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Pipeline company seeks $18M reduction in S. Portland valuation

3/9/2017

Portland Pipe Line Corp., which is suing South Portland to overturn a 2014 ordinance prohibiting bulk loading of crude oil onto tankers, is seeking a $320,000 reduction in taxes for the fiscal year ending June 30. 
The Forecaster reported that the company, which owns a waterfront facility in South Portland, wants an $18 million reduction in its property valuation — which, if granted, would bring its valuation to $27 million.
The company owns a tanker unloading facility capable of handling two vessels carrying more than a million barrels of crude at a time, a tank farm with 23 tanks with approximately 3.5 million barrels of storage capacity and two pipelines and eight pump stations operated out of its South Portland operations center that moves crude from its tank farm to Montreal, according to the company’s website
South Portland Assessor Jim Thomas told the weekly newspaper that although the company’s tax abatement request provided limited information, the application appeared to link the city’s Clear Skies Ordinance to the company’s request for a reduction in its property valuation.
South Portland's legal tab for defending its 2014 "Clear Skies Ordinance," which prohibits the bulk loading of crude oil into tankers on the city's waterfront, topped $1 million in December and is expected to need another $600,000 if the federal lawsuit filed by Portland Pipe Line Corp. goes to trial. 
Portland Pipe Line filed a lawsuit with American Waterways Operators in U.S. District Court in Portland in February 2015 to overturn the ordinance, which is meant to block the flow of tar sands oil from Canada into Maine.
Their lawsuit asserts the city's ordinance is causing interference with interstate trade, diminishes the value of Portland Pipe Line's pipeline and discriminates against Canadian interests. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Montreal Pipe Line Limited, a privately held Canadian Corp.; American Waterways is a trade group representing operators of barges and other vessels, also says the ordinance infringes on federal regulatory processes.