South Portland Tar Sands Update


Subsequent to the very close vote against the Waterfront Protection Ordinance, things are looking very hopeful in South Portland. In addition to the Portland Pipe Line Company withdrawing their air quality permit from the Department of Environmental Protection, they continue to insist that they have no current plans to bring tar sands oil into Maine.


Further, six out of seven South Portland city councilors voted in favor of a tar sands moratorium. Several of them also stated that keeping tar sands out of South Portland is a priority for them - which was a shift from the non-committal language of previous. It really seems as if they are ready to get to work on figuring out a solution - with the six month moratorium supporting that effort. No doubt, this has a lot to do with the phone calls and e-mails from many in South Portland - and across the state -  letting them know that we expect them to do the right thing. Thank you to all of you who took the time to reach out to them - your efforts are paying off. 


If you're wondering how you can keep the positive momentum going, we have three words for you: KEEP REACHING OUT. Click here for city council phone numbers/addresses: The one councilor who did not vote in favor of the moratorium was Michael Pock. 


Here's a suggested e-mail: Dear Councilor Blake,  I want to express my appreciation of your vote in favor of a tar sands moratorium. Thank you for listening to the thousands of South Portland residents who want to keep South Portland healthy and tar sands-free.  I'm looking forward to hearing what the city council's next steps will be toward reaching your goal of keeping tar sands out of South Portland. 


Letters to the editor are encouraged as well. 


Keep up the fight. We're getting closer and closer to a win. 


Please consider the following important dates for further action: 


December 3, Tuesday 7-9 pm:  Planning Board Meeting, City Council Chambers at City Hall. This meeting will cover the proposed moratorium the City Council has now voted on once. Before the City Council's second vote to adopt the moratorium on December 9th,  the Planning Board must review the moratorium. Some representation at this meeting from supporters is needed; if you can attend please do. 


December 5: Identifying Supporters of our cause - a Phone Bank on 12/5 from 5:30 to 8:00 at the Community Center on the first floor in the Senior Room

Protect South Portland needs a larger base of community support if we are to stop tar sands from being piped through South Portland. Exxon Mobil / the Portland Pipe Line, is applying pressure to the City Council and is trying to make them back down from any commitment they might make to create an ordinance that would protect South Portland from a tar sands project.

We are going to have a phone bank on Dec. 5th from 5:30 to 8:00 at the Community Center on the first floor in the Senior Room so we can find our “NO TAR SANDS” supporters. The people we will call may be people who voted against the Waterfront Protection Ordinance (WPO) but they truly do not want this product in our city. They may have thought the WPO was going to hurt jobs or business or since the oil company had “no plan” to pipe tar sands the WPO wasn’t necessary.

Now we need to talk to them again and say, “Even if you voted against the WPO we need your help to stop tar sands” and get their support to show our entire community does not want this dangerous product.

So please bring your fully charged personal cell phone to make these calls (we don’t have the phones from the campaign at this point).

We will have the phone numbers of residents and scripts for you to use, similar to how we did things during the election. We will be able to reconnect with residents and refocus our goal together – to stop the largest industry in the world from using our city to make their profits off of tar sands while we take all of the risk of pollution, poor air quality and possible spills.


December 16, Monday, 7- 9 pm: City Council’s second vote on Moratorium @ City Hall, 25 Cottage Road, Second Floor – Council Chambers

At this meeting the Council will take into consideration the recommendation of the Planning Board and will vote whether or not to pass the moratorium. This is a critical vote, if the moratorium does not pass there will be no limitation from the Portland Pipe Line from applying for another permit to build the structures they need to bring tar sands to South Portland.

There are also two other meetings we would like a few people to attend. As far as we know they do not have discussions related to tar sands planned but we have seen oil company representatives show up at Council meetings we have not expected them to attend.
Please email Crystal Goodrich of Protect South Portland @ if you can attend one of the meetings below, or even a portion of these meetings:

Wed. Dec. 4 from 7-9 pm, City Council Meeting, City Chambers, City Hall


Monday Dec. 9 from 7-9 pm, City Council Workshop, 44 Nelson Road, Senior Wing