SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The South Portland city council has delayed its vote on a new crude oil ordinance, after an unexpectedly large crowd showed up at city hall. The so-called "clear skies ordinance" would block the loading of crude oil, including tar sands, at the South Portland Waterfront.
Monday night, a large group that supports the ordinance was met by another large group, who says it is a job killer. The council determined that too many people were in the room, and it needed to find another venue to hold the meeting. So it's been delayed.
Those against the ordinance had not showed up in large numbers in the past, but they say that's because they just learned that all forms of crude oil are covered in the ordinance.
Burt Russell of Sprague Energy said, "A lot of these folks work 80 hours a week, they don't have the luxury of a lot of free time to show up at a lot of these meetings. But they know, now that the draft ordinance has been published, that they're concerned about it."
Supporters of the ordinance say it protects South Portland from an oil industry that would take all the profits of crude oil while leaving the city with all the risk.
Mary Jane Ferrier of Protect South Portland said, "We think it's a great ordinance. iI's an ordinance that will protect, or in no way threaten, the oil industry as it is here in South Portland now."
Last November, voters narrowly rejected the Waterfront Protection Ordinance, that limited petroleum industry expansion.
The city council rescheduled the meeting to Wednesday. Even if the ordinance passes, it's the first in a series of votes on this issue.