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Blame Canada? Trying to Head Off Tar Sands Pipeline Through New Hampshire



June 19, 2012

CONCORD, N.H. - The risks to water and wildlife if tar sands from Alberta are sent through an existing, aging pipeline across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine to Portland harbor are detailed in a report being released today by 18 organizations in New England, the U.S., and Canada. The tar sands, which Canadian companies want to sell and ship overseas, would be heated and under pressure and are especially corrosive.

Carol Oldham of the National Wildlife Federation says the decades-old pipeline runs through Coos County and some of the most unspoiled recreation areas in New England.

"Putting a really corrosive, hot substance through a 61-year-old pipeline where it goes through so many precious areas is just not worth it."

No formal steps to advance the pipeline have been taken yet. Canada says it needs to get its oil reserves to market. Opponents say a pipeline project would create virtually no new jobs in the U.S. and, they say, investments in renewable energy sources should take precedence.

Oldham says the pipeline runs through Weeks State Park, among other key parts of New Hampshire's recreation industry.

"A friend of mine . . . I was talking to her about the pipeline and she says you have to climb over the pipeline to go for some of the hikes that she likes to do best. So it's right there in a lot of our pristine natural areas."

The report says between 2007 and 2010, tar-sands oil pipelines in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota spilled almost three times more crude oil per mile of pipeline than the U.S. national average.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NH