Last night, the city's Transportation, Sustainability, and Energy Committee unanimously approved a resolution calling upon the state legislature, US State Department, US Congress, US Environmental Protection Agency, and President Barack Obama to "require a thorough analysis of the potential impacts of any tar sands oil pipeline proposal through Maine including evaluation of the health, safety, and environmental risks and spill response techniques and impacts."
Here's a basic map, courtesy of the Sierra Club, of the pipeline's route through New England to the Portland harbor. Note that the pipeline passes by Sebago Lake, which, as we've previously noted, provides drinking water for 15 percent of Maine's population.
"One of the major concerns for the Keystone project was the possible pollution of the giant aquifer in Nebraska and Kansas," says Glen Brand, a longtime environmentalist who was just hired as the first-ever director of the Sierra Club's Maine chapter.
Over the past few weeks, friends have posted pictures of defaced BP signs, or empty BP lots, on Facebook. There's a pretty big Boycott BP Facebook group. There have been anti-BP rallies across the country, including here in Portland. People, understandably, want to take out their fear and anger about the oil spill on something -- especially when their attempts to help are rebuffed
We've all seen the interactive map that places the Gulf oil spill on top of your hometown or region. (Around here, it would span from Lawrence, Mass, to Calais -- and westward into New Hampsire and Vermont.)
Here's another way of reconceptualizing the BP disaster: in terms of energy wasted. EnergySavvy.com, a Web site that provides energy-efficiency resources for home owners and energy contractors, calculated that "the energy contained in the biggest oil spill in US history is equal to the energy that just 75,000 homes waste in a single year," which "represent less than 0.
Here's a cool mapping program that lets you see how bad it is - here's the oil spill laid over the map of Maine. If you center the spill on Augusta, it reaches from Casco Bay to the border of Washington County, with outlying areas as far away as Vermont.
(You can also enter other locations, to see how much of other areas of the globe it would cover.)