2014-02-14 / Letters

Consider all facts

To the editor:

When I was in school, my teachers taught me to be suspicious of any argument that is presented as an “either/ or” choice between two simple options.

Right now, the activists who are leading the fight against Portland Pipeline have succeeded in tricking many residents and city councilors into exactly this kind of either/or thinking. To them, the question of using petroleum derived from Canadian oil sands is a simple either/or proposition. Either you’re for using this resource, or you’re for protecting the environment.

They say there’s no middle ground. They say there’s nothing else to consider, but there are lots of other things to consider.

For example, as a proud veteran I care about my country’s security and what nations we do business with. When it comes to meeting our need for oil, America does business with a lot of countries that aren’t so friendly to us or to their own citizens.

If you look up the top countries from which we import oil, it’s a who’s who of autocrats, warlords and human rights abusers – Venezuela, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

I don’t like sending those countries my hard-earned money. I’d much rather support our friendly neighbor to the north.

Do I think national security should be the only factor we consider when deciding where we get our oil? Of course not. If I did that, I’d be engaging in the same type of either/ or thinking as the other side of this issue.

My point is that this oil sands debate is much more complex than the activists would like you to believe. As somebody who grew up in South Portland and always viewed the pipeline as a good neighbor, I urge city leaders and residents to start weighing all of the issues that influence our energy policy. The environment is an important one, but it’s not the only one.

Lee Humiston
South Portland

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