2014-05-16 / Letters

Whose interests?

To the editor:

Regarding tar/oil sands: You Tube has an excellent short video, Canadian-produced, about the $16 million the government is investing in this campaign to convince us to go with the pipeline and allow tar sands to flow: http:// youtu.be/KjGgRiAJ_ 40.

“The government of Canada and Alberta are focused on investing in new technologies to improve environmental performance, and to develop our natural resources while simultaneously strengthening environmental protection,” according to Consul General of Canada, Pat Binns

Truth: not clean nor preserving natural resources.

“Tar sands extraction wipes out nesting habitat for millions of birds, such as the evening grosbeak and olivesided flycatcher. Tar sands mining operations require between two to four barrels of fresh water for every barrel of oil produced. In addition, toxic tar sands tailings ponds now cover 170 square kilometers of Alberta, an area the size of Vancouver or Washington, D.C.” That is from “Going in Reverse: The Tar Sands Oil Threat to Central Canada and New England,” Natural Resource Defense Council, www.nrdc.org/policy.

“Development of oil sands is subject to world-leading environmental reviews before approval and extensive environmental monitoring and reporting throughout the life of each product.” There simply is no evidence that transporting oil sands crude poses a greater risk to pipeline safety in comparison to other crudes.” “The bottom line is that Canada’s oil sands crude production is highly regulated and is a responsible, safe and secure resource which is helping to meet North America’s energy needs,” according to Binns.

Truth: “After years of watching approval after approval of major oil sands projects, experts have testified at these regulatory hearings environmental monitoring and the assessment system are scientifically incompetent. The Government of Alberta’s and industry’s continual public relations defense campaigns promoting a view that everything is fine, this change in stance provides only cold comfort to those interested in legitimately pursuing sustainable development.” That excerpt is from “Fool’s Gold: Alberta’s Monitoring of Oil Sands,” By Bill Donahue and Julia Ko.

Oil Change International recently said in a statement: “The great irony of this tragic spill in Arkansas [Mayflower oil spill] is that the transport of tar sands oil through pipelines in the U.S. is exempt from payments into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Exxon, like all companies shipping toxic tar sands, doesn’t have to pay into the fund that will cover most of the clean up costs for the pipeline’s inevitable spills.”

We the people have multiple decks stacked against us – governments have coerced and underfunded education for the masses, handed the news and the media to those who use them as mere organs of propaganda, built a society and culture that lives and lusts for immediate gratification and prestige and believes in misrepresented myths of goodness. Thousands of reliable sources and files of footnoted hard data are available through the people in this community, who are concerned with the health, safety and welfare of South Portland and Maine – just ask someone from Protect South Portland. Do you believe that the Canadian government and the pipeline and oil companies have your, or their, best interests at heart? Or is it about money?

Ellen Fraser
South Portland

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