2013-06-14 / Letters

South Portland should protect its residents

To the editor:

The possibility of spurring profitable business and creating more jobs are benefits usually held out as bait by promoters who advocate projects that will also create a negative impact on the people it will disrupt or displace. A community does well to consider such a project when the risks to be borne do not outweigh the benefits that might result – especially when the remedies for these impacts are available and can be built in to the project, itself. South Portland City Council has creatively dealt with a number of these projects to our good advantage over the years.

However, there are some projects that carry unacceptable risks, no matter how many jobs or how much profitable business they might bring. A community’s decision makers do well to draw the line at these. We would include here projects that could result in damage to air and water or that might render land unlivable.

The idea of trans shipping tar sands oil through our area is one of those projects that fall into this latter category. It is one project we should definitely avoid. As responsible as Portland Pipeline is, there are conditions under which it cannot control the safety of its carefully tended conduit. We have seen the destruction some of our recent savage weather conditions can bring. There is no way a pipeline can be completely protected from rupture by a severe earthquake or tornado. Moreover, experience shows us that these severe weather conditions are now expected rather than rare occurrences.

As close as the current pipeline runs to Sebago Lake, a spill will surely run into our main source for drinking water. Cleanup after tar sands oil spills are almost impossible, according to those communities now experiencing such disaster. We urge that South Portland do whatever it can to avoid accepting a project that carries such unmanageable risk to our wellbeing.

Merle and Dolores Broberg
South Portland

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