Forum, May 31: A Truly Egregious Problem, and No Solution in Sight

Wednesday, May 30, 2018
It’s Time to Cut Plastic Use

Plastic reduction time has come. What if we were to do something very specific to make things better? First, let’s declare the 13th of every month “No Plastic Day.” Hardware stores are among the worst offenders because they don’t have to preserve food and yet seal everything in plastic. What about a “Builders Unite” effort, pressuring our hardware stores to go back to selling in bulk and hiring more workers? I’m going to begin leaving all the plastic wrappings in the store.

Liking to be creative, I’m going to make Plastic Pollution Pets out of recycled plastic. I’ll put it on wheels from the dump (using office chairs, lawn mower wheels, kids toys, etc.), and add a leash. Maybe I’ll paint dead fish or birds on some opaque milk jugs.

On the 13th of each month, I’ll wheel my Plastic Pollution Pet along store aisles. I’m sure it will feel right at home.

Carol Langstaff


A Truly Egregious Problem

A quiz: Which of the following would have prevented the recent killing of 10 people at Santa Fe High School in Texas?

a. The disestablishment of the National Rifle Association.

b. The abrogation of the Second Amendment.

c. The registration of all firearms.

d. None of the above.

My guess: The answer would be d.

My understanding is that the suspect in the Texas school killings allegedly used his father’s legally obtained rifle and ammunition. If the gun been registered, would that have prevented the crime? No. Would marching en masse against violence have made a difference? No.

Gun ownership is indelibly implanted in the American psyche; Second Amendment or no Second Amendment; NRA or no NRA. I am not a member of the NRA, nor do I own a rifle or a pistol. I have many family members and friends who own rifles. They use their rifles to shoot deer, not people. The two brothers who committed the Boston Marathon massacre did not use rifles. They used bombs made out of pressure cookers. Do we register all pressure cookers?

I don’t mean to make light of the matter but, unfortunately, there are many ways to murder people. It has been said that registering guns would prevent unstable and psychotic people from obtaining guns. How? Would all registrants undergo a psychiatric examination? By whom? And where? And who would pay for these exams? I’m told that New Hampshire has a paucity of psychiatrists. The hospitals are already full and we don’t have enough social workers, let alone psychiatrists.

The young men who commit these killings must harbor extreme hatred and anger in their minds. It is my feeling that many of them have been bullied as youngsters. Most of them are loners and likely socially inept. We have this egregious problem on our hands and we don’t seem to know how to correct it. I certainly don’t.

Bob Cattabriga

West Lebanon

We Still Need Traditional Generators

This is in reference to Don Kreis’ letter (“ISO New England’s Flawed Study,” May 24), that was written in response to Meredith Angwin’s op-ed column (“Coming to a Grid Near You: Rolling Blackouts,” May 20).

Meredith Angwin has more than 40 years of experience in the analysis and design of energy systems. ISO New England employs some of the best professional energy systems analysts in the U.S.

Variable and intermittent wind and solar electricity cannot exist on any electric grid without the traditional, dispatchable generators performing the peaking, filling-in and balancing function. Battery systems could be used, but the cost is well in excess of $400 per kilowatt-hour delivered as AC to the high voltage grid. Wind, solar and other renewables were 2.7, 0.7, and 8.9 percent, respectively, of all electricity on the New England grid in 2017, according to ISO-NE.

It looks like New Englanders will need the traditional generators for several decades.

Renewable energy proponents want to close down existing coal, gas, oil and nuclear plants, all of which produce electricity at less than 5 cents per kilowatt-hour, and obstruct increased, low-cost natural gas flow via pipelines. The highly subsidized wholesale prices of wind and solar paid by New England utilities to producers are much higher than in the rest of the U.S., because of New England’s mediocre wind and solar conditions: Onshore or ridgeline wind costs about 9.5 cents per kilowatt-hour; offshore wind, at least 21 cents; large-scale, field-mounted, competitively auctioned solar, about 13.5 cents; and residential, roof-mounted solar, about 19 cents.

These prices would be about 50 percent higher without the subsidies, and even higher without cost-shifting to ratepayers and taxpayers for filling-in, peaking and balancing, due to wind and solar variability and intermittency; grid-related issues such as extensions and augmentations to connect and deal with wind and solar; and utility-scale energy storage, which is presently provided by the world’s fuel supply system.

Willem Post