Forum, March 13: Dartmouth biomass plant won’t be an improvement

Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Dartmouth biomass plant won’t be an improvement

A projected expenditure to change Dartmouth College’s heat and power source to another carbon-based system is being promoted (“Search for biomass developer begins,” Feb 21). The proposed system will cause increased particulate pollution and significant CO2 emissions — hardly the improvement it is touted to be.

Bioenergy plants have been in New Hampshire for more than 30 years and still must be subsidized by ratepayers. The wood chip supply for the proposed plant will require at least 15 immense diesel-powered trucks a day on local roads. Since many roads throughout New England are weight-limited for up to 60 days a year, a massive inventory of 450 truckloads of chips would have to be stored on site.

Technological advancements will probably provide an eventual solution for the college. Given the brain power of the Thayer School of Engineering, couldn’t a reasonable alternative to a $200 million interim step be found?


New London

Panic and save the planet

On Feb. 17, The New York Times, often viewed as the unflappable “Gray Lady” of American journalism, covered the front page of its Sunday Review issue with an arresting picture captioned “Time to Panic,” and the words “The planet is getting warmer in catastrophic ways. And fear may be the only thing that saves us.”

Salvation by panic and fear? I recalled, years ago, when our 3-year-old granddaughter used to exclaim over and over — to the amused reactions of nearby adults — “This is no time to panic!” (The cautionary advice seems to have come from Buzz Lightyear and the Disney movie Toy Story.)

“Don’t panic” is, indeed, sound advice if you have to ditch your jetliner in the Hudson River, or escape a flood or wildfire. On the other hand, if you’re dozing when disaster strikes, panic may be what prompts an effective response. Consider Pearl Harbor, or Sputnik, signaling in 1957 that the U.S. was lagging the Soviets in space science.

Last October, the U.N. released a dire climate change report and a U.N. official said world leaders should imagine “a deafening, piercing smoke alarm going off in the kitchen.” Panic and fear may indeed be what’s needed to awaken a dozing American electorate and our inattentive political leaders about climate. But then a sufficient response will have to combine scientific awareness, political courage and legislative savvy. The Green New Deal resolution reflects both an awakening and political courage. Fortunately it is already adding momentum to bills such as HR 763, The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019.

For Upper Valley readers, it’s good news that both U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., now have seats on the important House Subcommittee on Energy. Let them know we’ve heard the alarms and are looking to them for political courage and legislative savvy. It’s a good time, too, to join the local Citizens Climate Lobby chapter, (email ccluppervalley@gmail.com, 802-432-8494).



Shame on Shaheen, Hassan for their abortion votes

Democrats, including New Hampshire U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, voted against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would protect babies born alive after an attempted abortion, require that they get the same care as any other child born alive and ensure they’re admitted to a hospital immediately.

Shame on them. This is infanticide and has nothing to do with the woman’s “rights.” The baby, born alive, surviving the abortion, has equal rights under the Constitution.



Bill protects coyote pups

HB 442, the Coyote Pup Protection Bill, will come before the New Hampshire House this month. HB 442 will close coyote hunting during pup rearing months, from April to August. Year-round hunting of coyotes increases the population due to responsive breeding and destabilizing established packs. Orphaned pups seek food in new territories, where they may be more likely to have conflicts with humans, livestock and pets. Stable coyote packs help to balance the New Hampshire forest ecosystem.

Typical coyote prey consists of animals that may carry Lyme disease, such as rodents and sickened members of a deer herd.

HB 442 would not change a landowner’s right to remove a nuisance coyote. It would change language regarding the night hunting of coyotes from “shall” to “may” so that New Hampshire Fish and Game has more flexibility in the regulation of night hunting of coyotes, if necessary.

Please ask your state representative to compassionately support HB 442.



America is addicted to war

I am writing to agree with Neil Meliment’s Jan. 30 letter about 9/11 (“20 Years of Pretending”). It has been my experience that many Americans refuse to face the truth that becomes evident when we take time to investigate this crime.

It seems beyond imagining that people in our government planned and executed an event that killed 3,000 Americans in order to initiate the longest run of war in our country’s history. Many of us feel we must believe the improbable story of this intricately planned event being directed by a diabetic Arab jihadist who hated the Internet and was hiding in remote Afghanistan. I admit we’d better have a good excuse for 18 years of unlawful destructive war in the Middle East, but for those who take time to investigate, this story doesn’t cut it.

Since October 2001, when we invaded Afghanistan, our country has justified continuous war and the export of war by selling weapons, which is extremely profitable for the large defense industries that keep our economy humming. It also cuts down on the number of poor people who might otherwise be unemployed. And now we are aiming for yet another war in Venezuela?

Contact your representatives, but know that until we insist on campaign finance reform, we can’t depend on Congress to stop the wars we are economically addicted to.



Beware of those with lists

For the past several election cycles, Republican officeholders deemed insufficiently conservative have been threatened regularly with primary challenges from candidates even farther on the right. Now we Democrats have our own Robespierre, who is lining up the tumbrels to cart off any of her colleagues who dare to make the slightest compromise.

When will we learn to beware of anyone who warns colleagues — or anyone else — that they are “putting themselves on a list”? Haven’t we had enough of lists?