October 30, 2013

Letters to the editor: South Portland ordinance’s impact on business debated

Readers weigh whether the proposal will benefit or undermine waterfront firms and fisheries.

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click image to enlarge

Spring Point Ledge Light, foreground, and Bug Light, rear center, stand on either side of the oil pipeline in South Portland. On Nov. 5, South Portland voters will decide whether the city should restrict new development of petroleum-related industry on its waterfront.

2013 File Photo/Gabe Souza

My neighbors now think that the Waterfront Protection Ordinance will end up restricting all business on the waterfront. This is misinformation and is not true, and it distracts us from the issues that we should be talking about.

We should be talking of your plans to send tar sands oil over 50-year-old pipes across the Northeast, and your plan to install two smokestacks in our harbor to process the oil and stink up the air near our beautiful Bug Light.

So, well done, Big Oil. You’ve succeeded. At least so far. I’m hoping that most of us can see through your tactics and will vote “yes” for the Waterfront Protection Ordinance on Nov. 5.

Voting “yes,” we’ll be in good company – as some approving the WPO are Mayor Tom Blake, state Rep. Terry Morrison, state Rep. Scott Hamann, state Rep. Bryan Kaenrath, state Sen. Rebecca Millett and Dave Owen, University of Maine School of Law professor, among many others.

Vote for the WPO! Keep our waterfront air and water clean of tar sands pollution!

Margo Donnis

South Portland

I’m a local business owner, and I have to say, this “tar sands” hysteria that a few overzealous locals are peddling, backed by special interests nationally, is wrong and misguided.

If we pass the Waterfront Protection Ordinance, we’ll see in the future just how wrong it will be, but unfortunately it will be too late, as the local working waterfront and great local taxpaying, community-supporting businesses will be decimated by this job killer.

It was ironic to see some South Portland businesses sign on to the WPO bandwagon. How many of them heat their homes or shops with oil? How many drive autos? How many want immediate police action when something goes wrong? If we pass this WPO, we are going to lose jobs, we’re going to lose revenue, energy costs will go up and local services will suffer.

I’m angry at the deception that WPO proponents spin each day, and I’m fed up with special interests from away trying to end our working waterfront. Enough is enough.

Up until now, I’ve been part of what I believe to be a silent majority of South Portland residents watching this debate unfold with growing concern. I can’t be silent any longer.

A vote for the WPO would be another nail in Maine’s economic coffin and would be devastating for South Portland.

Let’s come together and say “no” to this hysteria and prove that we are an independent-minded community. Let’s not get caught up in the emotions of “tar sands” when the WPO has nothing to do with tar sands.

This proposal will be very costly and within 10 years will cost Maine thousands of jobs and millions of dollars. I am voting “no” on the WPO. Please get the facts at www.nowpo.org and join me.

Anthony Barrasso

South Portland


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