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In a 6-1 initial vote, the South Portland City Council has approved the Clear Skies Ordinance, which blocks the bulk loading of crude oil, including tar sands oil.
The ordinance now goes to the city's Planning Board, and would come to a final vote on July 21. Councilors listened to three hours of public comment Wednesday night. About 400 people attended the meeting. The vote was originally scheduled for Monday, but too many people showed up at City Hall.
Mayor Jerry Jalbert estimated 300 people attempted to attend the meeting, inside a space with capacity for 96. The city secured the South Portland Community Center for the meeting Wednesday night, with space for about 500 people. Of the 67 speakers, 50 spoke in support of the ordinance.
Supporters wore sky blue tee shirts to the meeting. Many said they supported the measure for environmental reasons. Opponents wore red shirts. Members of the Working Waterfront Coalition said this ordinance could hurt future economic development along the waterfront.