Who is misrepresenting facts on Northern Pass?

To the editor,

In his Sep. 19 letter about the scenic impact of the Northern Pass Transmission project, Eversource Spokesperson Martin Murry claims “significant misunderstanding or misrepresentation” of the project. As proof, he cites the Federal Final Environmental Impact Statement for Northern Pass. He was replying to a Sep. 12 letter that had the suggestion that “outside interests — particularly from corporations — are influencing local policies.” So let’s look at the facts.

In New Hampshire, the Site Evaluation Committee has the responsibility to evaluate new facilities in the public’s best interest, represented by the Counsel for the Public.

Interestingly, the same consultant, T. J. Boyle of Vermont, was contracted to evaluate the potential Northern Pass visual impacts both for the 1) Department of Energy residential permit needed to connect an electric transmission line across the U.S. border with Canada, and 2) N.H. SEC certificate.

Here is what TJ Boyle had to say in the pre-filed and supplemental testimony to the Counsel for the Public, about the difference between the Federal and New Hampshire processes:

1) DOE presidential permit analysis:

• Is at a landscape planning scale, which was more appropriate for the national security concerns associated with the presidential permit that DOE is considering.

• Evaluates seven alternative proposals.

• Does not consider site-level mitigation.

• Does not have any procedures or guidelines for evaluating visual impacts.

2) N.H. SEC Certificate analysis:

• Looks the aesthetic effects of specific siting and design details.

• Identifies effective measures to avoid, minimize or mitigate adverse effects on aesthetics.

• Does not consider alternatives.

• Has explicit guidance on how to conduct a visual assessment.

What TJ Boyle found in his evaluation for Counsel for the Public, in the interest of the New Hampshire public:

a) Significant errors in Northern Pass approach to identifying scenic resources, which in itself, renders the Northern Pass visual analysis unreliable for decision-making.

b) Failure to consider visibility based on bare ground conditions.

c) Unsupported introduction of new evaluation factors.

d) Photo simulations that do not meet SEC or professional standards.

e) Undervaluation of the expectation of the typical viewer.

f) Undervaluation of the effect on future use and enjoyment of scenic resources.

Their summary, T.J. Boyle’s independent review for CFP of the Northern Pass visual analysis of scenic resources found, and demonstrated, that:

1) Scenic resources were not adequately identified.

2) Visual impacts were much greater than Northern Pass’s DeWan & Associates recognized.

3) Many of those visual impact clearly were unreasonable.

So, who is “significantly misunderstanding or misrepresenting” the New Hampshire relevant facts?

Kate Hartnett

Berlin and Deerfield

 

Why pardon a turkey?

To the editor:

President Donald Trump is getting his pardon pen ready as special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation starts indicting his associates. This Wednesday, he plans to practice on two very innocent Minnesota turkeys.

The other 244 million turkeys killed in the United States this year have not been so lucky. They were raised in crowded sheds filled with toxic fumes. Their beaks and toes were clipped to prevent stress-induced aggression. At 16 weeks of age, slaughterhouse workers cut their throats and dump them in boiling water to remove their feathers.

Consumers pay a heavy price too. Turkey flesh is laced with cholesterol and saturated fats that elevate risk of chronic killer diseases. Intense prolonged cooking is required to destroy deadly pathogens lurking inside.

Now, for the good news: Per capita consumption of turkeys is down by a whopping 34 percent from a 1996 high of 303 million, as one third of our population is actively reducing meat consumption. Our supermarkets carry a rich variety of convenient, delicious, healthful plant-based meat products, including several oven-ready roasts.

This Thanksgiving holiday, as we give thanks for life and good fortune, let's also skip the gratuitous violence and grant our own pardon to an innocent animal.

Blaine Dwyer

Berlin

 

Tom Kondrat: $2 trillion giveaway from tax cut not possible

 

To the editor:

The next event in Washington seems to be the tax cut legislation.

Recently, a politician was on television decrying a $2 trillion giveaway to the richest Americans. Since the highest tax rate for individuals is staying at 39.6 percent for any couple making over $466,950, I presume the culprit is the reduction in the corporate rate from 35 percent down to 20 percent. Those nasty corporations on Wall Street!

But who are these nasty corporations? I am reminded of Walt Kelly’s comic strip “Pogo” when he said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” If any of us have a 401(k), 403b, mutual fund, any kind of retirement fund, bank accounts or are trust fund babies, we are the nasty corporations. Who do you think owns the stock of these corporations?

AT&T alone has over 6 billion shares outstanding, most of it owned by banks and mutual funds. However, before we baby boomers get excited about our potential windfall, we should look closer at the numbers.

The old adage applies here, “We only know what we are told.” We have been told that there will be a $2 trillion giveaway if the corporate rate is dropped from 35 percent to 20 percent. This is impossible.

In order for that to be true, the overall corporate profit would have to be $13.3 trillion ($13.3 trillion profit times 15 percent reduction equals $2 trillion). Now the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is $18 trillion. That means the gross value of everything sold in the United States is $18 trillion, and the profit from that $18 trillion is $13.3 trillion, or a 72 percent profit on everything that is sold. Now if someone can point out any business anywhere in the world, other than the sale of illegal drugs that is making a 72 percent profit, I would like to invest what little money I have in them. Waiting to hear from our friends in Washington.

Tom Kondrat

Freedom

 

Lee Wilder and Tina Cotton: Earth science program opportunities available to teachers

 

To the editor:

Hurricanes and storm surges, tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding, sinkholes and volcanic eruptions — even eclipses, solar flares and the resulting beautiful auroras — the daily news is dominated by these naturally occurring events, especially the catastrophic ones.

An understanding of the what, where and why of these natural phenomena comes from having an education in the field of the earth sciences.

The morning after one of these events, teachers have “a teachable moment.” Students are curious, wanting to understand these events making the news.

Educators need to have the willingness and depth of knowledge to be able to explain and answer student questions.

The events experienced in recent months underscore the importance of earth science topics in the teaching of well-informed students. We are all inhabitants of this small blue planet and understanding it will help prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s stewards.

The Geological Society of New Hampshire has two grant opportunities to support professional development and equipment for the classroom. Go to gsnh.org/lincoln-r-page-fund.html and gsnh.org/classroom-grant.html to find out more.

Lee Wilder, Hopkinton

Tina Cotton, Andover

 

Robert M. Collinsworth: Nicotine kills more people every year than opioids do

To the editor:

The CDC has attributed 480,000 deaths per year, in the United States, to nicotine-related causes (more than 41,000 of those deaths are the result of second-hand smoke). That is 1,315 nicotine-related deaths every day, 55 nicotine-related deaths per hour, or almost one nicotine-related death every minute of every day in our country. Nicotine is the single largest cause of preventable death in the United States.

Right now, there is a justifiable nationwide outrage because there were 64,000 deaths related to illicit drugs and prescription opioids in 2016.

How is it that the country can be outraged over one drug causing 64,000 preventable deaths but much less outraged over another drug causing 480,000 (750 percent more) preventable deaths every year?

The answer is simple: The states and the federal government are making a great deal of money from nicotine because it is a legal drug and thus taxable. Therefore, it receives less media and government attention. Think about what these statistics are saying. They are saying that our federal and state governments are willing to allow someone to kill you, or someone you love, as long as they can make a great deal of money from it!

At what point do “We, the People” say “Enough!”? How many fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters must die before we are willing to pick up a pen and write a letter to our president, vice president, and members of Congress?

Would you be willing to write and mail a letter every day if it could save your son or daughter’s life? What do you think would happen if two to four tractor-trailer loads of letters arrived at the White House or Congress every day asking them to outlaw the use of nicotine for human consumption in the United States?

This is not fake news. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has compiled these statistics. These accurate statistics are actually body counts of the fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters I referenced earlier.

Robert M. Collinsworth

Harrisville