Portland Pipe Line Corp. weighs appeal of ‘Clear Skies’ ruling


A federal judge at U.S. District Court in Portland ruled Friday that South Portland’s 2014 “Clear Skies” ordinance banning on bulk crude oil imports into the city did not violate the Constitution.
The Portland Press Herald reported that South Portland officials hailed the decision supporting the legality of the city’s ordinance that blocks the Portland Pipe Line Corp. from reversing the flow of its 236-mile underground pipeline that has carried since World War II foreign crude oil from South Portland terminals to refineries in Montreal. In doing so, the city’s ordinance effectively blocks the company from pumping Canadian tar sands oil into tankers on city waters.
The company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Montreal Pipe Line Limited, a privately held Canadian Corp., argued that the ordinance infringes on federal regulatory processes.
Jim Merrill of The Bernstein Shur Group, a multi-state strategic consulting subsidiary of the Portland-based law firm, told the Press Herald that the company and its attorneys were “disappointed” in the ruling and “considering all available options, including appeal.”
“The court appropriately recognized that this case was about protecting the health, safety and welfare of the residents of South Portland and not about whether the oil came from Alberta or Augusta,” Jonathan Ettinger, an attorney for South Portland, told the newspaper.