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Tar Sands In Southern Maine: What $600,000 In Oil Industry Money and Scare Tactics Will Get You (Alas, Us)

by Abby Zimet

In a heartbreaking, infuriating blow to the way life should be, the Waterfront Protection Ordinance - an ingenious way to halt the potential flow of tar sands oil from Canada into southern Maine by banning a Portland area terminal that would store, process and export it from our waterfront - was defeated Tuesday by just 192 votes. Less than shockingly, oil industry opponents of the ordinance eager to hedge their bets on Keystone's approval by finding other export routes to the coast spent over $600,000 - six times that of residents who fear South Portland will inevitably look and smell like Mayflower, Arkansas - falsely claiming the proposal would shutter the working waterfront, existing oil industry and economic world as we know it. Despite the fact that a tar sands pipeline from Canada could threaten some of the country's best drinking water and richest marine habitat, less than half of the voters turned out. Still, it ain't over till it's over: Activists vowed to keep fighting, and South Portland's mayor will propose a moratorium to block tar sands crude from flowing through the city's six oil terminals.

"(We have) everything to lose, and nothing to gain, from transportation of tar sands oil through our region and the State of Maine."

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