In 2014, South Portland passed a ban on exports of tar sands oil from the waterfront and effectively barred the reversal of the South Portland-to-Montreal oil pipeline. Now, with President Trump just having approved the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, groups are joining together to have the South Portland export ban lifted, and other pipeline companies have begun wanting to be able to export tar sands oil themselves.

This cannot happen. Tar sands are dirty, costly to produce and toxic to refine.

Before 2014, tar sands were hardly considered a way to extract oil because of the costly and environmentally unfriendly process needed. However, with the depletion of oil, it has become a valuable product.

Dr. James Hansen said at the 2014 Senate hearing on Keystone XL: “We are screwing our children and grandchildren and all the young people in future generations if we think we can use (those) unconventional fossil fuels.” I am inclined to agree. Tar sands are dangerous, polluting and can do more harm than good.

South Portland currently bans the loading of crude oil onto ships. Many companies want to remove this ban because it hinders them from buying and selling tar sands oil from Canada. Companies that aren’t affected are feeling threatened by the existence of the ban and believe that it will prompt other legislation against their own pipelines and boats.

Portland Pipe Line Corp. has sued the city to try to remove this ban and allow tar sands to be transported from Montreal to Maine, where it would be exported to refineries.

If this lawsuit goes to trial and the outcome is in favor of Portland Pipe Line, it would condemn our future generations and destroy the natural beauty of South Portland.

Julia Lancia