Thursday, June 26, 2014

Clear Skies Ordinance

More than 200 supporters turned out at the Mahoney Middle School in South Portland, Maine on Wednesday night for a public hearing on a "Clear Skies Ordinance" that would keep tar sands out of the city.  Currently under consideration by the city council, the ordinance would prohibit the bulk loading of crude oil, including tar sands, and the building of infrastructure that would export the crude oil.  A similar, broader ordinance against the petroleum industry on the waterfront was closely rejected last November;  a moratorium on tar sands was then passed while the current proposal was developed, more narrowly targeting tar sands.  The city council will have an initial vote on July 7th and a final vote on July 24th.  Local television coverage here.

*Photo credit, top, via veooz, photographer - Danielle Waugh/twitter, large crowd for Clear Skies Ordinance at public hearing.

Editor's Update, 7.13.2014

The South Portland City Council voted 6-1 to pass the Clear Skies Ordinance.  355 people showed up for the meeting that was earlier postponed because it drew so many people, arrangements had to be made for a larger venue.  The Planning Board now considers the ordinance next Tuesday and is slated for final action of July 21st.  

“I am so proud to live in a city where democracy is truly alive,” said one attendee, Meg Braley of South Portland. “Tonight, the people of South Portland prevailed over one of the most powerful industries in the world to protect our health and community. It’s not over yet, but we’re thrilled about tonight’s victory.”

Editor's Update, 7.30.2014

300 people turned out for the final vote on the tar sands ban which was, once again, approved on a 6-1 count.  From The Portland Press Herald:
The South Portland Community Center gym erupted with cheers and applause when the council voted 6-1 in favor of a ban that may soon be challenged in court and at the ballot box if opponents move forward with threats of a lawsuit and a citizen-initiated referendum.
Councilor Tom Blake said opponents of the ban should not fight the “will of the people,” which could cost the city untold legal fees and “alienate yourselves even further.”
“If you fight this in court, you will lose,” Blake said, before voting to approve the ban along with councilors Linda Cohen, Patricia Smith, Melissa Linscott, Maxine Beecher and Mayor Jerry Jalbert.

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