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Forum, Sept. 12: Wilder Dam owners must create an erosion mitigation fund

Published: 9/11/2021 10:00:05 PM
Modified: 9/11/2021 10:00:05 PM
Wilder Dam owners must create an erosion mitigation fund

I wish to thank the Valley News and its staff writer Claire Potter for the fine summary of the issues placed before the people of the Upper Valley by the relicensing of the Wilder Dam (“A chance to improve the river: Some see opportunity in dam relicensing,” Sept. 7). What the public says during the upcoming opportunities for public comment will help determine how our lives are impacted by the presence of the dam for the next 40-60 years.

The public needs to know that the erosion that occurs as the result of the dam not only damages farmland, but also roads and other infrastructure. This is easily documented and is costly to taxpayers. Although the spokesman for the dam owner dismisses dam operation as a cause of erosion, and bases his conclusions on studies paid for by the dam owner, those studies have been dismissed as flawed by other experts in the field.

My own view is that if the dam had not been built and if the Connecticut River were still in the original channel in which I saw it in 1949, before the dam was operational, Lyme’s roads would never have been damaged.

Lyme’s taxes to cover roads damaged by erosion have subsidized the cost of producing electricity for the people of New England.

The license renewal should require the company to create a mitigation fund capable of supporting the cost of erosion control and repair for communities where infrastructure has been damaged or is at risk. The fund should be paid for by the dam owners. If that causes the cost of electricity to rise by a mil or two per kilowatt hour, for New Englanders, it would only be fair.

If the public is not heard now, the next opportunity to achieve fairness is one to two generations in the future.

This is the time for all the communities and individuals up and down the river who have paid in one way or another for the dam’s presence to gather and speak with one voice: No mitigation fund, no license.



‘Pro-life’ should belong to everyone

“Pro-life.” Hmmm. These two simple, little words, claimed by the Republican as their own, have clearly landed in the wrong hands.

The expression “pro-life” should never create a political dividing line. The expression should always be a uniting line for everyone, and it should mean what it says.

C’mon. I am unapologetically pro-life:

■ Pro protecting the lives of all children born into this world.

■ Pro protecting the right of all children to have food, shelter, education, medical care and a safe home.

■ Pro protecting every woman’s right to choose how best to take care of her own body, a right that is given to men without question, confusion or intrusion.

■ Pro protecting everyone’s equal right for fair wages and for a just life without fear of reprisal.

Yup, I am pro-life and I want to take that phrase under my wing, write it on a banner, scream it from the rooftops, run with it across the “amber waves of grain” and find a way fast and at last to show the country and the world what pro-life really looks like!

It’s about time for those two words to be hanging with the right crowd. “Pro-life” should not belong to the Republicans. It should belong to all of us who really mean it.



Texas Legislature and the Taliban

It is possible that the Jeff Stahler cartoon on Sept. 4 depicting two women wearing hijabs may have offended some women who observe their religious beliefs about dressing modestly.

The point, which is not obvious to the Texas Legislature or the people who voted for them, was to drive home the fanaticism of their actions, which are based on their own set of religious beliefs. These are most likely the same people who since the Sept. 11 attacks had nightmares about Shariah law supplanting the U.S. Constitution. I would like them to explain the difference between themselves and the Taliban when it comes to women.

One could make another analogy. Compare the new abortion law in Texas, which gives citizens the right to report their neighbors and doctors, with the Third Reich’s Hitler Youth, who were told they were helping Germany become great when they turned their Jewish neighbors over to the Gestapo.

To me, all of these groups share a common ideology: that God has bestowed on them the right and the might to oppress and harm people. Texas went one step further and added an incentive — $10,000 to join the hunt.



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