LePage revokes South Portland's 'business friendly' status over tar sands oil ordinance

Energy Associated Press

Republican Gov. Paul LePage's administration has revoked the city of South Portland's "business friendly" status because of a local ordinance that bans tar sands oil from being exported from the city's harbor.

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It's the first community to lose the designation since LePage started the program three years ago.

The program evaluates municipalities on issues such as customer service, licensing and permitting and business involvement. So far, 31 communities have been granted the "business friendly" designation, said Doug Ray, spokesman for the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

News of the revocation was first reported by the weekly newspaper, the Sentry.

South Portland city officials say they don't think the loss will hurt the city.

"The real facts are on the ground," City Councilor Claude Morgan told the Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/1HiYm2y ). "We have a tremendous mix of retail and large businesses here and the support is overwhelmingly positive."

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South Portland was notified on Feb. 20 that the designation was being revoked, two weeks after the Portland Pipe Line Corp. filed a federal lawsuit against the city to try to overturn the local ordinance that bans loading crude oil into tankers in Portland Harbor.

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Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com