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Tar Sands Pipeline Project “Slinking Forward” Into NH, New England

PHOTO: Apparent plans to pump abrasive tar sands oil in an aging pipeline across three New England states are sparking opposition from critics who fear water and wildlife will be imperiled. Photo courtesy NWF.
PHOTO: Apparent plans to pump abrasive tar sands oil in an aging pipeline across three New England states are sparking opposition from critics who fear water and wildlife will be imperiled. Photo courtesy NWF.
December 7, 2012

EPSOM, N.H. – Training for how to clean up tar sands oil spills began in Portland, Maine this week (Tuesday and Wednesday), following an announcement by the Canadian pipeline company Enbridge a week ago that it wants to reverse its pipeline eastward to Montreal.

That could bring tar sands oil through Ontario, Quebec, and New England for export – although
no one is on record as saying that is going to happen.

Still, wildlife biologist Eric Orff in Epsom says he can read the signs.

"Well, if my neighbor bought a saddle and built a barn, I would suspect something's up."

Orff and others warn that the abrasive form of crude, heated before transit, would threaten a 62-year-old pipeline. A new National Wildlife Federation (NWF) report says tar sands spills, like one in Michigan two years ago, could contaminate water and harm wildlife.

Orff says there's a lot a stake when water is impacted by oil spills.

"And really, if it's a threat to our water bodies, it's a threat to the Northern New Hampshire economics. I mean, the Androscoggin River is a world-class trout fishery. They raft on it, people are kayaking on it, it's a very significant economic engine."

Environmentalist Dylan Voorhees suspects deliberate evasiveness on the part of pipeline companies, which don't acknowledge a tar sands pipeline push.

"There hasn't been a full environmental review of what this could mean to the New England states and we're in danger of this sort of slinking forward in bits and pieces without any environmental review."

The NWF report comes shortly before the Obama administration is expected to make a decision on the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.







Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NH