2013-07-26 / Letters

Let the people vote on tar sands

To the editor:

As a Canadian who has lived in Alberta for two extended periods, I have known of the existence of what used to be known as the Athabaska Tar Sands for more than 60 years. They have been there, unavailable because of the enormous technical challenges involved in extracting them and the prohibitive costs of doing so.

They are held in a sludge-like mix that must be treated and then diluted with toxic chemicals before it can be sent through a pipeline to a refinery. This is not your every day oil and it is only now coming to a pipeline near you because it will make huge profits for the likes of Exxon-Mobil in the global oil market that feeds an economy based on carbon fuels. Unfortunately for us and for our precious environment here in South Portland, our local pipeline offers a final leg in a pipeline network from Alberta via Montreal to Casco Bay, and hence to refineries in other parts of the world. And here’s the kicker: to get that “oil” into a tanker you have to burn off the toxic chemicals that make it possible to run it through a pipeline, right here between Bug Light and Spring Point. That means 70- foot smoke stacks towering over Bug Light Park and spewing dangerous chemicals into our air. That’s why more than 3,700 South Portland residents signed the petition to put the waterfront ordinance on the ballot, and urge you to join them by requesting that the city council vote to send this to the ballot next November. Mary-Jane Ferrier South Portland

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