I live in Portland, and I volunteer with Protect South Portland because I am concerned about the quality of our air, drinking water and the waters of Casco Bay and the future of our small planet.
We are urging the citizens of South Portland to vote for the Waterfront Protection Ordinance to ensure that risky, polluting Alberta tar sands oil is not piped across Maine and exported from South Portland. The ordinance was carefully written to do just that and no more. Sounds simple enough.
The Washington, D.C.-based American Petroleum Institute is the largest supporter of the Working Waterfront Coalition, which recently sprang up to oppose the ordinance.
Is the API dedicated to going around the country looking for poorly worded ordinances to protect citizens from unintended consequences? Probably not their main interest here.
It is important to understand that Exxon is a major funder of API. Exxon is heavily invested in Alberta tar sands development ($11 billion). Portland-Montreal Pipe Line is controlled by Exxon through its subsidiary, Imperial Oil. Exxon is actively pursuing every route for exporting tar sands oil.
Make no mistake about it – this is the actual motive for the American Petroleum Institute’s involvement with the Working Waterfront Coalition. API is using its standard playbook of spreading misinformation, hiding its true motives, creating doubt and playing on the fears of well-meaning citizens concerned about jobs, the economy and tax revenue.
API and its oil industry partners are outspending our local citizens group 10 to 1 in this campaign. This vote is up to the citizens of South Portland, but all Mainers have a stake in the outcome of this election. Vote for the Waterfront Protection Ordinance.
Ordinance is opportunity to strengthen protections
There is no conundrum surrounding South Portland’s Waterfront Protection Ordinance. Living adjacent to where the Department of Environmental Protection-permitted, planned vapor combustion units were to be placed, I want to stress that air and water pollution must be the focus regarding our vote for the Waterfront Protection Ordinance on Nov. 5.
We must turn the tide and protect the environment. I speak from the heart as the daughter of a scientist who was born and raised in Donora, Pa., an industrial ghost town, infamous for a killer industrial smog in 1948.
The Waterfront Protection Ordinance has everything to do with our opportunity to strengthen environmental protections. Without the ordinance, we will be wide open to more legal evasion of environmental regulations – and the aftermath.
Clear skies and cleaner water were my focus when I moved here from Pennsylvania. Oil slicks of misleading information and scare tactics are always used to fight the truth.
If we do not put in place ordinances and laws that will protect the environment here in this beautiful community (right now, at this moment), we will forever be at war against the reality of air and water pollution and more.
A robust economy and healthy environment are symbiotic, not adversarial. Increasing tourism (about 30 percent in 2013), bolstering our fabulous fishing and lobster industry, maintaining our real estate values and securing our children’s health will all be protected by the Waterfront Protection Ordinance.
We must think ecologically and about the health of our thriving community – please vote for the Waterfront Protection Ordinance this Nov. 5.
Balance needed as both sides toss grenades of fear
I was pleased to see Bill Nemitz take the oil industry to task for making exaggerated claims about the Waterfront Protection Ordinance (“Oil guys pollute S. Portland waterfront debate,” Oct. 16).
Then, after thinking for a moment, I had a really good laugh for two reasons: There was no mention of the exaggerated claims of the WPO proponents and their cult-like promotion of the ordinance.
Further, Nemitz’s entire work ethic is based on exaggerated claims about any and all topics, with a large dose of sarcasm, many times hilarious, but almost always demeaning of the opposition.
So here we have the pot calling just one of the two kettles black in typically nonconstructive and demeaning style. How does that move the world forward? Consider researching and writing about ways to improve the situation for all parties.
Regarding the ordinance, the South Portland City Council’s five letter writers have nailed the problem perfectly (“Five on S. Portland council reject oil initiative,” Oct. 15). If the writers of the ordinance and the related industries had worked together on this issue, we would not be facing an ordinance with do-or-die consequences, albeit exaggerated.
For example, as I have stated before, there are ways to improve the security of moving oil with double pipes, pumped moats, etc. Those concepts are precluded by the ignorant people promoting the ordinance. And the oil industry stupidly does not offer to discuss such actions and costs.
Each side throws grenades of fear, and Mr. Nemitz did nothing to balance or improve the situation. I am not laughing now.
Brian C. Jones
Referendum language should be better crafted
The proposed language in the South Portland referendum is very broad and will have a negative impact on the port and the many jobs it supports.
As a professional port development consultant, I have seen a number of communities that have offered well-intentioned but poorly crafted limitations. What concerns me about this language is that it does not specifically mention tar sands oil and will impact the active terminals in the port.
Canadians do not care about moving tar sands oil through Portland. A new pipeline going from mid-Canada to Saint John, New Brunswick, will handle both tar sands export and allow for expansion of refined product, a great deal of which will come to Maine as gasoline and home heating oil.
The main focus for Canada is its West Coast ports. Multiple projects, some of which I have worked on, will focus on moving Alberta crude to Asia.
Canadians have looked with concern about how the oil is mined and extracted, but strict government regulation demonstrates that our neighbors to the north are not environmentally irresponsible in its production.
Portland Pipe Line has handled crude oil moving to Canada safely since the 1940s. If there is an intent to move Alberta crude, then it can be addressed at that point. The broad language in the ordinance impacts not only them but the remaining terminals in the port, who we depend on for our gasoline, diesel and home heating oil.
In the long run, passing this will make our port less viable and competitive in maritime commerce. Until the language is better crafted and specifies the intent of the public, let’s not make a mistake and support bad limitations.
Capt. Jeffrey Monroe