As a citizen of South Portland, I would like to thank the South Portland City Council for its stewardship and guidance throughout the careful process of developing and adapting the Clear Skies Ordinance.

A special thank you to the members of the Draft Ordinance Committee for volunteering their time, expertise and even-handed thoroughness in creating this precise and focused document.

The South Portland Planning Board is to be commended for its careful review and declaration that the ordinance is in alignment with the city’s comprehensive plan.

I believe that the highest responsibility of any level of government is the protection of its citizens’ health and well-being. Protecting the well-being of the citizens of South Portland is the worthy goal of the Clear Skies Ordinance.

The ordinance is a focused document that prevents the process of bulk loading of crude oil and tar sands oil onto the oil tankers on the South Portland waterfront. The bulk loading of crude oil is not a traditional practice on our waterfront; it has never been a part of waterfront industry in South Portland. The ordinance is narrowly written to apply only to this activity and carefully protects the full range of current waterfront uses.

South Portland is a community where residential, educational and industrial activities exist in close proximity to one another. It is precisely because of this situation that the protections offered by this ordinance are so important to the health and safety of the city’s residents.

It is with the wisdom and foresight of good governance that our City Council has voted to adapt this ordinance to prohibit a potentially dangerous process before it can negatively affect the citizens of our community. This action fits proudly within the finest tradition of participatory governance.

Mark Johnson

South Portland