WAMC News, North Country News
5:07 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Report Criticizes Potential Tar Sands Pipeline

Environmental groups in Maine and Vermont have issued a report critical of what they say is a potential plan for tar sands oil to be piped across northern New England.

The coalition of environmental and conservation groups claim the Canadian energy firm Enbridge Energy is considering using an existing oil pipeline to ship Canadian tar sands oil between Montreal and Portland.  The coalition released the report “Going in Reverse: The Tar Sands Oil Threat to Central Canada and New England” on Tuesday. Vermont Public Interest Research Group Clean Energy Advocate Ben Walsh explains that tar sands oil is different than conventional crude oil.

Because the tar sands oil would be pumped thru pipelines that were not designed for the substance, Vermont Natural Resources Council Energy Program Director Johanna Miller says the potential for spills and accidents are much greater.

National Wildlife Federation Northeast Regional Executive Director Curtis Fisher says over a three year period, pipelines that have transported tar sands fuel have had three times the number of spills than conventional oil lines.

Enbridge Spokesman Graham White told WAMC late Tuesday afternoon that they do not own any pipelines in New England and the line in question is owned by the Portland-Montreal Pipeline Company.  He said it would be inappropriate to make comments in a region where they have no operations.  White continued on to note that the project the environmental coalition is referring to is a defunct effort from three or four years ago and he emphasized that they are not pursuing it in any way.