October 24, 2013

Letters to the editor: Editorial feeds anti-tar sands fears

More readers weigh in on the Waterfront Protection Ordinance on the South Portland ballot.

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

“There can be no sand” in the oil pumped through this Portland Pipe Line network, as that would destroy the pumps, a reader says.

2013 File Photo/John Ewing

City is obliged to interpret referendum as it’s written

This is in response to “Another View: Waterfront editorial parroted industry argument,” Oct. 20.

State Reps. Scott Hamann, Terry Morrison and Bryan Kaenrath stated, “Who would enforce such a strict interpretation?” and “No one would insist that the city interpret it in that way.” They also say the ordinance would ensure “that businesses along our waterfront can continue doing business as usual.”

City personnel responsible for enforcing city ordinances are required to interpret and enforce to the best of their ability the words as written. They do not have the authority or latitude to consider what they think people intended or might want.

Section 27-922.5 of the proposed ordinance clearly prohibits new or increased capacity of existing facilities, which would not allow existing facilities to operate as they always have.

When you vote, please realize that an ordinance approved by referendum can be revised only by another referendum. Therefore, if this referendum is passed and does not work out, the ordinance and its effects will be on the books until another time-consuming referendum can be written and approved by the people.

We need to vote against this referendum and direct our City Council to issue a clear and concise ordinance to prevent the pumping of tar sands oil through South Portland.

An ordinance issued by the council provides for staff review and several layers of public input, and it can always be readily revised by the council if necessary.

Let us not panic and create a solution that is worse than the problem. Let us defeat this poorly written, conflicting and overly broad ordinance and implement an ordinance that is best for all of us.

If you do not understand the ordinance, please vote against it. By not voting at all, you would strengthen the chances of passage and prevent us from doing it right.

Stanley Cox

South Portland

Proposal would address threat to clean air, water

As longtime residents of South Portland, we have observed many instances in which both city officials and residents have debated the issues facing us in the vote for or against the Waterfront Protection Ordinance.

We are presently under siege from several sources of pollution: exhaust from car engines, aircraft and maritime traffic, to name a few. Now, it seems some of us are prepared to invite the threat of tar sands effluent to add to the mix.

The soot that our neighbors and I find in our birdbaths may seem insignificant to some, but to us, it represents the assault that the industrial burning of fossil fuels already inflicts upon our environment.

Please join with us and all those who value the blessings of clean air and water in voting for the Waterfront Protection Act on Nov. 5.

Winifred Slocum

Martha Williams

South Portland

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