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Environment and Outdoors

South Portland Postpones Crude Oil Vote

South Portland councilors postponed their meeting and vote on an ordinance to block tar sands crude from being shipped through the city. The council acted after more people showed up for last night's meeting than could be safely accommodated at South Portland's council chambers.

The new ordinance is supposed to be more narrowly tailored than zoning changes rejected by voters last November. But Burt Russell, vice president of Sprague Energy, says that's not what he sees in the new ordinance.

The ordinance "was supposedly targeted at Canadian oil sands, but now lo and behold they have extended that prohibition to the export of all crude, which includes American crude," Russell says.

South Portland Mayor Jerre Jalbert had to tell supporters and opponents of an anti-tar sands ordinance that too many of them had shown up.

"I wish city hall was bigger right now," Jalbert says.

The council postponed debate and action until tomorrow at a larger site to be determined.