December 28, 2013

Letter to the editor: Tar sands panel best left to the experts

There is no question that reducing tobacco use is a worthwhile community goal.

Kids are healthier and do better in school, workers are more productive and health costs go down for all of us.

Public health experts are constantly developing new and innovative strategies to prevent youth smoking, but giving the tobacco industry veto power is never one of them.

That’s why it was so surprising to read your editorial suggesting that a petroleum industry representative should be on South Portland’s three-person panel that’s charged with designing a path forward for regulating tar sands activity (“Our View: Moratorium allows South Portland time to craft tar sands policy,” Dec. 18).

For the best result to emerge, this panel needs to be comprised of three even-handed and facts-oriented experts who can sift through the science and weigh the many community interests.

The process should be transparent and create opportunities for both businesses and members of the public to provide input.

It’s critical to remember that the roles of adviser and decider are distinctly different.

It would be counterproductive to fill this small panel with vested interests.

The result would be division, inertia and entrenched community conflict that will leave all sides feeling frustrated while never adequately addressing the many credible health and environmental concerns around bringing a tar sands project to Maine.

Would we ask the parent of a child with asthma to sit down with a tobacco industry lawyer and agree on a plan to make cigarettes less addictive?

Your editorial got it right that the tar sands moratorium is “a move in the right direction that ... allows for regulations to arise from the lawmaking process.”

The stakes are too high – let’s not convene a panel that is doomed from the start.

Ed Miller

American Lung Association of the Northeast

Augusta office

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)