Letter: Environmentalists go too far in South Portland

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“There you go again” was a phrase used by Gov. Ronald Regan in the 1980 presidential debates. The same could be said of a self-appointed group of citizens now working the Thornton Heights neighborhood in South Portland. As if smoke stacks and tar sands weren’t scary enough, especially since Halloween is so near, now it’s propane storage tanks and the word Nagasaki.

I’m not saying propane isn’t dangerous; it is. Life is dangerous, but most of us refuse to cower in fear about everything. With all the rules and regulations required in the handling of volatile gases I feel assured that our Fire Department can adequately protect us.

This propane scare isn’t about dangerous gases, it is about control. Control over what businesses do in South Portland. We have ordinances that regulate business. Some people seem to think our city staff doesn’t know what they are doing and figure if they get enough people speaking out they can change city ordinances to suit their needs.

The Protect South Portland movement has morphed into an environmental activist group that will not stop until all petroleum and petroleum-based products are banned from South Portland. This movement started a little under two years ago. Where were they before that? Where were their spokesmen before that?

Maine will always be Vacationland, but it will never be Nirvana.

Michael Pock
South Portland 

  • beachmom H

    I’d like to know where these radicals see the replacement for the lost taxes and jobs will come from? And if we can’t use petroleum to heat our homes, who’s going to pay for the conversions? If they want to rid So. Portland of petroleum, does that include the gas stations? These people see like short term thinkers.
    I think it’s about control and power too. Probably money in there someplace also.

    • Darren McLellan

      Just because someone takes a position counter to yours, it’s a bit of a stretch to call them ‘radicals’.
      Get over yourself and keep up the good work.

      • beachmom H

        It is radical when someone wants to completely shut down businesses that have been a part of our town and lifestyles for 100 yrs just to push their agenda of control over our lifestyles to fit theirs. Tell me why this isn’t radical.

  • Eben Rose

    Mr. Pock needs to read Ch. 27-1517, Ch. 27-964 item 14, and the definition of “storage” in the South Portland Code of Ordinances. Perhaps then he will understand that this scale of operation is prohibited, and, yes, the Planning Department made an error in administering this code more than once in this process.

    We have laws; we are a nation of laws. We should respect these laws. Is Mr. Pock suggesting that we do otherwise?

  • Karen S

    Two points.
    First, the Thornton Heights residents are concerned about a stark increase in propane storage which goes against the South Portland Code of Ordinances, vs. an effort to stop the influx of all petroleum products. (Talk about fear mongering).
    Second, the Thornton Heights residents who spoke against this increase at the city workshop organized themselves. You may dislike Protect South Portland for stopping tar sands from flowing into South Portland, but it is misguided to cast blame here .

  • Scott Harriman

    It would be helpful to note that Mr. Pock was a District 1 city councilor from 2013 to 2014.