Protect South Portland
Katie Thompson



SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine —There's a renewed push to protect the city of South Portland from tar sands oil.  The issue has divided people in the city for months.

In November, voters narrowly rejected an ordinance that would have banned oil companies from building or changing their infrastructure to import tar sands.  Those against it voiced concerns that it would have been bad for business.

Wednesday night, a volunteer committee formed in the wake of that vote held a workshop to finalize plans for a new ordinance that would be suitable for everyone.

The Clear Skies Ordinance would prohibit the loading of any form of crude oil onto tankers.

While there is still opposition to this plan, supporters say many of those who voted down last year’s Waterfront Protection Ordinance are on their side.

"We voted against the ordinance but we don't want any tar sands in our city and that's the message our city council got," said Mary Jane Ferrier of Protect South Portland.  "So, that's why they had a moratorium so we could look into this,” Ferrier said.

“The whole ordinance committee was based on a pretense that wasn't risk based and certainly wasn't corroborated by any of the federal, state or local agencies that were responsible for public health and safety,” said Sprague Energy Vice President Burt Russell.

The City Council is expected to take up the findings at its next meeting in two weeks.