Letter: What can South Portland expect in a tar sands spill?

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What are Mainers to think about Canadian tar sands possibly coming here? Maine activists and oil company executives along with Concerned Citizens of South Portland are debating pumping tar sands, or “heavy crude” as it is also known, through the state to ships on the waterfront right next to Bug Light in South Portland. Portland Pipeline Co.’s 67-year-old pipe was designed for light crude oil, not for this extra thick and extra toxic petroleum product. What can we expect from this?

Gov. LePage recently vetoed a scienti?c study by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection on heavy crude spill impacts and responses, but that doesn’t mean Maine cannot get an idea of what to possibly expect from a tar sands spill here.

ExxonMobil owns the majority of Portland Pipeline. Exxon’s record earnings this year exceed $44 billion. Yet, the oil giant has been accused of willful negligence by the U.S. EPA, in conjunction with the Arkansas state attorney general’s of?ce, for a tar sands spill in the town of May?ower in April. Exxon’s 65-year-old Pegasus pipeline in Arkansas ruptured, destroying extensive property and severely impacting environments with thousands of gallons of deadly tar sands. Exxon’s self-serving disaster follow up has been alarming. Recently, the Arkansas attorney general called ExxonMobil’s crisis administration policy “cold-hearted.”

Maine can probably expect the same from Exxon if tar sands come here.

Scott Flanders
South Portland