South Portland approves six-month oil sands moratorium

Creative Commons image by Stuart Heath

The east-coast city of South Portland has started a war with the petroleum industry: For at least the next six months, Canadian oil sands won’t be allowed to travel from the city’s port.

City councillors voted on Monday six to one in favour of a six-month moratorium on oil sands. All applications pertaining to oil sands will be halted during that time and oil sands exports will be banned.

City Council now has until May to debate whether to allow the product on its waterfront. During that time officials will draft a bill that would ban the product permanently.

The American Petroleum Institute has threatened to sue the city, calling the moratorium unconstitutional, according to Press Herald. A representative of PPLC told a local news station that the vote sends an “anti-business message.”

The company most affected by the ban will be the Portland Pipe Line Corporation (PPLC) which operates tanker facilities in South Portland and a pipeline from South Portland to Montreal, Quebec.

The moratorium stems from a citizen-initiated ‘Waterfront Protection Ordinance’ which was defeated in early November.

The motion to pass the moratorium was met with an eruption of cheers in South Portland’s city council, as reported by WGME. City councillors told the news outlet that the public is in favour of the bill.

However, one city councillor who voted against the legislation said the move was “one-sided” and that the “oil companies couldn’t do anything.”

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