Approximately 130,000,000 barrels* of oil are unloaded in Portland Harbor each year, making it the second largest oil receiving port on the East Coast. Surrounding the port are clamflats, eelgrass beds, rocky islands, sandy beaches, and a sparkling bay, habitat for fishes, lobsters, clams, birds, seals — and tourists.
Keeping oil away from our precious natural resources drew nearly 100 oil spill responders to the 15th annual oil spill seminar sponsored by the Maine/New Hampshire Area Committee on Oil Spill Preparedness. Casco BAYKEEPER® Joe Payne is a longstanding member of the group. He helped organize the two-day conference, so perhaps it was not coincidental that the theme of this year’s seminar was Why We Protect What We Protect. After the conference Joe reflected, “Every single presenter cited the importance of protecting their particular priority. In short, everything needs to be protected in the event of an oil spill, which is an impossible task. Despite pressure from the public and politicians, there is only so much responders can do to clean up the oil once it’s spilled. The take-away message from the seminar reinforced everyone’s goal of ‘Let’s not spill oil!’”
* That’s 5,460,000,000 gallons!