Kate Irish Collins

SOUTH PORTLAND - After a roll call vote that came more than three hours after the start of its meeting Monday night, July 21, the South Portland City Council gave final approval to a ban on tar sands-oil that's been dubbed the "clear skies ordinance."

As expected the vote was 6-1 with Councilor Michael Pock opposed. This was the same vote as came on first reading on July 9.

A handful of people spoke out against the ban but the vast majority of those in attendance urged the council to do what it could to protect the health and welfare of South Portland residents and the environment.

In defending the tar sands ban, Councilor Linda Cohen said that it's the job of the City Council to make decisions on behalf of the residents and that it also has a responsibility to look around and "see what dangers might be coming."

She also said the only thing the ban does is to make sure "we don't intensify the current use" on the waterfront.

And Mayor Gerard Jalbert said, "what we have is a compromise, that's narrow, specific and within the law." Following the vote, the audience erupted into loud cheering and applause as Jalbert announced, "with a 6-1 to vote the great little city of South Portland has a clear skies ordinance."