SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — On Wednesday, city councilors gave early approval to an ordinance aimed at banning the flow of tar sands oil into the city, an issue that has sharply divided South Portland.
A meeting on the subject earlier this week drew so many people, it was postponed so the city could move it to a bigger venue.
The Clear Skies Ordinance is designed to protect South Portland from tar sands oil, but local energy companies believe the ordinance goes too far.
The Vice President of Operations for Sprague Energy says the ordinance is an overreach, calling for separate emissions standards for the energy industry in South Portland and the taking of industrial-zoned property by eminent domain.
At the most recent council meeting, employees in the energy industry successfully blocked the vote by filling the seats of the council chamber.
The ordinance would also prevent the loading of crude oil onto tankers in South Portland, a measure supported by the group Protect South Portland.
The ordinance requires a second vote from the City Council before it is officially passed.