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A proposal to ban the loading of crude oil onto marine vessels received initial approval by the South Portland City Council in a Wednesday meeting that attracted nearly 500 people.

The Portland Press Herald reported that the council voted 6-1 in support of the ban. The measure will now go to the city's Planning Board for consideration on July 15, with a final vote by the council expected on July 21. The council's first vote was postponed from Monday.

The measure has seen steadfast support and opposition from environmentalists and companies like Portland Pipeline Co., respectively.

If approved, the measure would ban the loading of crude oil onto marine vessels and any related development. The newspaper noted it would also ban the flow of so-called tar sands into the city. The tar sands ban was originally sought through a citywide referendum that failed last year and would have restricted the expansion of petroleum-related facilities.

The committee that drafted the ordinance said the loading of crude oil onto marine vessels could increase air pollution and that vapor combustion facilities used to mitigate the pollution would negatively impact the city's waterfront aesthetics. But industry groups said it would hurt waterfront development and job creation for businesses.