SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Residents of South Portland voted down an initiative on Tuesday aimed at blocking the flow of tar sands oil to the city.
The referendum, which voters defeated by a margin of 4,453-to-4,261 votes, would have banned the expansion and enlargement of any existing petroleum storage tanks or distribution facilities in some districts along South Portland’s waterfront.
Supporters were concerned that a pipeline that sends crude oil north from South Portland could be reversed to bring tar sands oil from Canada. They say that would expose the area and residents to harmful toxins and that the failed measure was the only way to ensure that does not happen.
But opponents, including the company that operates the pipeline, said a ban would be harmful. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.