A citizens group in South Portland, Maine, is hoping to beat back an effort by Big Oil to pipe tar-sands crude through their city. The group gathered enough signatures to put an initiative on the November ballot that would stymie oil companies' plans, and now the activists are going door-to-door to convince their neighbors to vote for it.
South Portland is a relatively quiet place where major news doesn’t happen often, and lobstermen and clammers still make a living on the water.
When Vanessa Capelluti and her husband moved to their dream home on Casco Bay here a year ago, they didn’t know that oil companies had plans for this area too. Shortly after settling in, Capelluti found out about ExxonMobil and Enbridge’s quiet efforts to reverse aging oil pipelines [PDF] across Canada and swaths of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, aiming to pump heavy tar-sands crude from Alberta to the East Coast. The oil would travel right under the street in front of her home and on to the town’s shipyard, where it would be ferried out to international markets.