Target: Protect South Portland
Goal: Thank activists for setting an example to all American communities by taking a stand against toxic tar sands in their community
A powerful force is emerging in the war over the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands: grassroots activism. In Portland, Maine, where community organizing resulted in the victory that will put an anti-tar sands ordinance on an upcoming ballot, activists are fighting back against the exploitation of their community on all sides. Organizers in Portland and other port cities are realizing that they need to protest not only the building of the pipeline itself, but also the expansion of oil shipping operations through their ports and the establishment of shipping terminals in their communities. Activists also have reason to be worried that oil barons could subvert the need to build a new pipeline by converting the existing network to carry tar sands oil.
From this skirmish has arisen Protect South Portland, a collection of activists and concerned citizens who are protesting the proposed use of the Montreal-Portland pipeline for tar sands, for which Big Oil would need to construct two new 70-foot smokestacks, as well as a new oil pump station next to one of South Portland’s schools. The group put forth an initiative, called the Waterfront Protection Ordinance, which will appear before citizens in November; they seek a change in zoning ordinance that would “block Big Oil from building new smokestacks and the other oil infrastructure needed to export tar sands out of Casco Bay.” They outline the dangers of hosting Big Oil in their city, including the emission of various pollutants that would seriously affect local air quality as well as property values and tourism revenues. They furthermore call out Big Oil for its environmental irresponsibility and misinformation campaigns, which they hope to counter with this grassroots campaign that they specify will only affect petroleum-related facilities, not existing businesses.
By signing this petition, you are thanking Protect South Portland for continuing to fight against toxic tar sands in their communities. You are encouraging them to keep up their grassroots activism, which provides a positive example to other port cities and communities along the proposed Keystone route, and sends them a message of hope that they are not alone in their opposition to Big Oil.
Dear comrades at Protect South Portland,
I am inspired by your work in organizing a grassroots campaign against the Keystone XL pipeline and the expansion of tar sands throughout the continental US. Your informative, passionate campaign and dedication to protecting your community sends a message of support to other communities along the proposed pipeline route, encouraging them to join the fight.
Thank you for continuing to educate community members and encouraging them to pursue activism against toxic tar sands. Thank you for relentlessly protesting against Big Oil and their encroaching presence that threatens the health and safety of Portland and similar communities across the country. Thank you for providing a beacon of light to activists in other cities who can follow your example to spread awareness and information, and fight the deliberate misinformation spread by oil companies. I hope that groups like yours will rise up countrywide to put an end to the Keystone XL pipeline and the tyranny of oil, once and for all.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr