2014-06-20 / Letters

The facts are simple

To the editor:

I am thrilled that our city council is showing the courage and common sense to stand up to big oil.

There are many reasons why I support the ordinance to bar tar sands, but the main reason is alarmingly simple: our health. As the father of a 6-year-old, I recoil at the thought of tar sands oozing around beneath our noses. For just one moment, imagine a best case scenario (the one the oil companies would have us believe) where there are no tar sands spills or pipeline ruptures. Even if everything goes according to plan, the loading of tar sands onto marine tankers would emit tons of hazardous gasses into our air.

People can debate all sorts of facets of tar sands, but this point is totally beyond dispute: cancer-causing chemicals, including benzene, toluene and xylenes, are contained in tar sands, and the new South Portland smokestacks could belch 39 tons (or more) of volatile organic compounds annually into the air of southern Maine.

This is our city and these are our kids. We owe them the best and healthiest possible future we can envision. A foul, polluted, unhealthy environment is not part of our pact with our children. I am grateful to the Draft Ordinance Committee, and I fully support the work they are doing on behalf of future Maine generations.

Jim Flahaven
South Portland

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