I infrequently agree with viewpoints offered by George Smith, but when he’s so completely on the right train track as he was in July 17’s column, reinforcing his concerns, opinions and questions should compel many to add greater citizen voice to his message.

In his column, Smith addresses concerns about trains carrying oil through our towns. He lives in Mount Vernon and I live in Readfield. Not only are these under-regulated and understaffed trains lumbering through Maine communities in exponentially rising numbers, but the larger questions he raises about the energy directions we truly ought to be pursuing and how we really ought to be investing security resources are key considerations that people, officeholders and our professional public servants in Maine and this country need to be asking and addressing.

That Lac-Megantic and its surrounding environment are so similar to many small towns in Maine makes the horror of this disaster delivered by low regulation, skimpy safety margins, inadequate equipment and, most of all, our oil addiction, traumatically and immediately relevant. The very train that wiped out a town center and so many lives was headed to Maine to transit our towns and our precious environment. Many more trains still are crossing our state carrying an exponentially growing volume of unrefined oil and exponentially growing potential risks.

It used to be our family found the late night lonely whistle of a train rumbling along Maranacook Lake and through Readfield Depot a bit enchanting and a reminder of an earlier era, when my grandfather worked a lifetime for the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad. Now that same sound imparts a far more foreboding and troubling echo.

Bruce Bourgoine


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