Letter: South Portland must resist Big Oil's sales pitch

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Remember when the tobacco industry got doctors to endorse cigarettes? Your doctor was your “responsible, trusted” caregiver, and if he said smoking was safe, it must be so. Today, we know better.

The same scenario is playing out in South Portland, only this time it’s the American Petroleum Institute, masquerading as “Energy Citizens,” with Portland Pipe Line as the “responsible, trusted neighbor,” assuring us that tar sands is “just oil” from our friendly “neighbor to the north.”

Their ads tout the advantages of tar sands, but don’t mention hazards. The economic boon they foresee is profits for Big Oil, not us, and the energy boost is for foreign markets, not ours. All we’d get out of tar sands is risk to our health, economy and environment.

But PPL representatives Larry Wilson and Chris Gillies have repeatedly insisted “there is no tar sands project.” So why the ad campaign? And why the threat of a lawsuit after South Portland took a legal stand against pumping tar sands to Casco Bay? Lies and threats are not what you’d expect from such good “friends” and “neighbors.”

Big Tobacco was ultimately caught in its lies. We don’t have a surgeon general equivalent to demand that Big Oil disclose tar sands’ hazards. What we do have is a dedicated City Council and a vetted tar-sands ordinance committee who truly do care about our community.

They deserve our support in their proactive effort to protect South Portland from Energy Citizens’ deceitful sales pitch and Portland Pipe Line’s smoke screen.

Linda Skinner
South Portland