As the citizens of South Portland and the City Council await the ruling of Judge Woodcock on the dispute regarding the city’s Clear Skies Ordinance and the Portland Pipeline’s press to reverse the flow of the pipeline to deliver tar-sands oil to our community, I am reminded again of how proud I am to be a citizen of South Portland.
This city has a long history of planning for its future growth and development and identifying decisions that will promote our vision of what we want our town to look like.
Our comprehensive plan, revised in 2012 under the outstanding leadership of Maxine Beecher, identified South Portland as “a desirable community” and “a destination” with “livable, walkable neighborhoods”, a “green city” that is “focused on minimizing its impact on the environment.”
It identifies South Portland as a waterfront community with expanding public access, evolving mixed use of the shoreline and preserving residents’ connection to the waterfront.
Our community goals, as expressed in the comprehensive plan, include, among others, continuing “to diversify the business base,” “to support the highest and best use of … the city’s waterfront” to protect our beaches, wildlife and fisheries habitat.
If we want to protect this vision for South Portland, we cannot tolerate the introduction of new environmental risks such as those that would come with the reversal of the Portland Pipeline. I am hoping that Judge Woodcock is looking at this issue in the context of our dreams and aspirations for South Portland. And I trust that, regardless of the outcome of his ruling, we will continue to stand together to support and protect this beautiful place in which we live.