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March 29, 2017

Court: S. Portland must pay full cost of defending against pipeline suit

South Portland, which has already spent more than $1 million to defend its environmental ordinance, will be responsible for other costs in fighting a lawsuit over transportation of tar sands oil through its harbor.

Portland Pipe Line Co. sued the city over its 2014 "Clear Skies" ordinance, which effectively blocks the company from pumping Canadian tar sands oil into tankers on city waters.

The Bangor Daily News reported that the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the city's insurance carrier, Maine Municipal Association's property-and-casualty pool, is not obligated to cover the cost, meaning taxpayers will have to fund the legal battle.

City Manager Scott Morelli said the city remains committed to the case.

"I'm not going to stray to far into commenting on that case or the funding other than to say the council is committed to defending the city's rights in the matter," Morelli told the BDN.

Since 2015, South Portland has spent $1.07 million defending its ordinance, though it has not yet paid its outside lawyers for February or March, Morelli said. The city has $423,667 on hand to continue the legal fight, according to the city manager.

The case has not yet gone to trial.

Read more

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

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