October 28, 2013

Letters to the editor: Residents of South Portland urged to vote for Waterfront Protection Ordinance

I live in Portland, and I volunteer with Protect South Portland because I am concerned about the quality of our air, drinking water and the waters of Casco Bay and the future of our small planet.

A sign for the Keystone tar sands pipeline stands by a bike path in Edwardsville, Ill., in 2010. The controversial South Portland Waterfront Protection Ordinance is aimed at forestalling the potential handling of tar sands in the city.

2010 St. Louis Post-Dispatch/MCT File Photo

We are urging the citizens of South Portland to vote for the Waterfront Protection Ordinance to ensure that risky, polluting Alberta tar sands oil is not piped across Maine and exported from South Portland. The ordinance was carefully written to do just that and no more. Sounds simple enough.

The Washington, D.C.-based American Petroleum Institute is the largest supporter of the Working Waterfront Coalition, which recently sprang up to oppose the ordinance.

Is the API dedicated to going around the country looking for poorly worded ordinances to protect citizens from unintended consequences? Probably not their main interest here.

It is important to understand that Exxon is a major funder of API. Exxon is heavily invested in Alberta tar sands development ($11 billion). Portland-Montreal Pipe Line is controlled by Exxon through its subsidiary, Imperial Oil. Exxon is actively pursuing every route for exporting tar sands oil.

Make no mistake about it – this is the actual motive for the American Petroleum Institute’s involvement with the Working Waterfront Coalition. API is using its standard playbook of spreading misinformation, hiding its true motives, creating doubt and playing on the fears of well-meaning citizens concerned about jobs, the economy and tax revenue.

API and its oil industry partners are outspending our local citizens group 10 to 1 in this campaign. This vote is up to the citizens of South Portland, but all Mainers have a stake in the outcome of this election. Vote for the Waterfront Protection Ordinance.

Mark Fruehauf

Portland

Ordinance is opportunity to strengthen protections

There is no conundrum surrounding South Portland’s Waterfront Protection Ordinance. Living adjacent to where the Department of Environmental Protection-permitted, planned vapor combustion units were to be placed, I want to stress that air and water pollution must be the focus regarding our vote for the Waterfront Protection Ordinance on Nov. 5.

We must turn the tide and protect the environment. I speak from the heart as the daughter of a scientist who was born and raised in Donora, Pa., an industrial ghost town, infamous for a killer industrial smog in 1948.

The Waterfront Protection Ordinance has everything to do with our opportunity to strengthen environmental protections. Without the ordinance, we will be wide open to more legal evasion of environmental regulations – and the aftermath.

Clear skies and cleaner water were my focus when I moved here from Pennsylvania. Oil slicks of misleading information and scare tactics are always used to fight the truth.

If we do not put in place ordinances and laws that will protect the environment here in this beautiful community (right now, at this moment), we will forever be at war against the reality of air and water pollution and more.

A robust economy and healthy environment are symbiotic, not adversarial. Increasing tourism (about 30 percent in 2013), bolstering our fabulous fishing and lobster industry, maintaining our real estate values and securing our children’s health will all be protected by the Waterfront Protection Ordinance.

We must think ecologically and about the health of our thriving community – please vote for the Waterfront Protection Ordinance this Nov. 5.

Ellen Fraser

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