Letters to the Editor - Lakeville Journal - 3-21-19

The country needs a new path of decency

After the rambling, angry, profanity-laced speech Donald Trump gave at the Conservative Political Action Conference recently, is there any doubt a madman is in the White House? His audience clapped and cheered him on, which absolutely boggles my mind. Frankly, the scariest part is the blind loyalty shown by his followers in the face of disaster.

Respect, fair play, honesty and diplomacy have been absent from the Trump presidency from the beginning. Now, we have vulgarity, lies and criminal traitorous behavior. Should I mention the trillion dollar deficit and the bigotry shown toward people of color? Trump’s allegiance to the Russian and North Korean leaders begs the questions – why? Is it personal gain or something much more insidious? Donald Trump’s presidency has demeaned and diminished our country in the eyes of the world and made a joke out of American values.

I am glad investigations are being made into the nebulous activities of Donald Trump. Perhaps the “Teflon Don” will have to answer for his actions. Unfortunately, so much damage has already been done.

The 2020 election gives me hope that the United States will come out of this dark period and progress on a path of decency and regard for all people. The honor and welfare of our country is at stake.

Gretchen M. Gordon



Is it fair to leave CO2mess to our children?

Remember, the deadly tornado in Alabama? The polar vortex in January? Australia’s record heat and 4 feet of rain in one week?  Are these events related or caused by climate change? You decide.

Since the 1950s, the CO2 levels have been rising. Nature can’t balance out the CO2 gases we produce. Don’t you think we should at least stop polluting the environment and take advantage of programs that promote clean energy?  

What can we do? We need to change our mindset and that can be hard. Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) has reintroduced The Energy Innovation and Carbon Fee Dividend Act Bill into Congress (H.R. 763). The purpose of the bill is to change our behavior from fossil fuels to renewable energy.  A fee is placed on fossil fuels at the source (oil or natural gas well, coal, etc). This fee starts at $15 per ton CO2 equivalent emissions, and increases each year by $10. A hundred percent of the net fees are returned to us on an equal basis.  Under this plan, about two-thirds of all households would break even or receive more in their dividend checks than they would pay in higher prices due to the fee, thereby protecting the poor and middle classes.

Since we are the ones who started this mess, we need to take responsibility to fix it. The children are speaking. Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg started a climate justice movement in Sweden that has gone international, where over 30,000 children are protesting the government’s approach to climate change. And, in the United States, since 2015 Juliana v. United States lawsuit has been working its way through the courts.

Write to your representatives and ask them to vote for this bill. Go to:

CCL website:  then click the action button and then write to Congress.

CBIA website: Click Action Center then click Drive Change.

Let them hear your voices and march with the children.

Ron Brandes



Let’s stop spraying beekiller chemicals on millions of acres

As a 50-year keeper of honey bees, I join the many other beekeepers, environmental organizations and individuals in deploring the continued spraying of millions of acres of American croplands using Dow’s bee-killing insecticide Sulfoxaflor.

The obvious risk is that the widespread spraying of Sulfoxaflor is pushing wild and domesticated bee species, as well other valuable pollinators, toward extinction.  How can this be happening? “Big Ag” is able to take advantage of so-called “emergency exemptions”  to the Federal Insecticide Act that are being granted year after year by  the Trump-dominated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

When the exemption is year after year after year, it’s no longer an “emergency exception” to the rule. It’s a regular, condoned practice. When I write the EPA about this, I get a nice letter back, saying that it’s all based on “safety findings” and good intentions, “thank you for your letter,” and “write again if you have additional questions.” We all have to act together to ask the hard questions, and put responsible pressure on the EPA to serve its charter purpose to protect human health and the environment of our blue-green planet. 

Tony Piel



Cold patch to warm mix asphalt, a slippery slope

A few weeks ago the North Canaan Zoning Board of Appeals lifted the cease-and-desist order on B. Metcalf Asphalt and allowed them to keep manufacturing their cold patch asphalt product in East Canaan. Why this expanded use of allowing the manufacturing of a unique new product on this property was ever allowed — under a pre-existing “non-conforming” use — is my question. As is the question at the root of the matter: Does “processing” asphalt mean “manufacturing” asphalt? 

But we cannot allow further expansion of any asphalt manufacturing on the 15 Allyndale Road property or the Metcalf property at 235 East Canaan Road where Metcalf is now seeking a court-ordered permit (Hearing Date set for May 14, 2019) to build a plant to manufacture Warm Mix Asphalt. We must be thorough and definitive as a community. We need to insist that the North Canaan Zoning Board state that there is a difference between “processing” and “manufacturing” and that allowing “processing” was never meant to allow “manufacturing.”

We need to insist that the letter of Dec. 22, 2012 by the former Zoning Enforcement Officer regarding “processing of asphalt” at 15 Allyndale Road be clarified to state that “...processing of asphalt, brick and concrete intermittently with a portable crusher… and processing equipment to utilize millings” was not intended and should not now be interpreted in any way to allow the “manufacture of a new and unique asphalt product” as a continuation of a pre-existing “non-conforming” use on either property. 

Regarding the warm mix asphalt plant site modification plan submitted by B. Metcalf Paving, Inc. that is in court, we as a community need to be vigilant and actively seek advice and intervention on this matter from the state of Connecticut attorney general and the DEEP where applicable, regarding water and air quality permitting and the State Statute CT Public Act 98-216 (22A-196) governing the site location of any “batching or continuous mix facility” located within one-third mile of a watercourse and within one-third mile of residential housing. 

The time to take action is now.

Bernard Re Jr.

North Canaan