The op-ed by Jamie Py of the Maine Energy Marketers Association (“Maine Voices: Science shows crude from oil sands no riskier than conventional crude,” March 3) leaves me flabbergasted.

First, he has the gall to repeat a factoid that he must now know is false.

Second, his contention that tar sands oil is as safe to transport as other crude oils ignores the primary risk of this substance: Because it is heavier than other crude oils, spills are almost impossible to clean up, particularly because it sinks in water.

Instead, he confuses the reader by focusing on arguments that he can more easily shoot down.

Mr. Py writes: “The Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee unanimously concluded last year that a ban on oil sands is unworkable and could result in higher energy costs.”

Nearly a year ago, he wrote practically the same thing. I serve on that committee, and that time I responded on these pages that our decision was based on our conclusion that federal, not state law, controlled cross-border pipelines.


That is, the state has no jurisdiction over the pipeline that crosses into Maine from Canada. Higher energy costs were never a part of our deliberations.

On the other hand, I did note that the committee was “profoundly concerned about the dangers to Maine’s environment from a potential spill … (because) the Montreal-to-South Portland pipeline runs along Sebago Lake (Portland’s main drinking water supply) and crosses its main tributary.”

The cleanup of a tar sands spill into the Kalamazoo River from a pipeline about as old as ours (60-plus years) has cost over $800 million and is still not completed.

Perhaps Mr. Py thinks that repeating a falsehood and ignoring inconvenient facts will make his case. I am confident that Mainers are not that gullible.

Rep. Janice Cooper


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.