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NEWS: 29 Vermont towns vote against a Montreal-Portland pipeline carrying tar sands oil

There have been ongoing concerns that Enbridge is seeking to reverse the flow of the Line 9 Montreal-Westover-Sarnia pipeline in order to then seek to reverse the Portland-Montreal pipeline, thus finding a needed outlet for tar sands production by being able to export bitumen to New England and the US market.

The Associated Press reports that although there are these concerns, and “there was a brief effort to reverse the Portland-Montreal pipeline in 2008, …the Canadian energy industry insists it has no plans to reverse the flow of a pipeline that carries crude oil from Maine to Montreal…”

“But that has done little to reassure New England towns that oppose the idea… The talk about tar sands oil galvanized 29 Vermont towns to hold nonbinding votes against reversing the pipeline during town meetings this month. None of the communities that considered the issue voted in favour of the pipeline — but none of the communities that voted host any portion of it (though they could be affected by a spill and certainly by climate change). …The votes of concern led the Canadian consulate in Boston to send letters to 23 Vermont towns and to attend meetings in five Maine communities, saying Alberta oil posed no greater threat of a spill or to the environment than traditional crude oil. The letter also stressed officials are unaware of any specific plan to move tar sands oil between Montreal and Portland.”

The article also notes, “18 members of Congress (are) asking for a full environmental review. …The issue has gotten the attention of the members of the U.S. House and Senate, all Democrats save one independent, from as far away as Arizona, who have asked Secretary of State John Kerry to require a comprehensive environmental impact statement should the Portland Pipeline Corp. seek to reverse the flow.”

According to the news report, other US groups that share this concern include the Virginia-based National Wildlife Federation and the Boston-based Conservation Law Foundation. In October 2012, a number of other US groups – notably the Natural Resources Defense Council, 350.org, the Sierra Club, the Vermont Natural Resources Council, and the Natural Resources Council of Maine – released a report expressing similar concerns.

For more, please read:
NEWS: Americans raise concerns of tar sands pipeline to Portland, Maine
NEWS: Canadian consulate helps derail Maine community resolution against pipeline
NEWS: Toronto seeks standing at NEB hearings on Line 9 pipeline
NEWS: Quebec may hold ‘public inquiry’ on west-to-east pipelines