The U.S. Administration is supporting a city in Maine that has prohibited storage and handling of crude oil that would be shipped via a pipeline from Canada in a court brief that environmentalists hope would be similar to how the federal government could react to the Enbridge-Michigan saga.

The city of South Portland, Maine, has issued an ordinance that bans the handling and storage of crude that would be imported via a pipeline project, Portland Pipe Line Corporation, operated by Suncor. The Canada-based company has sought to reverse the flow on the Portland-Montreal pipeline to allow exports of Canadian oil to the United States. The pipeline hasn’t been fully used in years, although it has been in operation since 1941.

Now the city of South Portland in Maine banned storage and handling of crude that would be imported from Canada and loaded onto marine vessels for transportation and prohibited construction that would enable such loading.

In the brief to the U.S. court of appeals for the First Circuit, the U.S. Administration said that the Maine town’s ordinance is not being pre-empted by federal law regulating pipeline safety, the Pipeline Safety Act.

After President Joe Biden effectively forced TC Energy to cancel the Keystone XL project by revoking a presidential permit for the pipeline in the U.S., the Administration is now siding with a party opposing another—albeit much smaller—pipeline to import Canadian oil.

Environmentalists hope that the arguments in the case with the Maine Pipeline could mean that the Administration would side with states in other similar cases, most notably the Enbridge-Michigan dispute over Line 5.

Megan Diver

Megan has worked in Maine politics for more than ten years and all of her professional career, having served in many roles for elected officials (including former Secretary of State Charlie Summers), in-house with the Maine Association of REALTORS®, legislative specialist at Pierce Atwood LLP providing lobbying services and support to Pierce Atwood’s government relations clients and most recently senior government relations specialist at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. Megan currently is the Vice President at the Maine Energy Marketers Association, utilizing her vast knowledge and legislative experience at the State House to represent MEMA on policies relating to the Association and its members.