The grassroots group, Protect South Portland, recently had the honor of hosting Genieve Long, a lifelong resident of Mayflower, Ark. Her visit marked the one-year anniversary of the tar sands spill in her town. On March 29, 2013, about 210,000 barrels of tar sands from Canada spilled, contaminating soil and water, and spoiling the air quality.
Long’s message was clear, “Fight for your town, you need to protect yourselves from tar sands. Keep tar sands out of your city.” Her willingness to help us with a wake-up call is very much appreciated by residents of the city.
The pipeline that spilled in her town was very similar to the Portland-Montreal Pipeline: over 60 years old and intended for oil transport (not tar sands).
Residents have suffered headaches, dizziness, gastrointestinal distress and breathing problems from the toxins mixed into the tar sands. Some of these symptoms continue to plague them one year later. After all of this destruction ExxonMobil now wants to restart the pipeline. Again, Big Oil puts their profits ahead of the health and safety of people living near their pipelines.
The ads Big Oil print in our newspapers are not true. Tar sands are not “good for South Portland.” We will take all the risk and have no benefit in our city. We can’t let South Portland be another Mayflower.