Rachel Burger

When Rachel Burger, a South Portland, Maine resident and new grandmother, heard about Exxon Mobil’s plans – to use a World-War-II-era pipeline to pump millions of gallons of dirty tar sands oil through Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, crossing over rivers, the Sebago Lake watershed and right out into Casco Bay, risking nearly all of Southern Maine’s drinking water – she knew someone had to step in to stop it. So she began meeting with some of her neighbors to see what they could do. Rachel says: “The environmental groups in our area were trying to stop the Portland Pipeline company from exporting tar sands from South Portland harbor and erecting the two seventy-foot smokestacks needed.  The organizations needed a group of South Portland citizens to pull this off.  I called together a group of activists who started meeting weekly in our home, lured by warm soup and a sense of purpose. After months of hard work by many citizens, the Clear Skies Ordinance which protects us from exporting any crude oil from South Portland was passed by the city council.  Not surprisingly the city was sued by the Pipeline Company and our case is now in the federal court in Boston.”

“Since then our  group,  Protect South Portland, has gotten the city to pass No Pesticide and Synthetic fertilizer ordinances.  We are presently working to stop toxic emissions from being spewed out of the 110 fuel tanks dangerously close to local residents. I am personally very concerned about local and international soil health, and the lack of understanding that this is the only way to sequester carbon and hopefully survive on planet Earth.”