So. Portland Residents Launch Citizens Initiative to Stop Tar Sands Project

South Portland, Maine—At a news conference this morning outside of South Portland City Hall, local residents announced a new campaign to qualify a citizen’s initiative for the November ballot to keep South Portland safe from tar sands oil. The Waterfront Protection Ordinance would change the city’s zoning ordinance to block ExxonMobil, the majority owner of the Portland-Montreal pipeline, from building two 70-foot smokestacks next to Bug Light and other oil infrastructure needed to export tar sands out of Casco Bay. ExxonMobil, the majority owner of the Portland-Montreal pipeline has proposed to build these smokestacks on the pier in order to export tar sands.

Brookline Massachusetts Passes Landmark Resolution Against Tar Sands


Brookline town meeting votes in favor of anti-tar sands warrant article 

Brookline has become the first town in Massachusetts to vote on a resolution to oppose a possible Northeastern Tar Sands pipeline, which runs from Montreal Canada to Portland Maine. The resolution says tar sands is one of the dirtiest fossil fuels that contribute to climate change, and states  that Brookline opposes both the pipeline project and encourages the town, state, and region to move away from tar sands and other climate polluting fuels.

The resolution expresses concern not only about the climate impacts from tar sands oil, but also spills along pipelines and destruction of the boreal forest, where the tar sands oil is extracted.

Similar resolutions passed in 29 towns in Vermont this year on Town Meeting Day, and anti-tar sands resolutions or by-laws have been passed in 4 towns in Maine so far. In all the towns there were major concerns expressed about both spills of tar sands in waterways and the climate change impacts.

NH's Shea-Porter introduces pipeline amendment

AP /  May 21, 2013 CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter has introduced an amendment separating approval of the Keystone pipeline project from authorization of pipeline activity between Portland, Maine and Montreal, Canada. 

The amendment introduced Tuesday protects environmental interests from being affected by pending legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta across six U.S. states to the Texas Gulf Coast. The Obama administration is considering whether to approve the pipeline.

There has been concern that an oil-carrying pipeline from Maine to Montreal could have its flow reversed and carry Canadian tar sands oil through Vermont, New Hampshire and western Maine. Critics say tar sands oil poses greater environmental and safety risks than conventional crude, but oil industry representatives disagree.

‘‘Regardless of how one views the Keystone XL pipeline, my amendment simply clarifies that the expedited process made available for Keystone will not be used to short-circuit any environmental review for possible changes to the Portland to Montreal pipeline,’’ Shea-Porter said.

Quebec to do own review of Enbridge pipeline project

May 23 (Reuters) - Quebec will announce within weeks that it will launch its own public review of a proposed pipeline that would deliver crude oil from western Canada to eastern markets, its environment minister said Thursday.

Yves-Francois Blanchet told Reuters in an interview that the review would be done simultaneously to a review by Canada's National Energy Board, in order to give local groups a chance to learn more about the project.

Energy company Enbridge Inc. proposed reversing a section of the existing Line 9 pipeline that connects Ontario and Quebec in order to deliver oil from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba to eastern markets. A revamped Line 9 would transport up to 300,000 barrels per day (bpd), and transport western Canadian crude eastward rather than transporting more expensive Brent crude oil from the North Sea, West Africa and the Middle East in a westbound direction.

But Blanchet said Quebec, which is led by a pro-separatist government, needs to have its say over a project being pushed by Alberta and Ottawa.

Northeasterners Fight Back Against Tar Sands Project

The tar sands industry — responsible for toxic oil spills across the Midwest and Arkansas — is plotting to bring this dirty fuel straight through New England. They seek to reverse the flow of two existing pipelines in order to ship tar sands oil from Alberta in Canada through Vermont and New Hampshire to the Maine coast. And what’s even worse? They want to transport up to 300,000 barrels a day of this corrosive, tarry oil through a 60 year old pipeline where the risk of a spill isn’t a matter of if but when. Big Oil is trying to keep this project under the radar and avoid a scrutinizing presidential permitting process. A presidential permit is required for any project that crosses the American border and since the Exxon & Enbridge pipeline would cross into Canada, the permit requires that the administration assess the project and allow for public discussion (think Keystone XL).

Huge crowd turns out to denounce possible transport of tar sands in region


Foes and backers dispute whether there are plans to transport the substance to Casco Bay.

Written by Beth Quimby, Staff Writer

Photos by Gregory Rec/Staff PhotographerPeople march down Commercial Street in Portland on Saturday to protest what they say is an emerging proposal to send tar sands oil from Canada through a pipeline to Portland harbor. Officials with the Portland Pipeline Corp., which owns the pipeline, says there is no existing proposal to send tar sands oil through the pipeline.



Statement of Dylan Voorhees, NRCM Clean Energy Project Director, in response to today’s Oil Sands Spill Training Workshop in Portland, ME

We commend the officials at the EPA, Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), U.S. Coast Guard, and others who have organized today’s tar sands training in Portland. Today’s training is focused on preparing for tar sands oil spills because they know that oil spills happen.

“There has been lots of talk about tar sands coming through Maine over the last year. There is now clear evidence* that a plan is moving forward to ship tar sands oil along a pipeline from Ontario to Montreal and then down to Portland—despite carefully-parsed quasi-denials by oil pipeline companies.

“Maine people deserve to know that Maine officials are already preparing for a tar sands oil spill.

Canadian Regulatory Filings Suggest the “Dirtiest Oil on the Planet” is coming to New England and Quebec via Ontario for Export

Vermont groups call on U.S. State Department to require full environmental review of cross-border tar sands pipeline proposal before it is too late

Canada’s mega-oil pipeline company Enbridge filed regulatory documents today to move plans forward to reverse its Line 9B pipeline bringing oil – likely to include tar sands – eastward to Montreal. The announcement essentially opens the door to bringing the corrosive tar sands through Ontario, Quebec, and Vermont for export from Portland, Maine. With this application, the evidence becomes overwhelming that oil companies Enbridge and Exxon-Mobil subsidiary Portland Pipe Line Corporation are planning to send tar sands through eastern Canada and northern New England. Citizens and diverse groups called on the Canadian National Energy Board to review the full scope of this tar sands plan, and on the U.S. State Department to require a full environmental review of any proposal to bring tar sands through Vermont.

Ontario municipalities step up to protect citizens, as Enbridge files Line 9 proposal


Just as Enbridge files to reverse its Line 9 pipeline in order to ship dangerous tar sands oil east for export, municipalities across Ontario are stepping up and asking questions. It’s no wonder, as this project would bring significant new risks to Ontario but no rewards for those thousands of Ontarians living along the route.