2016-01-08 / Letters

Resident in Rigby Yard neighborhood opposed to plan

To the editor:

I strongly oppose the plan by NGL Supply Terminal Co. to build a 24,000-gallon above-ground propane storage facility at Rigby Yard in South Portland.

I have been a resident of Grandview Avenue in Thornton Heights (city council District 4) since 1982.

The residents near Rigby Yard are already living with the potential risk of an accident involving hazardous materials at Rigby Yard. This is a weight that we carry even without the propane storage facility being built. Why must we endure additional risk to our homes and safety?

My family and I, along with the entire neighborhood, were evacuated in the early 1990s due to a railcar accident and spilling of a hazardous chemical. We had to stay at a hotel and were not allowed to return to our home and pets until the next day.

One can search “Rigby Yard” and find reference to a number of accidents at Rigby Yard that have happened during the past 15 years. It was alarming to learn of these accidents. The current status of stationary railcars in the yard needs to be more closely monitored.

The evacuation I noted occurred approximately 23 years ago. An evacuation would create chaos and hardship for residents, particularly the elderly, disabled and very young. Consider neighborhood schools that could also be included in a potential evacuation. An evacuation could be triggered by even a so-called minor accident, as noted by the retired Portland firefighter, who spoke at the Dec. 21 city council meeting.

It seems rather counterproductive to invest in the Thornton Heights storm/sewer project, revitalization of the neighborhood streets and reconstruction of Main Street and then introduce this potential danger to the neighborhood. A number of new homes have been built in the neighborhood recently.

I wish to thank the councilors who are trying to understand the residents’ concerns and are working to ensure our safety.

Sarah Malley South Portland

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