Re: “Our View: Moratorium allows South Portland time to craft tar sands policy” (Dec. 18):

Your editorial asserts that the committee to be appointed by the City Council “should include local petroleum industry representatives as well as opponents of tar sands.”

Five of the six councilors who voted for the moratorium explicitly stated that they were in favor of a working group of experts who would craft an ordinance to protect South Portland from the transport of tar sands through the city and port.

The vast majority of citizens who spoke were in favor of such a group: one whose process should be transparent and open to input from the public, including petroleum interests.

The council will decide on the charge to the group, but it was clear that the goal of its work will be an ordinance to protect from tar sands. It is puzzling in the extreme to suggest that it is only democratic to have the fox guard the chickens, which is what having the petroleum interests on such an expert committee would be.

South Portland has been involved in a truly democratic process for many, many months. Hundreds of citizens have given lavishly of their time and talent, and have come week after week to council workshops and meetings to speak their minds.

In all this time, the Portland Press Herald has consistently failed to note the overwhelming preponderance of citizen voices that oppose tar sands and seek protection from what you recognize in your editorial as the dangers posed by reversal of the pipeline.

And so it is that the democratic process you laud has come to this point, where a skilled and experienced work group will be charged by the council to craft an ordinance (not a policy) that will protect us.

Mary-Jane Ferrier

South Portland