South Portland tar sands committee attracts 12 applicants

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SOUTH PORTLAND — A final flurry this week more than doubled the number of applicants for the committee that will draft an ordinance to keep tar sands oil out of the city.

But the names of the dozen applicants will not be revealed until they are delivered to the City Council.

City Clerk Sue Mooney on Thursday said the names will be forwarded to councilors for a Monday, Jan. 13, workshop, where councilors will discuss the committee composition.

The applicants’ names should be made public when the workshop agenda is posted Friday on the city website.

The workshop begins at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. The committee members will be appointed by the council at 7 p.m. on Jan. 22.

Mooney on Monday said she had received five applicants. Seven more people applied this week.

The deadline for applying for what is expected to be a three-member committee was 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, 2 1/2 hours after five bids from potential committee facilitators were opened at City Hall.

Interested facilitators include public policy consultant and University of Maine School of Law emeritus professor Orlando Delogu of Portland (also a columnist for The Forecaster), who proposed to work for $25 per hour with a compensation limit of $5,000.

Falmouth resident Susan Gallant’s proposed charging $1,200 per day, prorated to $150 per hour for 12 days or 96 hours, while work by her associate Steven Hayes would be billed at $75 per hour. Gallant would bill 80 percent of the work and Hayes the remainder; their fees do not include expenses for travel and materials.

Craig Freshley of Brunswick-based Good Group Decisions offered his firm’s services at hourly rates of $150 for himself, $120 for associate Jack Kartez, and $90 for associate Kerri Sands. The bid also calls for travel reimbursements and expenses billed at cost. Freshley conducted a council goal-setting workshop in December 2012.

Kartez, a University of Southern Maine professor, consulted with City Manager Jim Gailey and Mayor Jerry Jalbert on how to form the committee.

A bid from Edelstein Associates of East Waterboro would charge $200 per hour for meetings and consultations, and $50 per hour for an assistant to take notes.

Portland-based Nicholas Bournakel would charge $70 per hour plus fuel expenses. He said he does not have staff to assist his work.

The committee, faced with the May 5 expiration of a 180-day moratorium on the importation or processing of tar sands oil, must draft an ordinance to stop the potential flow of diluted bitumen tar sands oil to the city for possible export. But local oversight is limited because state and federal regulations govern the 236-mile pipe lines to Montreal, owned by South Portland-based Portland Pipe Line Corp.

Company executives have said there are no current plans to import the oil by reversing the flow in one of the pipelines, but have not ruled out seeking a permit to do so in the future.

The company was granted local and state permits to bring in the oil in 2009, including a local permit for vapor combustion units to be constructed on a company pier near Bug Light Park. The local permit expired, and the company relinquished its state Department of Environmental Protection emissions permit last October.

The local effort to stop pipeline reversal became the proposed Waterfront Protection Ordinance, which sought to ban expansion of petroleum-related industries in city shoreline and shipyard zones. The ordinance was defeated in a Nov. 5, 2013, referendum by a vote of 4,453 to 4,261.

The council then met Nov. 6 to begin work on the emergency 180-day moratorium. It was enacted Dec. 16,  retroactive to Nov. 6.

In order to have time for council and Planning Board review, and public hearings before May 5, city Corporation Counsel Sally Daggett last month suggested the committee have an ordinance ready in early April.

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

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.