

I also suggest that someone contact the engineering professional peer review people to complain about the incomplete and misleading work Wright-Pierce did, and as ratepayers request that the fees they were paid be refunded.

To the dam removers: Carefully read and digest Shawn Teague and Ward Hansen’s letters. Discuss them; maybe they will ease your zeal. I come from the Jane Jacobs school of planning, the basic tenet of which is that homeowners and businesses that form a community are to have the major voice in determining what happens in their environs. Exceptions can be made to disrupt a community for the greater good when that need is overwhelming. I am thinking of the Hudson River’s Tappan Zee Bridge that will disrupt people at both ends but is necessary to keep the metropolitan New York area moving.

Lastly, dam removers, please consider the following. The present environment has been there for 150 years; the present abutters did not change anything while damage from dam removal is a real possibility. Lastly, walk away from this but don’t turn your attention to similar situations. My God, New England has brown fields, aging sewer plants that pollute, storm drains that don’t prevent the oil slick and salt runoff from polluting streams and lakes, ancient plumbing systems, invasive aquatic plants and antiquated nuclear facilities, etc.

Please don’t stop fighting to repair the environment for future generations. Just choose targets more damaging than the Mousam River dams, targets where your energy and efforts actually will make a difference.

Lou Miller Kennebunkport

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