Northeasterners Fight Back Against Tar Sands Project

From Wildlife Promise

Carol Oldham 4/25/2013

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).

NTSB Photo - Ruptured Enbridge tar sands pipeline, Line 6B

Exxon & Enbridge Pipeline Project Under Scrutiny

Legislators from Vermont, Maine, & New Hampshire are joining tens of thousands of Northeast residents in speaking out against this proposed project. Out of the 12 northeast congressional members in the pipeline right of way states (VT, ME, NH), only Senator Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire has yet to stand with her community in opposing the project. Members are sending letter after letter after letter urging Secretary Kerry to require a new presidential permit for the proposed Exxon & Enbridge pipeline project.

When Senators Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine were visited by the tar sands lobby (including the pipeline director for the American Petroleum Institute) a few short weeks ago, the lobby were told to be prepared for lengthy and appropriate government scrutiny over the project.

King told the group that reversing the flow of the Portland-Montreal Pipe Line “is presidential-permit-worthy. And it’s up to the petroleum industry to convince me otherwise.”

Collins, in a prepared statement Tuesday, recalled that the pipeline officials “were not definitive in response to my questions” about exactly what they were up to.

“Should the company decide to seek approval for this new use,” Collins added, “I would expect that appropriate environmental impact reviews would be completed.”