March 31, 2013

Foes of tar-sands oil raise specter of smokestacks

Left unsaid, however, is that air emissions in Greater Portland would rise only incrementally.

By Tux Turkel
Staff Writer

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By comparison, the Sappi paper mill in Westbrook is licensed for 321 tons a year of VOCs and 568 tons of particulate. Bath Iron Works can emit a maximum of 102 tons of VOCs and 24.9 tons of particulates.

With its current license, Portland Pipe Line Corp. can emit 220 tons of VOCs and less than one ton of particulate from its crude storage tanks. The additional emissions from vapor destruction would boost maximum VOCs by less than 20 percent.

This information wasn't made available in presentations during the public forum, by either the NRCM or the pipeline company. The NRCM handed out tags that read: "No tar sands in South Portland. Stop the smoke stacks," and many people put them on.

At the comment period, some residents expressed concerns about the stacks. One woman worried about going to the beach. Another woman, who said she suffers from asthma, questioned if she could continue to live in her house.

Dylan Voorhees, the NRCM's clean-energy director, said his goal was to make people aware of the potential. The maximum permitted emissions set that potential, he added, even if it's not reached right away.

Voorhees said he wasn't aware of the harbor's existing vapor units, but said that doesn't change his group's point.

"If you put up two more stacks, they're going to generate more pollution," he said.

Tux Turkel can be contacted at 791-6462 or


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