Concerned residents of South Portland are taking matters into their own hands. We are seeking answers and solutions to excessive and underregulated tank farm emissions. We’ve been kept in the dark for too long, and find that the EPA and Maine DEP have only recently begun to be transparent and take protective measures. The EPA filed a lawsuit against Global Partners, a Fortune 500 oil company, on March 25, 2019. (It is not just this facility, but Sprague Energy and other petroleum storage facilities are being monitored for exceeding their licensed emissions.) March 25 is when city officials first heard from regulators about emissions violations that have been harming the public health for over 15 years.

Needless to say, parents of children in schools and daycares and families living nearby, are not just upset. We are outraged and feel betrayed. Government’s first duty is to protect citizens from harm. We learned in hearings that companies like Global and Sprague have been allowed to operate with licenses based on self-reporting their open-air emissions. The Maine DEP chief, when asked about this, informed us that this was “standard” in the industry.

We thank Sen. Rebecca Millett for taking action with a bill that seeks accountability from the agency whose mandate is to protect us and the environment.

We believe that South Portland can have inviting residential neighborhoods, thriving businesses and industries, outstanding schools, and a wide array of recreational opportunities – with clean air. We know we can get there.

Sen. Millett has introduced LD 1915, “Resolve, Directing the Department of Environmental Protection to Evaluate Emissions from Heated Aboveground Petroleum Storage Tanks.” There will be a hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at the Cross Building,  across from the State House, Room 216, at 1 p.m.

Edward Reiner

South Portland