Thursday, December 5, 2013
By Rosemarie De Angelis
Rosemarie De Angelis is a resident and former mayor of South Portland.
On Nov. 5, South Portland citizens can choose to protect our water, environment and life quality by voting for the Waterfront Protection Ordinance.
Oil has spent $600,000, using fear, misinformation and phone calls, saying, “Hi, I work for Oil. If you pass this ordinance, I will lose my job and cannot feed my family.” How low will they stoop?
This ordinance builds a stronger economic future; however, tourism and fishing require clean waters and functioning ecosystems. Big Oil seems to forget the rest of our waterfront workers, beyond petroleum.
As a former South Portland mayor, I know ordinances require interpretation. We must protect our community from tar sands and continue accommodating business. Nothing in the voters’ intent or ordinance language requires otherwise.
Oil in South Portland is going nowhere. The ordinance doesn’t restrict petroleum terminals from maintenance, upgrading existing equipment or accessory uses, including biodiesel and liquefied natural gas. Replacement and improvement are allowed, just not systems required to move tar sands.
Tar sands coats the ocean’s bottom with no effective cleanup or technology to protect our waters.
Dangerously close to Sebago Lake, the present pipeline would never be approved today. Why reverse directions to transport a more toxic, hazardous product in larger quantities?
Presently, Portland Pipe Line could build oil tanks along Broadway approaching Southern Maine Community College. Empty tanks near schools would be filled with tar sands and pumped to piers onto tankers, while off-gassing dangerous chemicals. This ordinance prohibits new tanks and prevents tar sands storage.
The oil campaign is based in fear. Don’t be fooled.
Vote for the Waterfront Protection Ordinance. Protect our community.