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As several positive bills regarding oil storage tanks are being debated on the state level, a new very local concern has arisen regarding Health and Safety AT the Yard South Development

There is a large-scale residential development referred to as Yard South proposed next to scenic Bug Light Park. As described in a recent site walk, Yard South, in phase one, is planning to build three or four 18-story towers with 1200 or more residential units. The developers claim there will be 8-10% affordable housing units provided. The current owners are expected to apply for a contract zone from light industrial to allow residential in the Shipyard district in the near future.


For the following reasons, Protect South Portland has grave health and safety concerns for this proposed zone change to the Shipyard District:


1. D.E.P. Emissions Permits for the adjacent Gulf and Portland Pipeline terminals combined allow:

  • 100+ tons of airborne Volatile Organic Compounds per year

  • DEP monitoring has documented some of the city’s highest levels of petroleum-associated cancer-causing benzene and other health-damaging chemicals in this area.

  • 30 plus tons of airborne hazardous air pollutants per year

2. The proximity of bulk petroleum storage facilities to existing residential, community college, and other land uses are already a serious safety and evacuation concern for a catastrophic fire/explosion/petroleum spill event. 


3. This area is a contaminated brownfield.


4. The 2020 Maine Climate Council Scientific and Technical Committee Report suggests preparing for 8.8 feet of sea level rise by 2100. See the visual below of 9 feet of sea level rise in Bug Light and Shipyard Districts. The sea level is currently at 11 feet and is predicted to continue to rise well beyond 2100. The future public expense to maintain this as dry land or mitigate future flooding is likely to be considerable. Meanwhile, existing neighborhoods and tank farms will need sea-level protection.

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Because of these above concerns, before any zoning change, Protect South Portland is a strong advocate for:
1. Tank emission mitigation
2. Sea level remediation
3. Publicly informed clear emergency evacuation plan

We encourage you to contact the City Councilors to share any questions or concerns you may have about this issue and talk to your friends & neighbors. More info will follow.



Please note that public comment on any subject is allowed for up to 3 min. at all City Council meetings. You can find the schedule and agenda for City Council as well as Comprehensive Plan meetings at https://


** If you are interested in being involved with the range of different issues, including greatly increased traffic, related to Yard South development, contact Cathy Chapman at (207) 807-3123 or email her at



Residents riled by shipyard redevelopment plans - PPH 1/3/23, Kelly Bouchard

Early plans for South Portland shipyard redevelopment draw opposition, January 3, 2023, Kelly Bouchard

Maine Voices




LD163 was signed by Governor Mills in June of 2021. It then went before the Board of Environmental Protection, (BEP) for Rulemaking for Chapters 170 and 171. Chap. 171 establishes control, operating, inspection, testing, monitoring, recordkeeping, reporting, and licensure for petroleum storage facilities. PSP spoke at the hearing to assert that Chap. 171 needs to be strengthened and should:


1. Measure all four chemical components of BTEX. All are Hazardous Air Pollutants, (HAPS). - Accomplished

2. Require a shorter time frame for starting testing actual fenceline monitoring. The time frame was changed from 18 months to 9 months.

3. Require that raw data and all analyses be sent to municipalities and posted to the public. -Has not been accomplished as of yet.


LD163 will probably go before the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, (ENR) in the format of a Bill in a hearing sometime in February. We will need letters to ENR and persons willing to attend the hearing to support the changes PSP has recommended. We will be posting all information about the hearing when the information is available.


Link to LD163, Chapters 170 and 171


LD2033, Rule 600 - An Act to Ensure Proper Closure of Oil Terminal Facilities. When the comment period for the rules ends on January 13, an analyst will summarize the information that has been received and put together a packet of this information for the BEP to review. The rules will be placed on the agenda probably in late winter. There will be a public hearing where the Board will discuss the proposed rules and can either adopt as proposed, amend and adopt or table for further work. Anyone can sign up for notices of hearings here: These rules do not go before the legislature.


PSP sent in a letter to assure that:


1. The oil storage tanks be completely removed and the soil underneath is remediated to strict environmental standards.

2. The petroleum companies set aside more than adequate funds now and take full responsibility for the complete cleanup of sites after the tanks have been removed.


Link to LD2033, Rule 600 paper=HP1443&item=3&snum=129




PSP advocated for the establishment of the Clean Air Advisory Committee (CAAC), a city-created a committee of experts, to examine the emissions from the oil storage tank farms and how best to mitigate all unhealthy chemical exposure to the surrounding community from the emissions. The CAAC is preparing to submit its final report to the city council. PSP is urging the CAAC to include the following in its report:


1. Recommend a local emissions mitigation ordinance since state air permits do not take into account the cumulative health effects of repeated bursts of toxic chemicals during times of offloading.

2. Establish air monitoring stations in neighborhoods closest to the oil storage tanks with daily intermittent testing instead of every 6 days and direct vent testing on tanks during loading.

3. Advocate for state legislators to implement changes to state regulations requiring tank farms to install mitigation technology.

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