Here we go again! South Portland is an oil town, for better, for worse.

The city fought long and hard to keep Portland Pipe Line from building combustion stacks on our shoreline that would have contributed to air contamination in our beautiful city and beyond.

Now we find that another oil facility on our shoreline is charged with emitting large amounts of volatile organic compounds, which violate Environmental Protection Agency emission standards and threaten the health of our residents and the natural resources of our beautiful city.

So what do we do? We go back to our City Council. They are working on the comments that they’ll submit to the EPA as it processes its complaint against Global Partners. We should encourage the council to express its outrage at the time this violation has been allowed to continue with no notice to the city; at the size of the fine levied ($40,000 to the EPA), and at Global’s plan for supposedly mitigating the damage they’ve done to our community ($150,000 to replace woodstoves with less hazardous heating equipment in Cumberland County).

Neither of these so-called “penalties” begins to address the seriousness of the threat their violations pose to our community. And this event raises serious questions about how protected we are by our regulatory agencies.

On April 16, at 6:30 p.m., the South Portland City Council will hold its second hearing on the EPA’s complaint against Global Partners. Come and tell your stories – they are so important. As community members, we have a strong voice with the council in letting them know what we care about and how these issues are impacting our personal lives.

Judith Kline

South Portland