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NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Thursday 12/13/2012 Dirtiest Oil on the Planet” is Moving toward New England

There are clear signs that a pipeline to carry tar sands through New Hampshire may soon become a real proposal, and residents and conservation organizations like the NH Wildlife Federation, NH Trout Unlimited, NH Trappers Association and NH Audubon are concerned.

Two major indications that tar sands oil is headed for the Atlantic Coast through New England have emerged in the last two weeks. One strong signal is that Enbridge, Canada’s mega-oil pipeline company, filed an application last month to reverse the flow of its Line 9B pipeline, which runs from North Westover, Ontario east to Montreal. Given that tar sands oil is already flowing to Sarnia in Canada, approval of the Line 9 reversal would open the door to reversing the flow of the Portland-Montreal pipeline and moving the corrosive tar sands through New England for shipment to special refineries elsewhere on the Atlantic Coast. The second signal is that Maine Department of Environmental Protection, US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Coast Guard, and the University of New Hampshire Center for Spills in the Environment cosponsored a two-day Alberta Oil Sands Training Workshop last week at the University of Southern Maine.

Between the line 9b application and the training it is clear that oil companies are planning to send tar sands across eastern Canada and New England. This project should not take place quietly behind our backs. The people of New Hampshire and New England deserve an opportunity for public input. We need the U.S. State Department to require a full environmental review of any proposal to bring tar sands through the Portland-Montreal pipeline.

Tar Sands in New Hampshire would be bad for wildlife, and bad for our tourism economy. “This pipeline crosses 79 rivers and streams in New Hampshire, and I have seen places where pipeline is completely exposed above the water. A tar sands spill could permanently ruin some of the best trout streams in Coos County.

Tourism is a crucial industry in Coos County, with summer visitors rafting or kayaking the Androscoggin, trout fishing on the Israel River, and hiking and leaf peeping. The impacts that a tar sands spill on the scale of the Kalamazoo spill could have on Coos county tourism would be devastating.


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