NOT ALLOWED TO SPEAK
The refusal by Bethel’s Special Town Meeting moderator to allow the CEO of the Portland Montreal Pipeline, the Consul from the Canadian Embassy in Boston and myself (I represent the New England Petroleum Council) to request permission to address Special Town Meeting members concerning the so-called “Tar Sands” Resolution on Jan. 30, was an unfortunate disservice to the reputation of the citizens of Bethel.
We had hoped to ask the Special Town Meeting members to defer a vote on this Resolution until the June Town Meeting in order to allow the citizens of Bethel to have the opportunity to consider both our concerns about what we believe are serious misstatements in the Resolution and also the findings of a National Academy of Sciences study that addresses many of the claims raised in the Resolution and is due out this spring.
However, at the meeting on the 30th, after the Resolution had been introduced and discussed by Bethel residents, the motion was made to move the Resolution question despite several raised hands of “non-residents” (myself and Larry Wilson, the CEO of PMPL among others) wishing to address the Resolution. The moderator chose instead to immediately call the vote on the Resolution without acknowledging our requests or responding to the question raised by a Bethel resident who stood to ask “what seems to be the rush here.”
The vote was then taken and the Resolution adopted.
The Portland Montreal Pipeline Corporation has been a good corporate citizen and Bethel taxpayer for more than sixty years. The Canadians are our strongest ally and the largest supplier of petroleum to Maine and the United States.
Having grown up in Maine and having served during the 1970s in the Maine Attorney General’s Office, I have been to immeasurable town meetings and never witnessed this kind of tactic to avoid open discussion of a controversial issue.
John E. Quinn
Executive Director, New England Petroleum Council, Boston, Massachusetts