The Working Waterfront

Ocean solutions, Commoner connection, and more

Letters to the editor from the February/March 2021 issue

Posted 2021-03-09
Last Modified 2021-03-09

Ocean solutions

To the editor:

In October, Democrats in the U.S. House introduced a sweeping and comprehensive bill to address aspects of the climate crisis by focusing on the ocean. The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act (H.R. 8632) seeks to harness the ocean in the fight against climate change through seven related initiatives.

These include such provisions as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by prohibiting new oil and gas leasing in the outer continental shelf; setting offshore wind energy production goals of 12.5 gigawatts by 2025 and 25 gigawatts by 2030; increasing carbon storage in blue carbon ecosystems by mapping and protecting mangroves, sea grasses and salt marshes; offering incentives for increasing fuel efficiencies for fishing vessels; and authorizing $3 billion for shovel-ready coastal reclamation projects.

Other aspects of the legislation support climate-ready fisheries, fight ocean acidification, expand marine protected areas, and promote international cooperation on marine resource management. I urge you to contact Representative Jared Golden to support this bill, and to ask Susan Collins and Angus King to consider sponsoring similar legislation in the Senate. Rep. Chellie Pingree has already endorsed H.R. 8632. Thoughtful solutions to our climate emergency are imperative.

Bernie Baker



Commoner connection

To the editor:

Your November 2020 “Rock Bound” column entitled “Electric issues spark ownership thoughts—When should the public own public services” correctly defines the overwhelming existential threat of global warming and calls on your readers—particularly government officials—to respond with imaginative public/private solutions.

I note that you credit your own willingness to think “outside the box”  to hearing Dr. Barry Commoner in 1980, when he spoke in New York about how the ownership of “public utilities” should indeed be overseen by the ratepayers themselves. Commoner was a gifted bio-chemist who applied his open minded, scientific approach to social and economic problems as well.

It turns out that I also heard Dr. Commoner address a New York audience in early 1980. It was at a political convention at the start of a presidential campaign that year. His message then had the same theme: that global problems will require a new magnitude and a fresh mix of both public and private responses.

Local municipalities are a good place to start. In 2016 the town of Islesboro  chose to construct and to own its island-wide, high-speed, broadband internet service. Today nearly all residents are subscribers. A town solar energy panel roof and a car-charging station have been recently installed at the town office.

And in 2019 a privately-funded Islesboro Economic Sustainability Corporation (IESC) was formed by town voters to assist projects  that add to the future well-being of the community.

As a result, the island’s town center is being strengthened, and solar energy farms and solar-powered ferries to the mainland are under active study.

Economic enterprises have been encouraged and supported by bi-partisan government since the nation’s founding. In our lifetimes we have benefitted from the New Deal recovery program, by the G.I. Education Bill for returning service men and women, by the Eisenhower national highway system, through state university systems established over the past decades, and many, many local, state, regional, and national initiatives paid for and managed by imaginative combinations of public and private resources.

Arch Gillies


(Gillies is a member of Islesboro’s select board)


Story behind photo

To the editor:

Sigma Kappa is the woman’s sorority that helps support the Maine Seacoast Mission’s Sunbeam (photo in the December/January issue). As a member of another college sorority, I remember seeing the Sunbeam around Boothbay Harbor and being impressed with Sigma Kappa’s “Living with heart.” Does this group of women still support this wonderful boat?

Thank you for the memory your pictures evoked.

Sally Jones

Salisbury, N.H.


Re: the Sunbeam photo: Sigma Kappa was my sorority when I went to Colby College in Waterville in the ’60s. I would say this is a Colby group doing some kind of charity project, probably in the 1940 or 1950s. I don’t think there was another Sigma Kappa chapter in Maine. The “living with heart” comment comes somewhat close to our charity motto. No idea what harbor is pictured.

Chicki Barnes



The Working Waterfront accepts letters to the editor, which should contain about 300 words and relate to coastal and island issues or content that appeared in the newspaper. We also accept guest and op-ed columns of about 650 words, which should be cleared with editor Tom Groening ( before submitting.