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Ballot bound

South Portland will vote on a citizen-initiated tar-sands measure in November.
By
Duke Harrington

SOUTH PORTLAND – It’s not something that happens every day, but on Monday, the South Portland City Council made everybody happy, and, the ironic thing is, it did it by doing nothing.

Following nearly five hours of public testimony by more than 65 people, the council failed to pass a proposed Waterfront Protection Ordinance, designed to bar the import of diluted bitumen, better known as “tar sands.”

Because the measure landed at the council’s collective desk via citizen petition, the 1-5 vote means it automatically goes to referendum. Although South Portland’s City Charter gives the council 15 months to set a voting date, it unanimously picked this fall’s general election, Nov. 5.

And that’s what both environmental activists and oil industry officials say they wanted all along.

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