Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How the South Portland City Council Foiled Big Oil’s Plan to Sneak Tar Sands Out of Canada

Portland-Montreal Pipeline Could Be Converted for Shipping Tar Sands Oil into the US (Credit: EcoWatch) Click to enlarge.
On Monday evening, the city council in South Portland, Maine made a small change to a commercial zoning law that had much larger international repercussions for the fossil fuel industry and the climate.

The council stopped another “Plan B” to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline by voting 6-1 to pass an ordinance that bans the bulk loading of crude oil onto ships from the town’s waterfront.  This means that the Portland-Montreal pipeline, which is now used to pump crude oil from the U.S. to Canada, would find it very difficult to reverse its flow to begin pumping tar sands crude oil extracted from Alberta to export in Portland.

The kicker?  ExxonMobil owns a majority stake in the pipeline, according to a report from NRDC.  Mary-Jane Ferrier, spokesperson for Protect South Portland, said “the people of South Portland should be really proud of our city today.”

Maine does not produce oil on its own; it has imported oil by sea via Portland’s harbor since World War II.  This pipeline was built between Portland and Montreal after Nazi naval attacks disrupted Canadian oil shipments on the St. Lawrence River.  Ever since, it has quietly pumped oil underneath Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Quebec to Montreal.

As Canadian tar sands oil production has grown, it has desperately sought pipeline connections to overseas export markets.  This has led to fights with local communities that are concerned with the safety consequences of pumping the thick, heavy tar sands oil through their lands and waters, and others who are concerned with the fact that tar sands oil extraction is at least three times as carbon-intensive as conventional crude oil.

How the South Portland City Council Foiled Big Oil’s Plan to Sneak Tar Sands Out of Canada

No comments:

Post a Comment