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South Portland council set to select tar sands committee

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South Portland council set to select tar sands committee

SOUTH PORTLAND — A former state senator, a former city Planning Board member, and a former U.S. Senate staffer are among the 12 applicants to serve on the committee that will try to draft an ordinance banning tar sands oil from the city.

More than half the applicants introduced themselves at a City Council workshop Monday night, Jan. 13. Their formal introductions were found in applications the city has declined to make public.

City Clerk Sue Mooney said applications from those who are selected by councilors on Wednesday, Jan. 22, will be released, but "the application forms of those applicants who are not ultimately appointed to the committee are not public records."

The 7 p.m. meeting will be held next Wednesday because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, Jan. 20. Councilors will meet in the new lecture hall at South Portland High School.

The committee will work toward writing an ordinance in time for the May 5 expiration of the moratorium on tar sands development proposals, although the council could extend the moratorium another 180 days.

City Corporation Counsel Sally Daggett said withholding applications from public view is consistent with city policies and presents a balance between the public's right to know and privacy rights of the applicants.

Committee applicants include:

• Cape Elizabeth resident Cynthia Dill, a District 7 state senator before her unsuccessful campaign for U.S. senator in 2012. Dill is an attorney at Portland-based Troubh Heisler.

• Former Planning Board member and Sandy Hill Road resident Carol Thorne, a retired real estate agent who ran unsuccessfully for City Council last fall, and an opponent of the failed Waterfront Protection Ordinance.

• Michael Conathan, who lives on Fort Road and served on former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe's staff for about five years, specializing in energy, maritime and Coast Guard issues.

• Portland resident Orlando Delogu, a University of Maine School of Law emeritus professor, and a freelance columnist for The Forecaster. Delogu has also applied to be the committee facilitator.

• City Conservation Committee member and Bay Road resident David Critchfield, who co-founded Portland-based Emsource, which acquires corporate environmental risks and manages site cleanups.

• Buchanan Street resident Eben Rose, a geologist who is completing a dissertation. He was also a strong advocate for the WPO.

• Scarborough resident Malcolm Poole, president of Shurtleff Stormwater Systems on Runway Drive. The company sells products and systems to manage stormwater runoff and prevent erosion and pollution.

• Biddeford resident Carly Andersen, an attorney admitted to the Maine Bar last year. She is a University of Pittsburgh graduate specializing in finance and litigation.

• Portland resident Russell B. Pierce Jr., an attorney with Norman, Hanson and DeTroy, practicing local and federal civil litigation.

Rounding out the applicant list are Deake Street resident Peter Stanton, a supporter of the WPO; Portland resident Eliot Stanley, who is also a member of the Sebago Lake Anglers Association, and city resident Karen Lewis.

Mayor Jerry Jalbert on Thursday said councilors will select three committee members by ranking them on criteria they feel is most important for the committee. Considerations will include education, experience in land use issues and drafting legislation, and technical knowledge.

Councilors next week will also select a committee facilitator from five applicants. While saying he was not making any recommendations, City Manager Jim Gailey provided rankings of the applications based on scoring by Assistant City Manager Jon Jennings and Finance Director Greg L'Heureux.

Waterboro-based Edelstein Associates received the highest score. Other applicants were Brunswick-based Good Group Decisions, Susan Gallant of Falmouth, Nicholas Bournakel of Portland, and Delogu.

The committee will have to iron out some details, including how much public comment will be allowed at meetings expected to be held on Thursday nights for as long as six months.

But Councilor Tom Blake clarified what the committee task is, despite some more ambiguous language in the request for applications posted on the city website.

“We as a council are sure what we want,” he said: a tar sands ban in the city.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.